Young Adult Book Club discussion

Graceling (Graceling Realm, #1)
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Graceling Discussions > Sex or No Sex?

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message 1: by Angie, YA lovin mod!! (last edited Oct 31, 2009 07:48AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Angie | 2676 comments Mod
Spoiler:


There is sex in this novel. Did it bother you? How do you feel about sex in YA novels? What do you think about the marriage topics in the novel? To marry or not to marry?


message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

I thought that the sex in this book was totally unnecessary, It made the book weird.


message 3: by Brenda (last edited Oct 31, 2009 08:30AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Brenda (brlemon) | 149 comments I didn't mind the sex in this novel as it wasn't that detailed. Kids today are exposed to sex on so many levels in media already. Do I think it was necessary in this book? Not really. You knew Katsa and Po were madly in love with each other. It would have added more sexual tension in my opinion if the love could never be quenched...
(even though I am not a huge fan of Twilight, I do have to say there was so much sexual energy in that book - the sexual tension between Belle and Edward was so intense and that was all leading up to nothing more than a kiss. It's what made the book. Stephenie Meyer's showed how romance can be powerful emotionally and not just physically)


message 4: by Jessica (last edited Nov 01, 2009 06:24PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jessica (OwlCat) I'm only about halfway through the book, but I feel that the sex (so far) was handled very tastefully. Instead of being physically graphic, it was emotionally empowering. As an asexy individual, I'm not too keen on sex in movies, books, or real life. The lack of descriptive details about the physical aspect of their physical relationship has made me respect this book in addition to just liking it a lot. I agree with Brenda in that: "Kids today are exposed to sex on so many levels in media already." By a young age, most kids know what sex is, but that doesn't mean they need to be bombarded with explicit details in every book, movie, tv show, or other sources of media.

The topic of marriage is handled in a very interesting way. Since most young adult novels that I've read have the girls wanting marriage, this is a refreshing change, and I feel that Katsa's fears are very much true to her character and well-founded.


message 5: by Britt (last edited Nov 01, 2009 05:01PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Britt | 13 comments I agree with Jessica, I didn't mind the sex in the book. Seeing Katsa's growing maturity and feelings toward Po, it seemed like a sort of a natural progression of their relationship. Though, I'll admit it did seem sort of sudden (first kiss and sex on the same page?), but I guess Katsa is an all-or-nothing type of girl? And I'm still sort of surprised that birth control found its way in this book. I find myself wondering if Katsa gets pregnant anyway in spite of the seabane. What happens when two Gracelings reproduce? Super Graceling? I would read that sequel:)

I was also interested in her marriage decision. I actually know a couple of people who refuse to get married just because they are in happy relationships without it. I was glad to see that lifestyle represented on the page. I can't remember the last time I read about a woman who refused to get married that wasn't some form of a prostitute or recovering from a seriously abusive relationship. But for Katsa, it's just her way of independence.


Jessica (OwlCat) Britt: "And I'm still sort of surprised that birth control found its way in this book. I find myself wondering if Katsa gets pregnant..."

I was also surprised by the addition of birth control in the book. I have read books in which birth control was used in some form, but these books were based in modern day and in our reality. I haven't read a fantasy book (especially a young adult one) that broached the topic of birth control so bluntly (or so creatively!). I'm very used to authors skimming over the details about the consequences of sex that, unless the woman gets pregnant, it's almost a given she's doing something to prevent that from happening.

As for Katsa getting pregnant, I have to admit I kept waiting for that to happen despite the seabane as well! It makes me wonder if Katsa would keep to her decision to not marry, or if she would marry Po, should she get pregnant. Would Po pressure her to marry him? I assume it's traditional and "right" for a woman to not have children until after she's married (and if she gets pregnant before, it's shameful? I don't recall the book mentioning this dynamic, but I assume it's there).


Alaa | 4 comments nah sex was alright.
I wanted her to marry and get pregnant but the writer seems to be completely against it. Weird.

lol



message 8: by Heather (last edited Nov 02, 2009 07:47AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Heather (HeatherJoy) | 180 comments I thought it was brilliant. Teenagers have s*x, and these two characters dealt with it in a mature way I think. They loved one another and were responsible. As a single 24 year old who has no intentions of getting married or having children, it was a breath of fresh air to read a book where my chosen lifestyle was acknowledged, I know I'm not the only one out there who feels this way. So many books only allow a happily ever after to include marriage and a baby and that is just not representative of life in these modern times.


Brenda (brlemon) | 149 comments To me...the fact she was so worried about having children was related to the fact she didn't want to get married. Her view of marriage was the view of the times - woman who marry do so primarily to have children and raise them. With Katsa's grace being what it is...I think she was foremost worried about what would happen if she ever had children. I also think that Katsa is a very independent woman who wants to be seen as who she is...not as someone's wife. But, I do wonder if maybe Katsa would consent to marriage if she could be married without ever having to consent to having children.

I too found the birth control aspect different and unique but then again...what drew me to this book was that it wasn't like any other book I had read. Original concept thru and thru.


Heather (HeatherJoy) | 180 comments I think Katsa didn't want to get married because she doesn't see the point in marriage. She doesn't want to feel obligated to be with someone, she wants to be with Po because she chooses to be with him, not because she is legally obligated to be.


Brenda (brlemon) | 149 comments But every time she talks about marriage...she talks about being someone's wife to have kids.


Rachel (rachieray) | 3 comments I think the reason she doesn't want to be married was the times. If you read its almost as if woman only live until there married and then its almost as if the wife is the husband's possession to control and protect. When you read about Giddon and how he is outraged that Po hurt her face she hated that fiercely. She feels as if should have to protect herself and its wrong for her to depend on someone else s protection. Read about how it was such a big deal to let Po protect her. She is fiercely independent and getting married to her would almost be like being caged.


Rachel (rachieray) | 3 comments Oh and with the sex thing I think with this book the sex was fine. Like some above it would have been better if the tension continued but she couldn't continue it if she wasn't making another book. I do hope that they end up having some kind of kids and that the characters will come up later in another of her books.


Brigid *Flying Kick-a-pow!* Angie wrote: "Spoiler:


There is sex in this novel. Did it bother you? How do you feel about sex in YA novels? What do you think about the marriage topics in the novel? To marry or not to marry? "


It didn't bother me. I thought it was tastefully done, and I think if a younger kid read it it would totally go over his/her head. In general, sex in YA books doesn't bother me. I mean, it's a part of life, right? I don't really like YA books that are all about sex, but I thought that in this case it was written in a way that seemed more romantic than disgusting.


Kay Kay (KissesofChocolate) | 12 comments The writer was completely against marriage, sex after marriage, and children. This bothered me, I must admit, I like to read books that reflect my views and this aspect didn't, which made me frown a bit. But apart from that, I did also think that the whole sex thing was unnecessary, it was cute, but it just bothered me more than her never wanting to get married. Further more when she used the control birth plant to prevent her getting pregnant, I was really mad Katsa, it really annoyed me.

I do understand about the times, and I must admit that I might have made Katsa descision as well, I do not like men overuling me. but I would have married Po.


message 16: by Heather (last edited Nov 04, 2009 10:46AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Heather (HeatherJoy) | 180 comments I'm not sure if Cashore is anti marriage and children as much as she is a cheerleader for choices.
Even though a majority of people are pro-marriage and pro-children, not everyone is. I think its great that a book has been written to represent the choices of the minority.
I could understand pro-marriage and pro-children readers not being able to relate to Katsa, but to know that people are not liking her because she is different and makes different choices makes me a bit sad. I try to think these things in reverse. What if the majority of people were against marriage and children and I was for it? Would it be fair for them to not like me because I made different choices?

Which is worse, not wanting to get married or have children, or being a person who judges those who don't want to get married and have children for their choices?

I would much rather a person who doesn't want to get married, to stay single than marry someone and be an awful wife or have a person who doesn't want to have children to not have children rather than have them and ignore them or abandon them.




Ralph (sunwriter) | 53 comments Heather wrote: "I'm not sure if Cashore is anti marriage and children as much as she is a cheerleader for choices.
Even though a majority of people are pro-marriage and pro-children, not everyone is. I think its ..."


If the majority of people are against having people, our race is fucked.



message 18: by Heather (last edited Nov 04, 2009 11:20AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Heather (HeatherJoy) | 180 comments Well, perhaps if people were of better quality, there wouldn't be a minority of us who didn't want to reproduce and force our future children to deal with the stupidity that plagues us in the present.

And there are plenty of people out there who have children with wild abandon, I doubt extinction will come about because people aren't having kids.



Britt | 13 comments Agreed. I don't think baby-making is a problem that we'll ever have to worry about. Both in our world or in Katsa's.


message 20: by [deleted user] (new)

The Sex: I didn't mind it. I thought it was tastefully done and handled well.

Katsa's Anti-marriage and Anti-Children stance: Because this is fantasy and a different world, I see nothing wrong with it. (I haven't read the end of the book so maybe this is explained, but...) What would the child of two Graced parents become - especially the product of two such powerful Graces? What kind of life could she possibly be condemning her children to live? And after being forced to live under the thumb of her uncle, she doesn't want to be tied down and find her identity defined by a man - the time period/world comes into play here.

Also, I think there's nothing wrong with a character who takes a stance against becoming a wife and mother - neither role is something that every woman should feel they have to fall into, neither role is meant for every woman.


Thomas | 9 comments I don't think the sex made a difference to the book at all.


Jayme (reading_belle) I didn't mind the sex in the book I just felt it was really rushed. I agree with everyone else who said the tension should have been prolonged.


Amanda | 5 comments I don't mind the sex in Graceling other than it got to be a little too bodice-ripping-romancy for my tastes. I think it distracted a bit from the main quest. And good for Katsa not feeling she has to get married just because she has sex with Po! If every girl married her first, we'd all be in a lot of trouble.


Heather (HeatherJoy) | 180 comments Not to mention miserable, lol.


June (june_krell) | 12 comments Ralph wrote: "Heather wrote: "I'm not sure if Cashore is anti marriage and children as much as she is a cheerleader for choices.
Even though a majority of people are pro-marriage and pro-children, not everyone i..."


I don't understand. I thought the problem was more overpopulation than underpopulation. I definitely believe that some people are not cut out to be parents and that forcing anyone to have children is reprehensible. Just as I think forcing anyone to marry is reprehensible. I think that the portrayal of young adults making informed choices is a plus instead of jumping in and having to deal with any consequences after the fact. I think that then tension in Twilight was definitely higher, but I was pleased that birth control was highlighted here.




message 26: by Mallory (last edited Nov 15, 2009 10:49AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Mallory (TheWoman) I agree with previous comments that the pacing of the sex seemed rushed and hurried. Yet, in a situation filled with mortal danger and having alone time with the one person you are attracted to, I can see how their relationship may skip several intermediate steps.

As far as the representation of marriage is concerned, I am glad that Kasta is not going to rush into a committed relationship. She is still only 18. No one expects children of 18 today to rush of to be married or be completely comfortable with having children. She is young, impulsive and not quite sure of who she is as an individual yet. Her frenzied emotions are due, in part, to the vast array of changes she has been presented with in such a short time span. With the addition of Po's blindness and possible increase of his reliance on her, she needs to weigh and measure that portion of the commitment as well. She may shift her stance as time wears on, or not. Either position is fine as long as her emotional and mental development support it. I did think her protesting against both was a bit overdone.

In regards to birth control, I will admit I was a bit shocked to find it simply inserted into a YA novel. Upon further review I wondered why that was. I have hardly ever seen it presented in fantasy books (with an exception for Mists of Avalon, if that is to be considered YA). They either get married and have sex, have sex, or just writhe in sexual tension. Most end with some form of legally binding relationship and implied sexual congress. It actually jolted me out of my comfort zone and made me consider the ridiculous story lines I had been reading in other books. Birth control was not an unwelcome change. Katsa clearly states that seabane prevents a woman from having a child. This seems to me to correlate with modern preventative measures. I am glad she was responsible and took steps to prevent pregnancy. After reflection, I have little problem with the addition.


Ralph (sunwriter) | 53 comments Mrs.Schoener wrote: "I agree with previous comments that the pacing of the sex seemed rushed and hurried. Yet, in a situation filled with mortal danger and having alone time with the one person you are attracted to, I ..."

Tamora Pierce also has women engage in sexual relationships and use birth control. She even has a male character who eats an herb that renders him sterile for 48hrs so that he doesn't get women pregnant. I like how she has it from both sides - and not just having it be the woman's job to prevent pregnancy.



Megan Angie wrote: "Spoiler:


There is sex in this novel. Did it bother you? How do you feel about sex in YA novels? What do you think about the marriage topics in the novel? To marry or not to marry? "



I agree with most of the comments here--I found the sex scene rushed and unnecessary but it didn't hinder the novel.

What I did mind though was a bit of the misrepresentation of female sexuality--specifically the pain talked about for Katsa. There are hints that Katsa and Po continue to have sex (by her eating the herb with breakfast every morning) but no discussion that sex is ever anything but painful for her/women.

I haven't finished the book yet so maybe there is more to be read on the topic..



Julia | 411 comments SPOILERS:
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I quite liked the sex, birth control and discussions of marriage and children in this book.

The sex was hurried, because that's how Katsa makes decisions. How long did it take her to decide to climb up to the tops of sailboat? And then they were on the run and rescuing various people. It took Katsa *forever* to understand that she was in love, I quite liked that.

Though I can't think of any offhand, (thank you Ralph, for mentioning Tamora Pierce) I expect many, women fantasy and science fiction writers have included birth control in what they write. Connie Willis wrote a hilarious short story about menstruation called "Even the Queen."

That Katsa is adamant that she won't be married or have children makes sense to me for who she is now. If the next book (which I have requested from the library, but has not yet come) takes place in Lienid, and concerns Katsa and Po, where things are done very differently, things may change.




Ralph (sunwriter) | 53 comments Julia wrote: "SPOILERS:
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I quite liked the sex, birth control and discussions of marriage and children in this book.

The sex was hurried, because that's how Katsa makes decision..."


Fire, the Graceling prequel, doesn't have Katsa in it at all. =[




Julia | 411 comments Ralph,

Well, POOP!
I like the world Cashore created in Graceling, so that's good, too.
Really liked the characters in Graceling and care about what happens to them...


Alice | 6 comments lmao i dont mind b/c thats jus how the story goes. u take out the sex part and ur left with "oh katsa was this kewl warrior princess type of character but she didnt have one romantic bone in her body. Yay abstinence! x. x


Megan Julia wrote: "Ralph,

Well, POOP!
I like the world Cashore created in Graceling, so that's good, too.
Really liked the characters in Graceling and care about what happens to them..."


It sounds like the sequel due out in 2012 (?) will have Katsa and Po in it...sure is a long time to wait though!




Mallory (TheWoman) Ralph wrote: "Mrs.Schoener wrote: "I agree with previous comments that the pacing of the sex seemed rushed and hurried. Yet, in a situation filled with mortal danger and having alone time with the one person you..."

I will look her up. Thanks for the new author Ralph!


Shannon | 15 comments I very much enjoyed this book. The sex did not bother me but I would of like to have seen then marry in the end. I have just recently started her second book (Pre book to Graceling) Fire. I really like it.


Daisy (DaisyWhitney) | 40 comments I think sex scenes are fine in YA as long as they're not gratuitous. The key with any scene, especially a sex one, is does it serve the story.


Brooke Watson (BrookeWatson) | 10 comments I don't mind sex in YA if it's tasteful - but I do agree with others that said it was a bit rushed (kiss to sex in one day). I also get tired of reading about first-timer women that hurt at first...then as the pain lessons, they love it. Please!

I think a hotly anticipated kiss like the Harry Potter / Jenny kiss does just as much for me as sex. So if I was the writer, I would have left it out.


message 38: by Tatiana (last edited Nov 24, 2009 02:06PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tatiana (tatiana_g) | 585 comments I thought Cashore handled sex tastefully, nothing too graphic. Maybe a little unrealistic in that seconds of pain and then ecstasy bit. It was rushed IMO too, I prefer some foreplay in my books, but if your read Fire, seems all her heroines are rather lax in their sexual mores and definitely don't like to wait. They almost always act as if they are experienced 30-year old adults.

As for marriage, I didn't really need her to marry Po. Rather, I'd like to see more commitment in their union instead of very vague possible plans for future. The epilogue left me a little sad and unsatisfied in that respect



Kara | 2 comments I don't mind sex in YA novels (as long as it's tasteful), because after all, like it or not, it is a reality for many teens. I don't think it does any good to avoid the topic because that's ignorance. Or maybe that's just the librarian in me rallying against censorship. On the other hand, it's nice to have a variety of books available for teens, some that do discuss deeper topics like sex, drugs, etc and some that do not. I think every teen is at a different stage of development and they should be reading not only things that interest them, but things that speak to them where they are in their life. If they're a teen experiencing something like sex or abuse or drugs or whatever, shouldn't there be good literature out there for them to turn to for answers and comfort?


Chakara | 121 comments I think if you marry it should be for love and happieness not because of something you think you have to do. Also the sex in the novel didnt bother me because it wasnt erotic type sex (which also doesnt bother me lol) it was more like when you watch a movie and the couple is kissing and gets in the bed then the screen goes dark and its the next morning type of sex.


message 41: by Angie, YA lovin mod!! (new) - rated it 5 stars

Angie | 2676 comments Mod
Personally I don't mind sex in YA novels at all. I remember in high school there was a lot of sex going on so I love that novels explore it and help teens understand it more.


Jessica (OwlCat) After reading all the new comments in this post, I would like to say that I believe Cashore took a more modern approach to sex. People are less concerned with social and traditional mores and expectations today. I know when I was yonger, my approach to sex was to (safely) try it with different people that I trusted to determine what I did and did not like. I like to think I was very practical about sex at that age. Also, a lot of people today (especially young adults) live for some sort of shock factor, and sex is not off limits in this. Having sex at an early age and/or with multiple partners is fast becoming the norm.

I agree that the whole "it hurts for a few seconds and then everything's great" approach to losing your virginity is a bunch of bull. That's the stuff of smut novels, which Graceling definitely wasn't.


message 43: by Angie, YA lovin mod!! (new) - rated it 5 stars

Angie | 2676 comments Mod
I just finished the book today! I didn't mind the sex in this book. Wasn't Kasta 18 or 19 anyways. I only think this because it was mentioned the queen Bitterblue was 17 and Kasta was a little older. I love that Britt mentioned what happens if two Gracelings produce... hahah! I didn't even think of that! Plus there is so much sex on TV and in movies much more explicit then this book.

I am not going to have kids. EVER. I am a woman and just don't want them. I don't like them, and I don't want to go through childbirth. I just want none of it. So I am glad that this book shows young adults that it is OK. I am 30 years old now and just the other day someone told me it is not natural of me to feel like that. I should want kids because of instinct. Well whatever! In high school I remember people would roll their eyes and always say you will change your mind. And those same friends are always harping me about it. I am really glad this book touched on that subject.

I love the birth control mentioned in this book! I don't know why Kasta thought being married would trap her when Po really seemed like he would let her do her own thing... but I think in those times women were expected to get married so she was trying to live like a rebel (the 60's when women burned bras???).

Teens are having a lot of sex these days. And Jessica is right.. multiple partners are not a big deal anymore. When I was in high school everyone was having sex. Sad but true. So I like novels like this that explain it in a way then them going on the internet trying to find out about it.




Heather (HeatherJoy) | 180 comments Woohoo Angie, I'm on team no kids as well :) Welcome to the club my friend. I am convinced there are more of us out there...


Ladykatsa I don't know why people feel that Katsa and Po need to get married to validate or strengthen their relationship. It's refreshing not to have the main character set on marrying and starting a family and I am glad that Katsa doesn't want children as, personally, I think it would ruin her character.


Ladykatsa I just wanted to say that I completely agree, especially that it's ok for some women never to want kids as I am of that mindset. (It really bugs me when people say "you'll change your mind"). I don't think it would suit Katsa to have children or get married. If it suits them not to then I think that in itself reinforces their relationship.


Ai | 3 comments Well written book that doesn't focus to much pn it by all means


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