Seventeen-year-old Lacey Burke is the last person on the planet who should be doling out sex advice. For starters, she’s never even kissed anyone, and she hates breaking the rules. Up until now, she's been a straight-A music geek that no one even notices. All she cares about is jamming out with her best friends, Theo and Evita.
But then everything changes.
When Lacey sees first-hand how much damage the abstinence-only sex-ed curriculum of her school can do, she decides to take a stand and starts doling out wisdom and contraception to anyone who seeks her out in the girls' restroom. But things with Theo become complicated quickly, and Lacey is soon not just keeping everyone else’s secrets, but hers as well.
Olivia Hinebaugh loves all stripes of literature for children. When she isn’t writing fiction, she can be found writing freelance, making art, discovering new songs on spotify, texting her writing buddies, or folding laundry. She lives near Washington, D.C. with her spouse, three kids, a dog that looks like a coyote, and a one-eyed cat. The Birds, The Bees, And You And Me is her debut novel. Her bio feels incomplete without this mention of coffee.
while i liked what this book was trying to do, i had so so so many issues with it. these include: a) instalove b) a love triangle, for some reason??? c) literally 3 separate female characters being in love with the same mediocre guy (this is somehow separate from the aforementioned love triangle) d) while this spouts feminist rhetoric when it's easy, it actually includes our main character being a total asshole to her female best friend over a guy (and that's glossed over like these characters are robots...which they basically are, if robots have no personality traits) e) the most unrealistic dialogue i've ever read f) the fact that everything that wasn't the Non-Abstinence Focused Sex Ed Is Our Right theme fell by the wayside, including characters, plot, and like everything else we could possibly hope for
which is the problem i usually have with feminist YA fiction. characters shouldn't be traitless vehicles for "woke" rhetoric. they should...still be characters? because feminist teens are people too?
weird that i feel like i have to say that.
bottom line: if there were a real book with real characters and a real plot that had this theme, i would've loved it. but all this book has is that theme.
do i love the idea of YA feminist contemporaries? yes. do i love the execution? almost never.
thanks to the publisher for sending me the ARC approx 100 years ago
The Birds, The Bees, and You and Me is an important book for teens. It’s something I wish would have been out when I was that age. I could relate to Lacey Burke in a lot of ways.
Lacey is a high school student who notices something is wrong with her senior health class and goes to do something about it. Lacey is probably the last person who is qualified to answer questions about sex, being a virgin and all, but she has a very open mom who is a nurse and knows all there is to know about the birds and the bees. I loved Lacey and her mom. Their relationship was fantastic. My mom was a teen mom so growing up we were super close and had a similar relationship as Lacey and her mom.
Lacey has two best friends, Theo and Evita. Things get a little complicated there, as well. Lacey has a lot going on with her feelings for Theo, the way it will effect Theo, and choosing what she wants to do with her life. Music is everything to her, but nursing is something she’s passionate about as well. Lacey and her friends, the music, the locker of sex information, it’s all great.
This story focused on friendship, was informative, and gave the teens an open dialogue with each other and the adults in the book. I really enjoyed this one.
"Demonizing and stigmatizing sex prevents everyone from getting information on safer sex."
Lacey, Evita, and Theo are just the actual best, honestly, friend group goals. This book is so crazy sex positive, so inclusive and diverse, and reads like a fun sexual education manual that I want all teens to read. Honestly, the content in here is important and the messages are vital to anyone who is, or is about to become, sexually active.
Not only does Lacey and her friends fight against a school district who believes abstinence is the only form of birth control kids need, but they seek to help their classmates by providing information and resources to those who need it/seek it. Some of the conversations seem a little too textbook and medical but honestly, it's a fun way to get this information into the hands of kids who need it. It covers amazing topics like consent (this is covered a lot and covered really well), there's a lack of sex shaming, discussions about teen pregnancy (and depictions of it also), and there's a ton of talk of safe sex and safe sex practices.
Lacey is also a doula so you see a lot of birthing and pregnancy/birth related subjects being covered (some not for the squeemish). There's love triangles, jealousy, some grey area emotional cheating, and intrigue to keep the plot moving, also. The trio is applying to colleges, getting ready to head off into the world, and deciding what they want their futures to look like. There's romance, there's betrayal, and while some of it is a bit campy and too neatly tied up the overall theme and message of the book is important.
Overall, if I look at this from the eyes of the target audience I think this sends a really important message about the way we should be talking about sex and consent (ie openly and without shame) and also displays communication between friends and how it should look in healthy relationships. I think most people would say that it isn't realistic and my argument is that it should be. This is more of a "field guide" for what discussions and relationships regarding sex and friendship and family could look like if you were open enough to discuss difficult and uncomfortable topics. I really enjoyed this book, maybe more so because I met the author and her partner and children and they were all just...so sweet. But still, a great feminist read and an important one for teens.
I read an early draft of this book as a beta reader, and I fell head over heels for this book. It's a smart, sex-positive, health-conscious book about trying to do the right thing, getting in over our heads, and finding our way out. I am absolutely thrilled this will be a book on the shelves, and I think it's an absolute must-have for library collections. Really excited to hold a finished version!
I appreciated the message it was going for, but the safe sex information is overbearing and shoved into the book so much and so unnaturally that the book is awkward to read. It reads more like an extended brochure on the topic than as an actual book, and there is so little plot and characterization because of it. It's a well-meaning book, but it doesn't quite pull it off.
I just realize this is the first book I’m reviewing for 2019. That’s not a good omen considering that I hated this book.
To be fair, as a safe sex manual and an introduction to intersectionality it didn’t outright suck, but as an actual book.
Oh yeah, it did.
This book is very informative. I mean, it does go into some of the specifics about how to have safe sex, etc. But as an actual book….
I guess, the closest thing I have to compare it to is Meg Cabot’s 2004 Ready or Not (the poor sequel to All American Girl). In that sequel, Meg Cabot not so subtly gave her audience a lecture on safe sex.
Hell, I was sixteen at the time I first read it and a total Cabot fan girl and even I found the book eye roll inducing. Hinebaugh’s book is ten times worse than Ready or Not.
That’s bad folks really bad.
The message is a good one, but it is just so ham fisted I really can’t see the target audiences liking this book. It didn’t help that none of the characters or side plots.
The main character’s essential characteristic is that she knows all about safe sex. There’s nothing else going for her except she’s a little whiney and privilege asshole who apparently hates classical music even though she’s trying to get in music school.
Honey, just letting you know that Mozart and Haydn you’re going to be hearing about them a lot even if you do go to school for just composition. I’m pretty sure Musical History and Music Theory touches on them a lot but hey what do I know just that everybody in my freaking family has a music (either education or performance) degree and my sister went to a fucking conservatory (one of those school’s you mock).
Oh yeah, there’s some character hatred on the MC. But Lacey is a little insufferable twit who knows all about safe sex because her mom’s a nurse I guess…and has terrible taste in boys. Because God, the love interest was attached for most of this book and then quickly got with Lacey and then got into her pants even quicker.
And yeah, I guess they were friends BUT….the relationship doesn’t really make sense to me. Maybe it’s me but have your characters actually date before they talk about what sort of flavor of condom they want to use.
There’s their bff who is suppose to be the asexual rep of the novel. I mean…textbook wise the rep was decent enough. It gives a good introduction into what asexuality is, BUT I really felt like it was simply rushed to give the book diversity points. God, I hate saying that. But that’s what it honestly felt like. I also don’t know how good the rep was and I really don’t feel comfortable with reviewing it one way or the other. I know will be interested in what asexual readers have to say about this aspect of the book.
The other friend is pregnant which I guess her pregnancy is suppose to be one of the turning points of the novel. Again, she felt mostly like an insert.
God, most of the characters in this book were pretty much inserts to get out the message of this book. Which leads me to this, I fucking hate message books. Much like I hated after school specials when I was young and it’s because of one simple reason-they talk down to their audience.
Don’t get me wrong, the book had a very good message but there’s a way to be less ham fisted about it. Also, I don’t think a teenager is going to become the random school sex guru like Lacey it just felt bizarre and off putting.
I am donating this book to my local library. I have mixed feelings about it. On one hand, I am glad that this book is getting out there to a very conservative audience. On the other hand, I feel bad for the person reading this bland book. Other than the decent message, there’s nothing appealing about this one. I could rant about it more, but I really don’t feel like it.
Lacey Burke is a senior in high school. She plays the viola and is in a band with her best friends Theo and Evita. When her high school takes an abstinence approach to sex education, it's too much for her to handle. She feels her classmates should be educated about options they have when it comes to their sexual health. But Lacey is a virgin and even though she has never had sex herself, her mother has always been open with her about sex. Lacey soon becomes the resident expert on the subject at her high school, but not everyone is so happy about that.
Thank you to NetGalley and Swoon Reads for the opportunity to read and review this book.
When I saw this book I had to read it. As a person who was also taught that abstinence was the only way, I would have liked to have a friend like Lacey Burke in my life. Someone who I could talk to without judgement about what was going on in my sex life. I think that if I did, I might have made different choices in my life.
Lacey really enjoys being in a band with her best friends Theo and Evita who also used to date. When their senior seminar class starts to discuss sex education, she has a different idea of what should be taught and she enlists their help in order to do so. Holding office hours in the girls bathroom during lunch and handing out condoms to classmates, Lacey is determined to make sure everyone in their school can be comfortable talking about sex and not stigmatizing it. When her actions get her in trouble with the administration and may jeopardize her future, her friends and family rally behind her to get things changed in their school.
This is a great YA book that I think most teens will enjoy and get a lot of information from it as well.
I'd like to start out this review by saying that what this book covers is essential. Abstinence-only sex education is outdated, out of touch, and honestly sexist. Materials that are covered in this book should be available at more high schools, or at least talked about. That being said, I did not enjoy this novel.
The main character had no personality, and her friendships felt really forced. The romance had an unnecessary love triangle, which was also forced. The dialog was dry, and the plot was extremely predictable. All of the conflict also resolved way too easily, and characters were skilled at things they rarely worked at. Also, the supposed supportive friendships felt rather toxic towards the middle of the story, for the main character's friends were really against her following her college dreams, despite knowing that it was what was best for her.
The author seemed to know a lot about the topic, and I felt that she would have been better off writing a manual rather than a novel. She was well researched, and backed up most of her statements with facts and statistics. Additionally, it was really difficult to get attached to any character because they all lacked defined personalities. I appreciated the representation and the information that was given, but the format really didn't work.
For a little bit in the beginning, I thought I wasn't going to like this. I couldn't tell you what it was that made me feel like that, but I'm glad that wasn't the case. There's a lot of important information in this book about sex and related things, a really endearing friend group, a sweet as fuck love interest who is my absolute favorite emotional soft boy, a supportive romance that I actually really adore, a kickass mother who is kind of a feminist Lorelai Gilmore, sex scenes where the characters are laughing and having fun and constantly checking in with each other which shouldn't be a rarity, an accurate explanation of asexuality, a surprisingly interesting side plot about the main character training to be a doula/midwife, a normalization of sleepovers between girls and guys, a call out of the bullshit idea that there's a relationship (platonic, romantic, sexual) hierarchy, and a satisfying ending.
Content/trigger warnings for ableist language, sex, cisnormative language, birth,
Rep: The main character's best friend, Evita, is biromantic asexual. Their friend Alice is also bi.
I was nervous about how asexuality was going to be explained, because I've read (or read about) too many books, especially popular/hyped YA, explaining asexuality as not having a desire for sex and/or having the ace character start the book adamantly not wanting/enjoying sex and ending it having sex solely because it's what their partner wants. Thankfully, sexual attraction is actually mentioned. The difference between asexuality and aromanticism is also mentioned. The asexual character is in love with an allosexual guy who she couldn't make things work with because she was uncomfortable sex and he wanted to have sex and they could never get on the same page, so they ended things and remain friends. Which I think is a refreshing. It's okay to end things when you can't figure out to make each person fulfilled in the relationship. Compromising and forcing things that aren't natural or comfortable or wanted for the sake of maintaining a relationship (especially where sex is concerned) is not a healthy narrative that should be expressed to teens.
My one big issue with this book is pretty much the same as my big issues with similar books (Moxie and The Nowhere Girls), it's not inclusive enough. I don't mean in the identities of the characters, I mean in the feminism presented in the book. In the two books I mentioned, it's a case of not addressing how different forms of bigotry intersect when someone is marginalized in more than one way. With this book, it's a case of the sex/health education presented not offering information specific to different groups of people. We pretty much get "abstinence-only sex ed is detrimental, especially to girls" and that's it.
That's not to say the main character and the queer character don't address how the sex ed class is allo-cis-heteronormative, or that when the main character's mother is talking about women giving birth she doesn't stop and acknowledge that not everyone who gives birth identifies as a woman. But aside from those few call outs and acknowledgements, the narrative itself is not inclusive of non-binary and trans people (they're never even outright mentioned) when, for example, discussing things that affect those with a uterus; it's a woman thing, then it's a "hey not everyone who gives birth identifies as a woman" footnote, then it's back to a woman thing. There was a perfect set up when the love interest makes a joke about how he was brought up around so many women that his cycle syncs up with their's. The main character's mother is all "don't joke about menstruation, because men have used it for centuries to discredit women and their emotions. But no one mentions how men having a cycle isn't the funny "haha omg what a silly idea" joke people think it is, because some men do in fact menstruate.
The only forms of sex that are mentioned are penis-in-vagina and oral sex. Very briefly, one girl asks about protection during oral sex with her girlfriend, but that's about as much airtime non-m/f sex specifically gets. Queer characters don't have any dialogue about how certain sex/health narratives affect them specifically as queer people, or what information should be offered to include them in the conversation. The main character mentions a bunch of times that virginity is a social/patriarchal construct and doesn't equal purity, but that's never explored or discussed beyond those single comments. No one has a dialogue about the affects the specific "virginity is purity" narrative has had on them and their experiences. The main character also has literally one thought about how the "virginity is purity" narrative affects survivors of sexual abuse, but again, we don't see any conversations about that specifically. All these things are brought up in a "this class isn't inclusive to queer kids, this narrative is harmful, this narrative could really harm this one group" way, but never truly talked about through discussions about (or preferably, from) the people being negatively affected, beyond a repeated "abstinence-only narrative made me ashamed of sex and my body and embarrassed to ask questions and learn about safe sex, and that leads to unplanned pregnancies and STIs" narrative.
Don't get me wrong, there is a lot of important things talked about in this book in regard to sex, protection, health, consent. (This might be the second book I've read that mentions dental dams, and the only one where a character not only talks about peeing after sex to prevent infection, but is actually shown doing so.) But having the characters call out the harmful affects of a non-inclusive, abstinence-only sex/health class, without actually diving completely into those harmful affects for all different kinds of people is ironic. Similar to Moxie and The Nowhere Girls, this is a very introductory, surface-level, not-as-intersectional-as-it-should-be take on feminist sex/health education.
Other Notes: - The main character is a little annoying/hypocritical/judgmental sometimes. She's outraged that pregnant teens would feel so ashamed and embarrassed and unsupported that they drop out of school, but her instinctual response to being asked if she's pregnant is a defensive "no!", it's as if she supports pregnant teens, but doesn't want people to think she's one of them. She gets embarrassed whenever her mother talks feminism around her friends, which is weird considering she does the same thing. She never lets us forget that she's never been kissed. She gets all "how do they not know this?!" about girls who ask her things about sex/health, which I find extremely horrible. She's supposed to be a safe, reliable source of support and information for people who have been shamed into silence and ignorance. Yet, she doesn't seem to grasp that it's not their fault for not knowing, because not everyone has family who talks to them about that stuff, or a school that teaches them about that stuff, and that not everything you read online is factual. - The main character's mother is sometimes lowkey portrayed as an annoying feminist who can't take a joke or is always "on". When she's watching tv, she'll call out this or that, and she corrects people when they say something unfeminist, and I find that extremely relatable. It's shitty that it's portrayed as something annoying or negative. The things she says and they way she reacts to things is pretty much the same way I do. I'm no stranger to ranting about sexist comments on TV shows or giving mini lectures when someone says something well-meaning, but ignorant. - A 17 year old having a maybe possible hook up with a 20 year old is never addressed, aside from the 17 year old making a nonplussed comment about how the guy was probably too old for her. That's another aspect to sex ed that should be addressed; age. Generally, no one of college age needs to be getting involved in with someone in high school. - Along with a lack of discussion about age regarding sex/consent, I feel like explicitly talking about how much/little and when/if people have sex should be addressed as a personal choices that are okay and shouldn't be judged. If someone has a little, lots, or no sex, valid. If someone has sex before or only after marriage, valid. If someone has sex in high school or after high school/college, valid. It's a similar message to the main character saying that people shouldn't be ashamed to talk about their sex lives, but that not wanting to share those details with people is a personal choice that is okay and should be respected. - The main character's best friend kept telling her that she "should practice what she preaches" because she's a virgin giving out sex information. Yes, the main character does in fact want to have sex. But this pushy friend trope, along with the idea that one can't be informed/inform others about sex unless they have it, is just not it. - The love interest saying building fires and camping are the only manly things he does and it not being corrected to "stereotypically manly" because I guess you can address all kinds of anti-feminist things, but addressing gender roles and toxic masculinity isn't one of them. - "Consent is sexy" no, it's a fucking necessity. - The term "politically correct"
Be still, my heart! The sex-positive YA I've been waiting for. I was lucky enough to read this debut early, and I can't think of enough words to describe how much I adored it. Olivia Hinebaugh writes with authority and grace, and delves into so many different aspects of sex and sexual health. THE BIRDS, THE BEES, AND YOU AND ME manages to be informative without ever entering preachy territory or feeling like a lecture. It's a book I think every teen (and adult!) should have on their shelves to read and discuss.
With vibrant writing and a fully-fleshed cast of lovable characters, THE BIRDS, THE BEES, AND YOU AND ME is a book I'll be recommending to everyone when it hits shelves in 2019. Bold, energetic, fun, and brave- that's this fantastic read in a nutshell.
(Also, note to Olivia: please write more books, thanks!)
What stood out for me: The way the author portrayed the teen confusion with what was taught in the “Abstinence is the only way” sex-ed class. If I were writing curriculum for such a class, the pros and cons of abstinence would be taught, as well as the risks for pre-marital sex, and of course, safe -sex methods would be discussed. The idea that teaching such curriculum would be considered “lewd” by school officials blew my mind. I would recommend this to older high school students only, with suggested adult guidance for pretty mature subject matter. Also, there is frequent vulgarity used throughout.
I read an early draft of this one and I'm so excited that it will be available for everyone very soon. This is the kind of fresh and timely book that is needed out in the wild. It's sex-positive, features characters full of authentic flaws and strengths, and shows the power of friendship.
DNF 50% Evita was the only character I didn't either hate or find incredibly obnoxious or bland. Where was the FLAVOR? Lacey was your classic "omg guys nooo I'm not pretty :(((" girl, there's a ton of girl-hate between Evita and Theo's new girlfriend that may get resolved by the end but was still annoying to read. But honestly the most annoying part was the dialogue. These people don't talk like people, they talk like essays written on the concepts of feminism and sex-positivity, ESPECIALLY the mom. I'm absolutely not opposed to books that are trying to share a message (hell, I strongly agree with this one's: comprehensive sex education is absolutely necessary) but as a feminist myself, it almost felt like strawmanning at times. It was incredibly jarring and unrealistic. For a similar story that does this plotline better, try JACK OF HEARTS (AND OTHER PARTS) by Lev A.C. Rosen.
Guys, this is the sex-positive, music-infused, friendship-focused, gloriously feminist debut you've been waiting for. It's so wonderfully frank in its discussion of sexual health and consent, yet it never feels heavy handed. Main character Lacey and her group of friends (and her mom!) are all layered, supportive, engaging, and awesome. Another bonus -- the central romance in this book surprised me in the best way. It's clandestine and swoony, full of chemistry and sweetness. Big, big recommend!
**You can see this full review and more at Book Briefs: https://bookbriefs.net**The Birds, The Bees, and You and Me is a young adult contemporary novel by Olivia Hinebaugh. There were a few things I didn't love about this novel, but overall I thought it was still a good read. The good certainly outweighed my few gripes. So let's start with the good. The Birds, The Bees, and You and Me is a novel that is both very educational and was a cute coming of age story. I really enjoyed our main character, Lacey( most of the time). And I loved her friendship with Theo and Evita. Her friend group was my favorite part of the story.
And now for the few things I didn't love. Lacey sometimes came off as a little whiny, which could be aggravating, but then again, one could also say it was pretty age appropriate. She did irk me sometimes, but I appreciated her overall message and journey. Speaking of the message of the novel, I loved that The Birds, The Bees, and You and Me was so informative and had such an educational message worked into the story. However; at times the book came off as a bit too clinical, and not so fictional. But I do love that there were good adult role models in the story, and that The Birds, The Bees, and You and Me encouraged such an open dialogue. That was simply fantastic.
The story itself was funky and fun. I loved how much Olviia Hinebaugh worked music into the story, since it was such a big part of Lacey and her friend's lives. It helped lighten the tone of the story significantly, which really helped to balance out some of the heavier topics explored. Overall, this novel was a good balance of serious and fun. I enjoyed how different it was than so many high school contemporary novels out there. This review was originally posted on Book Briefs
This book is a bunch of different things. It's a story of friendship and first love, as well as a tale of taking a stand and coming-of-age, and I pretty much loved it all.
Lacey followed the rules and tried to fly under the radar. She was known to accept the circumstances and go with the flow, but she was willing to fight for the right to a comprehensive sexual health education for her peers.
I am big believer in knowledge as power, and loved that Lacey was so passionate about educating herself and others on a topic, which people often shy away from. She was raised to embrace her body and sexuality and to explore it in healthy ways, and though she had zero experience, she was very knowledgable in matters of sexual and reproductive health. I liked that there was a lot of good information in the book regarding STIs and protection, but the emotional side of sex and consent were also addressed. So, applause for that.
Aside from this book being very sex-positive, it was also about Lacey navigating her friendship, her feelings, and her future. Her reactions to all the changes happening in her life were very authentic, and though she stumbled a little, Lacey made good choices for herself.
Loved these things:
• BFFs - This friendship was not without its complications, but they were an awesome group, and they literally made beautiful music together.
• Present adults - Both Lacey and Evita had fabulous and supportive moms. It was easy to see why they loved and admired them so much.
• An adorable romance - This was a little messy for me, but I still couldn't help but get onboard with it. They were good together, and you know, I love soft boys.
•Music, lots and lots of music.
Overall: A fun and bold story, which teen me would have welcomed with open arms.
Thank you Olivia Hinebaugh, Swoon Reads, and Xpresso Book Tours for a free eARC of The Birds, the Bees, and You and Me in exchange for an honest review.
As someone completely fascinated by the correlation between literature and culture, I went into this story wanting to love it. After all, a book promoting teenagers fighting for sex education in their school and supporting the LGBTQIA community is something that is very relevant to our current culture. But the story was completely lacking. It felt like a sex education manual with the story in the sidelines only to give practical examples. Plus there was quite a lot of awkwardness and things that didn't add up.
The parents were very awkward and weirdly obsessed with talking about sex. While I do feel like parents should have open communication about sex so that their kids are aware and feel safe to ask questions, it really felt like sex was the only thing these moms wanted to talk about.
There is no way a teenager would be allowed to be a midwife for a hospital, nor would most people feel comfortable about that. Even with an independent study internship, there's no way a hospital would allow this. As soon as Lacey starts doing this, I had so much trouble connecting with her because it just wasn't believable.
Lacey and Theo's relationship exploded out of nowhere. This girl has never even been kissed or been a noticeable attraction to guys, and she has no hesitations with jumping Theo's bones and expressing her love for him literally the day he broke up with his ex. Okay, I'm exaggerating, but that's what it felt like.
The lack of character development in lieu of all the mindless sex education did not make many of the scenarios believable, nor did I develop any attachment to the characters. They actually kind of annoyed me. There wasn't much depth to them and their actions were sometimes confusing. I wasn't rooting for the romance, and I didn't connect with the characters' overall goals because the development was such a side venture to the real goal of educating the reader about sex.
I wish this book was more enjoyable because I feel some of the themes (more topics than themes, though) are ones that should be explored in YA in this culture. Overall, it felt like an over the top problem novel (the problem being abstinence only sex education in schools) where flat, forgettable characters tripped over their words the whole time to be politically correct.
Lacey has been taught well about birds and bees, to a point she's been giving office hours to solve doubts about sex from her classmates due to a failing sex-ed curriculum. Except, she's never even kissed yet.
Okay, the sex safety advices were good and the story was interesting. To a point. It all got to long and unevitably dragged for too much of the book from the moment I could see how it would end. In the end, even the health advices became too preachy. I think the author, at some point, got lost in the difference between writing entertainment and writing a school read. This would be the funniest if my intention were to learn and not to have fun reading a witty YA book.
It's still a good story. And, unlike many I've read in the genre, it's not graphic. I was actually surprised how well the author knew to set the line for that point. Lacey is also very relatable, she's not actually innocent, she just hasn't found the guy to do all the things she'd like to.
Unfortunately, it got too educational and predictable, but the advices given were great and Theo is the book boyfried you want.
Honest review based on an ARC provided by Netgalley. Many thanks to the publisher for this opportunity.
On the one hand, I really enjoyed this book and I loved the message it sends. The main character speaks up against the abstinence-only education her school gives, by answering students' questions and handing out condoms. She's also learning to become a doula, which was both interesting and challenging for my suspension of disbelief. Because I'm sorry, but I can't really imagine a high-school student with no prior experience would suddenly be okay guiding people through child-birth.
This story just fell a little flat for me. There's a lot of talk about consent and sexual education, and while that's important, it also feels really forced at times. It was also great to see on-page discussions about asexuality, but no matter how much the main character said sex ed had to be inclusive, there wasn't a lot of action in the book to support that statement.
Overall, I think this book had a lot of potential, but it doesn't fully live up to it. If you want to read a YA book about sex ed, I'd be more likely to recommend Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts).
Rep: biromantic asexual side character, bisexual side character
CWs: explicit discussions of sex and genitals, child-birth
A sex positive book that tells it like it is with a dash of unrequited love? Yes, please. This book has a little bit of everything, but what I loved the most was how Olivia Hinebaugh covered so much ground in so little time without being preachy! I loved the dynamic friendship between Lacey, Evita, and Theo. I adored that there were moms who supported their children and that frank and honest conversations took place. This is a wonderful debut with a fresh take on sex, love, friendship and everything in between. It's a much needed book because it's scary how little teens today know about any of the topics discussed in TBTBAYAM. You need to read it!
I read an ARC of this novel, and I have to say that Olivia tackles one of the most difficult topics to write about—sex. She does it beautifully. The message is important. If you're going to have sex, practice safe sex and do it with someone who respects and cares about you, and most importantly because it's your choice. No one should ever feel pressured, and this novel gives teens a way to communicate with each other and also recognize when things are heading in the wrong direction.
This novel has heart and is great for discussion groups.
I was so fortunate to get an advanced reader copy of this and it just made my heart so happy! It transported me back to high school, vividly recalling the feelings and wondering of college applications, first loves, and figuring out who I was and what I wanted out of life. ❤️❤️❤️
Official blurb: "I've been waiting for a long time for a YA like this! Olivia Hinebaugh's debut is bold, bright, and refreshingly sex positive, with an authentic voice that wouldn't let me go. This is the book I needed at sixteen."
This book surprised me in such a positive way. I don't think I've ever read such a sex positive book. The Birds, The Bees and You and Me is very diverse and tells us it's okay to love who you love and be who you are.
Lacey grew up with her single mother who's always been very open and honest with anything that has to do with sex. She's made Lacey realize it's okay to want what you want, but that consent is very important and to only to do what she's comfortable with. I think Lacey knows more ways to protect herself than most adults! Her relationship with her mother was one of my favorite things about this book!
At school, they start sex-ed, but when it's abstinence only, Lacey has a hard time with this. Why shouldn't students learn how to protect themselves? Not only from diseases, but teenage pregnancy. Let's just say the school isn't happy when Lacey speaks her mind. I was proud of Lacey and her friends sticking up for what they believe in.
Students start to learn about Lacey's knowledge and she starts giving advice (even if she hasn't even had her first kiss). Besides her fight to help get her classmates educated, this book is filled with many other things: friendship, learning what you really want and first loves.
Lacey, Theo and Evita are a really close group and have a band together. It's fun reading about their friendship and that they'd do anything for each other. Everybody needs friends like that. Things get harder for her when she realizes her dreams may be different than what her best friends want and that Theo is starting to feel like more than a friend.
I love how Lacey grows in this book. She starts off really shy, even about giving advice about sex, but starts becoming really confident. Lacey fights for what she wants and gives herself a chance to explore her feelings. I loved how much Lacey and Theo talked about their relationship and didn't just assume things. It's important to teach teenagers about mutual respect.
The Birds, The Bees and You and Me does get a bit descriptive when it comes to sex in this story, but this is done in a very respectful way. Besides the important messages it brings, the story of young love and an amazing friendship make this book complete!
This new release had me hooked from the cover. Then I read what it was about. After that, I found out that the author was going to be at the NoVaTeen Book Festival that I’m going to (or probably have already been to by the time this review posts.) I wish this book had been available to me when I was in high school. I grew up in a single parent household. My dad raised me. Now, he did his best to be everything I needed but sex was not something either of us w comfortable talking about. So, we just didn’t. I learned from books and my friends. I would have loved this book even more than I do now have I been able to read it when I really needed it in my younger years. Our main character, Lacey is so fierce and passionate about getting the facts out there and making people move away. Her mom has taught her all the right things and she feels that it’s her responsibility to share those things with her classmates. I thought she was a great main character. Even though she didn’t have the experience she had the knowledge and she didn’t hesitate to share that knowledge with everyone and anyone that wanted it. She advocated for all the right things. She spends this book learning while also pushing the limits and standing up for what she knows is right. I really enjoyed her learning to love being a doula and all things nursing. Then there’s her best friend, Evita, who is on the ace spectrum and isn’t afraid to share what she knows and feels. She is the president of the LGBTQIA group at their school. She was sassy and unapologetic about who she is. She spoke her mind and I really liked her. She called people on their shit, stood up for what she believed in, and stood by her friends. Theo was honestly my least favorite of the trio. He spent the first half of the book with a girlfriend that no one liked. I did like how he was used as a tool to explain certain things and ideas within the story. Plain and simple, he was a great guy. Considerate and kind and attentive to his friends but I just preferred the girls. I loved pretty much everything about this book. My only complaint would be that in the beginning of the story the sex-positive stuff was a little heavy-handed and clunky. There was a lot of “my mom taught me” again and again. But as the story progressed it got much better. Really only the first few chapters had a bit of info dumping with the sex conversations. Overall, I loved the characters. They were entertaining, funny, and passionate. I loved the message the story was sharing. It’s one I really could have used in a book when I was young and learning. I loved all the parental support the kids had from their parents. I only wish this book had been longer. I would have loved to spend more time getting to know these characters and being in their world. I can’t wait to see what this author comes out with next.
Edit: I thought maybe I should add something lol okay, so the teens in the book are being teensy. I like it cause this is set in high school after all. They can be immature, make wromg decisions, say the wrong things, be awkward. But teens are teens.
I like how supportive the parents are, and how present they are. Sometimes in YA parents are either not present or they're the cause of the problems. So it's good that there are YA books with supportive and open-minded parents.
I thought the book would be preachy (maybe it's still a bit is) but it wasn't overbearing or too long. It was just the right amount of wokeness (right kids? lol).
Overall, I like this book and how Lacey navigated the decision to take the path she ended up choosing.
Although, teens can be dramatic, real life isn't as dramatic as YA novels, especially the high school scenes. Most schools will keep all the problems underwraps (heh) as soon as possible because they do care about PR you know.
I really wanted to like this one more than I did. The message is excellent. Sex education needs to actually be imparting knowledge, not an attempt to shame kids into abstinence. The facts contained within the book are solid and informative. Unfortunately, it sort of lost the plot as an object of interest by making it seem like more of a non-fiction info dump. I'm giving it three stars for the success of educating young adults, but cannot recommend it for entertainment.
This unbiased review is based on a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.
the three stars are for evita and evita only. this book had good intentions, but it felt like i was reading the pamphlets they hand you at the nurse's office (or even emma's pamphlets from glee) instead of reading an actual teenager speak.