Kirkus Reviews QR Code
SEXY by Joyce Carol Oates


by Joyce Carol Oates

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: March 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-06-054149-0
Publisher: HarperCollins

Handsome, popular, and athletic, 16-year-old Darren Flynn should be on top of the world. But this “guy’s guy” is not exactly what he seems. Loaded with self-doubt, burdened by other people’s expectations and distressed by feelings he can’t articulate, Darren likes to keep things light and jokey. However, after fellow swim-team member Jimmy Kovaks is kicked off varsity for plagiarizing, a group of Darren’s buddies anonymously accuses the teacher who caught and failed Jimmy, of coming onto boys. The school and police take action, destroying the teacher’s life and putting Darren, who knew about but refused to participate in the hoax, in a state of moral turmoil. Oates further complicates matters by giving Darren some unsavory but still ambiguous information about the teacher as well as an inchoate terror that he will somehow be tarred with the same brush. Full of ethical complexities, this deftly written page-turner offers a sympathetic portrait of a young man devoid of adult guidance, who struggles to come to his own conclusion while sorting through messy, complicated truths. (Fiction. YA)