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DOING IT by Melvin Burgess


by Melvin Burgess

Age Range: 12 & up

Pub Date: June 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-8050-7565-8
Publisher: Henry Holt

A trio of British teens fantasize, agonize, masturbate, grope, kiss, feel up, and shag their way through one seemingly endless school year in which traditional teen-novel concerns are entirely thrown over for sex. Dino unrequitedly pursues the gorgeous Jackie and simultaneously grapples with his mother’s affair; Jon overcomes his worries about image to fall hard for the chubby-but-likable Deborah; and, in the most provocative subplot, Ben desperately works to extricate himself from a liaison with a beautiful but predatory teacher. Hilarity (cleaning up after a weekend party) alternates with bittersweet (the end of Dino’s parents’ marriage), and all three boys end the year wiser, if not necessarily better. Although this offering is being piously marketed at “Ages 16 up,” if kids can get their hands on it, it will do for this generation what Forever did for kids some 30 years ago (there’s even a Mr. Knobby Knobster to replace ol’ Ralph). The third-person limited perspective develops voice by shifting from boy to boy, going into graphic, slang-filled detail about the various bodily functions involved. In between these moments (and there are too many to effectively dog-ear only the good bits), the narrative frequently achieves moments of fine writing, character development, etc., but that’s hardly the point, is it? The point is that this, like sex, is all about good dirty fun. (Fiction. 12+)