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LOVE & SEX by Michael Cart Kirkus Star

LOVE & SEX

Ten Stories of Truth

By Michael Cart

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: June 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-689-83203-6
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

In a direct frontal assault on censorship of young-adult literature, Cart (My Father’s Scar, 1996, etc.) presents ten short stories that highlight a taboo subject: teenagers coping with sexuality. Written by established and critically praised YA authors, the stories range from a girl determined to remain abstinent, to an agonizing blind date set up by parents, to abortion, and to homosexuality of both genders. One story by Australian author Garth Nix dips into science fiction, while another real winner by Sonya Sones relates a girl’s first experience of love through simple but evocative poems. Honesty and responsibility act as currents running through the collection, whether the stories depict those qualities directly, as in Joan Bauer’s humorous and touching “Extra Virgin,” or as undercurrents, as in Shelley Stoehr’s reckless runaway main character in “Troll Bumps.” Cart laments in his foreword that many teenagers today appear not to understand “certain differences between lust and love.” By telling teens the truth rather than leaving them without guidance, he argues that young adults may better cope with the intense sexual pressures in their lives. Some stories hit hard, but all deal honestly with the reader. It’s a bold poke in the eye to the censors, and an invigorating addition to the literature. (Fiction. YA)