I bought Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler almost two years ago, just after I heard it was being banned because it "promotes or sensationalizes sexual promiscuity." I love a good banned book and was hoping for a shockingly frank discussion of teen sexuality. Those people who tried to ban this book are idiots. Only someone who only read the title would think this book encourages promiscuous behavior.
The two teen girls in the novel are suffering because Frankie's brother Matt, who was Anna's boyfriend died of an undetected hole between the chambers of his heart. A year after his death, his parents decide to take Frankie and Anna to the family's long time vacation spot to promote healing. It is at this point Frankie suggests a game in which the two girls will meet 20 boys. They do not even get half-way there and one girl remains a virgin and the other sleeps with one boy, just one, not twenty. A boy who incidentally she feels quite strongly about even after knowing him for a relatively brief time. At no point does the story glorify sexual escapades. It is in fact a sweet story about loss, friendship, family, and love. I am sorry now to have waited so long to read it. I intend to read Ockler's other recent publications, Fixing Delilah and Bittersweet.
Now, a book that I would not be surprised to hear about being banned is Sarah Mlynowski's ten things we did (and probably shouldn't have). I would not agree with such a ban, but this is certainly a book with a fair amount of teen sex. Mlynowski writes frankly about teen issues, which include decisions about sexual partners. This book is the story of sixteen-year-old Anna whose father and step-mother move to Cleveland leaving her in Connecticut to finish her junior year. On one hand this is what Anna wants, but on the other hand she wishes her father (who is a loving and attentive father just trying to make his daughter happy) would just command her to come with him. She moves in with her best friend Vi who has some actual parent problems with a mom who is away with the touring company of Mary Poppins. Yes, this means the girls are on their own, perpetuating a big cover-up so that April's father does not discover the truth. I do not want to ruin it, but one of the 10 things they do is buy a hot tub.
April is likeable and still reeling from her parents' unpleasant divorce two years earlier. She has lived with her father while her younger brother moved to Paris with their mother and her new husband. It is a challenging situation and April feels most comfortable around the friends and boyfriend who got her through that difficult time. Living on her own with some distance from her family is probably the best thing for April, but book banners of the world will disapprove of the not unusal teen behaviors show in the novel.