The educator and parent inside me began to cheer as if I had found a diamond in the rough. The book intrigues me in more ways than one. My first thought was that the book is located in the Young Adult section of Borders; my perusal of reading material in this section typically allows me to find relevant and engaging literary sources for my growing student library. And although most reviews of the book say this is a "must-read" for any parent, the book is shelved in the Young Adult section. This causes me to wonder which audience this book should be geared to...parents or teen girls?
My second thought, upon reading the book, deals with the content. Katie's inner thoughts and descriptions of conversations with her girlfriends regarding their sexual curiosity are definitely in there. While the terms "having sex," "blow job," "fingering," and "breasts" are used, the actual descriptions of the acts are that of...well, a thirteen-year-old and fairly innocent. For obvious reason, I wonder if the content is appropriate for pre-teens to young teens?
My last thought is more of a question: Could this story both protect young girls from the potential dangers on the internet and educate them?
Some of my thoughts and questions may be controversial for other parents and educators. I have concerns about whether 10- to 13-year-olds might not be mature enough; is it too early to be teaching this type of content, or are we opening the door to sexual education? Won't this potentially increase our kids' curiosity? The answers to these questions are all yes.
As a parent, I think it is much too early to have to broach some of these topics with our kids. They need to be kids, right? Unfortunately, this is not reality, and I am realistic. The door to sexual education is already open. It is called the internet. While we might have filters on our computers at home, does your daughter's or son's friend have a filter at their home? And what about curiosity? I think we are fooling ourselves if we think "our kids don't know about _____ yet, because they are only 10 or 11 years old." (Insert whatever you want into the blank space.) I'm a mother of two teen boys (ages 14 and 15) and I know that they know about _______. I know what they know because I talk with them. Even though I have sons, I have decided to have them read this book.