Momservation: If you’re not talking to your teens about sex, you’re not controlling the message.
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Let’s face it. I got the bulk of my sex education from reading novels (Playboys found in my brother’s room and Cinemax After Dark at my aunt’s house filled in the rest).
The first adult book I read was V.C. Andrews’ Flowers in the Attic series. In 7th grade. I learned that if you’re a teenage boy, your sexual urges will be so great that you will have sex with your sister.
Well, if you’re locked in an attic by an evil grandmother for years with your only human contact being your siblings, anyway.
I decided to do more investigating on this and knew I wasn’t going to find the answers in The Mouse and the Motorcycle or Blubber. So I plucked one of the books from the heaping book basket beside my mom’s bed. They all had painted pictures of women in various states of swooning, their lace bodices coming undone, and a long-haired Nordic muscle man reaching to catch them. Fabio did nothing for me so I picked one of the few that didn’t have his likeness on the cover.
This is where I learned that young women lose their virginity by nearly being raped before being rescued by a much older man who she initially despises but then realizes she loves and unable to resist her desire anymore will beg to be deflowered.
(And yes, these seemingly male fantasies were mainly written by women.)
If you took a cue from the Fabio reference you realized this was about 30 years ago. A lot has changed (like Fabio being the gold standard of masculinity, thank God). But unfortunately, a lot has stayed the same.
And I was a teenage girl once. As a voracious reader I not only craved books with more substance than what Judy Blume and Beverly Cleary were offering, I wanted a little romance. I wanted a book that reflected my growing realization that I was eager for a first kiss and first love.
Sure, Judy Blume tried to fill that void with Forever—but that was about the only book you could find that mirrored a teenage girl’s insecurities and desires.
I now have a daughter in 7th grade. Like me, there are not enough books in this world to satisfy her appetite for reading. Good books, anyway.
I don’t want her to get a distorted sex education in her search for a great relatable book that stimulates her imagination and feeds her curiosity at a level she is comfortable with.
This is where my friend Janine Caldwell comes in.
Janine has written a Young Adult fantasy series that tries to fill the void of appropriate yet stimulating books for pre-teens and teenagers. She finds that her Vortex Series has been labeled Christian YA because it mirrors her own values of sexual abstinence.
Janine doesn’t mind the categorizing, but feels she has written something with broader appeal. “The Vortex Series, in my opinion, is considered clean YA,” said Janine. “It’s a morally-based fantasy romance. I feel it’s appropriate for readers 6th grade and up due to themes that lightly touch on premarital sex. However, the strongest theme of the series plays on the concept of what one would do if they could relive their life. How they would change it and would it be for the better.”
I just finished Janine’s recently released last book in her Vortex Series: DEUCE. The continuing story of Trent, a time traveling teen, and Cassie, his tennis prodigy destined love, combines fantasy and romance to create a compelling love story of integrity and sacrifice.
I was delighted to find something my daughter could read that I felt good about.
DEUCE, like the previous two books, REMATCH and DOUBLE FAULT moves quickly with an engaging plot and snappy dialogue. Janine weaves into the story normal issues and anxieties that high school teens face as they try to navigate their way to adulthood as well as upping the ante with an exciting premise of living a supernatural life.
I loved how Janine’s characters in the Vortex Series communicate intelligently in mature interactions instead of perpetuating star-crossed lover stereotypes. I believe teens will find its dealings with dating, socializing, parental expectations, and first love more relatable among the fantasy of heroic time travel.
But don’t just take my word for it. You can see the positive feedback and reviews from readers at JanineCaldwell.com. While you’re there you can also enter to win a signed copy of DEUCE. Janine was also selected on GoodReads as Author of the Month at Teen Romance and her other YA Fantasy book, VISITED, made the top 25 of Goodread’s Best Teen Clean Fiction. She’d love it if you joined her Janine Caldwell Fan Group on Goodreads!
All three books in the Vortex Series, REMATCH, DOUBLE FAULT, and DEUCE are available in e-reader format at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, and iTunes. You can also purchase paperback copies through Amazon.