Sex in Teen Lit Month is what started it all. There is a lot of peer pressure to have sex to not be an outcast, and you hear a lot about teens not taking things seriously when it comes to protecting themselves or the choices they make. I am not one to go telling people what they should or shouldn't be doing when it comes to sex, but when it comes to teens, I would like them to be as informed as possible, take protection seriously, and do so because they want to. Sex in Teen Lit Month was a great topic for me to look at first, seeing how authors dealt with what can be a confusing subject. Looking into casual sex, first times, teen pregnancy, and more, it was an eye opener. I had some great interviews and guest posts from authors, including Tanya Lee Stone, Melvin Burgess, Joanna Kenrick, Megan Hooper, and Laura Ruby. It was a great blog event, and paved the way for my future blog events.
Teenagers have such a hard time accepting themselves for who they are and how they look, I find. I was the same. And it's not surprising, considered all the crap we're told by the media every day. So this was another topic it was important for me to discuss and look at. I do think it got a bit too busy, with so much happening on various different blogs, but it was good so many people want to get involved and talk about it too. It was so awesome getting to interview awesome people like Angela Morrion, Simone Elkeles, and Mary Hogan, and having guest posts written by Sarah Darer Littman, Suzanne Supley, Sydney Salter and Simmone Howell. Such a fantastic topic, and such a wide range of books covering all many of body image/self-perception issues; weight, disabilities, eating disorders, birthmarks, height. It goes on. So important! It's a topic that really makes me mad, because we as humans always seem to put ourselves down, it's just something that upsets me. But most of the books tend to end on a positive.
Sadly, this event didn't quite go as planned. Due to computer issues, months went by with very little computer access, so writing reviews and conducting interviews was virtually impossible. So instead of a month long event, I shortened it to a week. But I had some great interview with Lauren Oliver, Jenny Downham and Annabel Pitcher, and a great guest post from Denise Deegan. This is one I might have to revisit, but it's something I will have to be in the mood for - it would be a lot of depressing reading for a long time.
My most successful blog event to date! There weren't that many comments on the blog, but there were quite a lot of people were willing - and wanted - to get involved, and there was a lot of discussion on Twitter about it. It was also successful for me personally, because it's the blog event I've learnt the most from; as a straight cis-gendered female, there was a lot I didn't know about various identities, and experiences I was mostly sheltered from. It really opened my eyes, and LGBTQ YA - especially focussing on the gender and asexual identities - is something I'm now really passionate about! It opened my eyes to suc a wide range of stories; romance, dystopia, fantasy, historical, graphic novels, "issue" novels, and so on. There were so many amazing contributors, I'm not going to list them as I'll just be repeating the whole schedule, but it was such a varied and fantastic blog event! I am so happy that I did, and I am readin so many more great LGBTQ YA novels now, with recommendations flying in from all over - and fantastic opportunities have come my way because of it. Watch this space!
And I can now say I will be revisting what I started with, and will be holding Sex in Teen Lit Month II, hopefully later this year. There have been some fantastic books covering sex in YA since 2009, and I'm a much wider YA reader now. It would be cool to see where things have moved forward since 2009. I've already lined up a few people to interview, and I'm really excited to get to reading and working on it.
If you have any recommendations for me of YA novels from the past five years that focus on sex (along with the consequences of - pregnancy, abortion, STIs) or sex crimes, please do email me. But I'm not looking at covering graituitous sex in YA/NA. Cheers!