Frenemies with Benefits
By L. Sharp
Socially awkward Jess has a summer plan—to claim her brother's friend, Andrew, as her man and possibly even lose her V card to him. If only she had the sexual confidence to go after what she wanted. Which is where sexy jock Benjamin comes in. He and Jess have been sparring for ages and although she despises him, she can't deny how attractive he is or how experienced he is (at least by reputation) in the bedroom. Which is how she ends up requesting his help to upskill in the sexy department.
Jess is surprised to discover Benjamin has hidden depth—he's tender, thoughtful, nerdy, and a skilled musician and it isn't long before the lines between their sex-education business relationship blurs into something more and Jess finds herself craving his company when they're apart and thinking less and less about Andrew.
Highly recommended this romance for the upper YA/NA audience. The story gives page space to important conversations such as consent, contraception, pregnancy, and different types of sex all through the eyes of a relatable protagonist.
Thank you to @netgalley and the publisher for the ARC.
Publication date: Aug 28, 2023 (Entangled Teen)
HOW TO BE A GIRL IN THE WORLD
By C. Carter
Thanks to the @kidlitexchange network for the review copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
HOW TO BE A GIRL IN THE WORLD is an important middle-grade novel about standing up for oneself and speaking the truth, no matter how awkward doing so may be. It will hopefully become an invaluable resource for parents and educators in opening up discussions over body positivity, touch boundaries and consent, and handling inappropriate sexual behavior. Topics that, historically, have not received the attention they deserve.
Lydia isn't sure why some of her school friends like it when boys call them names and try to see up their skirts or why she doesn't. Is there something wrong with her? And is her mom's boyfriend just overly friendly or inappropriate when he gives her long hugs or touches her knee? Too scared to articulate these concerns, Lydia turns to layers of clothing to hide her body and searches for answers and protection in a book of magic spells.
Carter does a wonderful job of letting the reader inside Lydia's head and showcasing just how difficult speaking up can be, especially when trusted adults are dismissive of one's concerns. This book is a must-read for tween girls and is sure to have a positive impact on the lives of many.
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