Friday, April 13, 2018
I Never, by Laura Hopper
It's a very intimate portrayal of adolescent romance and sexuality that reads like a diary and follows all the rules of YA relationships (from the entirely too-perfect boyfriend to the gossipy BFFs that Janey shares everything from petty jealousy to sex secrets with). That said, it shares the fundamental flaw of Judy Blume books: it's a far too perfect portrayal of the world and the book has a mission to sell a philosophy rather than actually tell a story.
As a novel that will encourage young women to relax and enjoy sex for its positive elements, it's a pretty successful and readable novel. As a story about real people in real relationships, it's about as far away as it could possibly be. Janey is astute and extremely well-spoken and has a voice that alternates wildly between the immaturity of a pre-teen and the wise thoughtfulness of a middle aged woman. What she doesn't do, however, is sound like a seventeen year-old. And Luke? Well, he's just a fantasy creation (endlessly patient and kind, always saying the right thing, never has any interest beyond making Janey happy, etc.). I liked the Janey's mother most of all, but I assume that was basically Hopper's voice, and I didn't buy the calm reasoned discussions between mother and daughter about sex and longing.
And yes, the sex scenes are a little too numerous and a little too explicit. But if that's what you are looking for, I can give you some much better recommendations!