Informative But Annoying: The Birds, The Bees, and You and Me by Olivia Hinebaught

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Seventeen-year-old Lacey Burke is the last person on the planet who should be doling out sex advice. For starters, she’s never even kissed anyone, and she hates breaking the rules. Up until now, she’s been a straight-A music geek that no one even notices. All she cares about is jamming out with her best friends, Theo and Evita.

But then everything changes.

When Lacey sees first-hand how much damage the abstinence-only sex-ed curriculum of her school can do, she decides to take a stand and starts doling out wisdom and contraception to anyone who seeks her out in the girls’ restroom. But things with Theo become complicated quickly, and Lacey is soon not just keeping everyone else’s secrets, but hers as well.

Source: GoodReads

I just realize this is the first book I’m reviewing for 2019.  That’s not a good omen considering that I hated this book.

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To be fair, as a safe sex manual and an introduction to intersectionality it didn’t outright suck, but as an actual book.

Oh yeah, it did.

This book is very informative.  I mean, it does go into some of the specifics about how to have safe sex, etc. But as an actual book….

I guess, the closest thing I have to compare it to is Meg Cabot’s 2004 Ready or Not (the poor sequel to All American Girl).  In that sequel, Meg Cabot not so subtly gave her audience a lecture on safe sex.

Hell, I was sixteen at the time I first read it and a total Cabot fan girl and even I found the book eye roll inducing.  Hinebaugh’s book is ten times worse than Ready or Not.

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That’s bad folks really bad.

The message is a good one, but it is just so ham fisted I really can’t see the target audiences liking this book.  It didn’t help that none of the characters or side plots.

The main character’s essential characteristic is that she knows all about safe sex.  There’s nothing else going for her except she’s a little whiney and privilege asshole who apparently hates classical music even though she’s trying to get in music school.

Honey, just letting you know that Mozart and Haydn you’re going to be hearing about them a lot even if you do go to school for just composition.  I’m pretty sure Musical History and Music Theory touches on them a lot but hey what do I know just that everybody in my freaking family has a music (either education or performance) degree and my sister went to a fucking conservatory (one of those school’s you mock).

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Oh yeah, there’s some character hatred on the MC.  But Lacey is a little insufferable twit who knows all about safe sex because her mom’s a nurse I guess…and  has terrible taste in boys.  Because God, the love interest was attached for most of this book and then quickly got with Lacey and then got into her pants even quicker.

And yeah, I guess they were friends BUT….the relationship doesn’t really make sense to me.  Maybe it’s me but have your characters actually date before they talk about what sort of flavor of condom they want to use.

There’s their bff who is suppose to be the asexual rep of the novel.  I mean…textbook wise the rep was decent enough.  It gives a good introduction into what asexuality is, BUT I really felt like it was simply rushed to give the book diversity points.  God, I hate saying that.  But that’s what it honestly felt like.  I also don’t know how good the rep was and I really don’t feel comfortable with reviewing it one way or the other.  I know will be interested in what asexual readers have to say about this aspect of the book.

The other friend is pregnant which I guess her pregnancy is suppose to be one of the turning points of the novel.  Again, she felt mostly like an insert.

God, most of the characters in this book were pretty much inserts to get out the message of this book.  Which leads me to this, I fucking hate message books.  Much like I hated after school specials when I was young and it’s because of one simple reason-they talk down to their audience.

Don’t get me wrong, the book had a very good message but there’s a way to be less ham fisted about it.  Also, I don’t think a teenager is going to become the random school sex guru like Lacey it just felt bizarre and off putting.

I am donating this book to my local library.  I have mixed feelings about it.  On one hand, I am glad that this book is getting out there to a very conservative audience.  On the other hand, I feel bad for the person reading this bland book.  Other than the decent message, there’s nothing appealing about this one.  I could rant about it more, but I really don’t feel like it.

Overall Rating: I’m giving it a D.  The message is good, the rest of it sucked.

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