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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

High school senior Keely Collins takes on firsts, lasts, and everything in between in this sweet, sex-positive rom-com for fans of Meg Cabot and Jenny Han. It seemed like a good plan at first. When the only other virgin in her group of friends loses it at Keely's own eighteenth birthday party, she's inspired to take things into her own hands. She wants to have that experience too (well, not exactly like that--but with someone she trusts and actually likes), so she's going to need to find the guy, and fast. Problem is, she's known all the boys in her small high school forever, and it's kinda hard to be into a guy when you watched him eat crayons in kindergarten. So she can't believe her luck when she meets a ridiculously hot new guy named Dean. Not only does he look like he's fallen out of a classic movie poster, but he drives a motorcycle, flirts with ease, and might actually be into her. But Dean's already in college, and Keely is convinced he'll drop her if he finds out…

The Best Laid Plans

by Cameron Lund

Overall Book Review:

Growing up in a conservative Christian home with three younger sisters, I became aware at a young age of what would pass as acceptable books to read in our household. Sometimes my parents would go so far as to read a questionable book before I did to make sure there wasn’t anything “bad” in it. Sometimes there were books that I wanted to read that I knew wouldn’t be allowed in our house (Harry Potter, Twilight) and I would read them at night and stash them under my pillow. As an adult, I don’t follow the YA books that are released as closely as I once did, however I’m fairly certain that books being published as YA nowadays would rarely pass my parents judgement.

It is obvious from the first page that The Best Laid Plans isn’t for the romance faint of heart. I will admit that I don’t read adult romance books very often and usually try to avoid them because they aren’t my favorite genre and I find them to be silly and often, trashy. However, sometimes teen books can be cute and fun, so I thought I’d give this one a try. With that being said, I was surprised at the amount that sex and losing virginity is brought up in this book, and if that’s something you’re not interested in reading about, you should probably skip reading this book. 

The protagonist, Keely, admits early on in the book that sex is something that is foreign to her and something that happens in movies, not something that happens to her. And yet it seems like all of her friends, boys and girls alike, are sexually active. In fact, Keely feels like she is a bit of an outcast because she is still a virgin as a senior in high school. Losing her virginity is something that Keely wants to feel right and be special, but she’s unsure how to learn the ins and outs without it being obvious that she’s inexperienced.

This book is full of high school drama, but digging a little deeper into what plays out on the pages, there are potential lessons to be learned about trust and being true to yourself and to your friends. It was fun to read a book about high school kids sneaking out and falling in love, though at times I wondered if this is really what being a teenager in public school is like nowadays and it makes me sad if that is the case. In my opinion this book seems to condone sexual activity at a young age and portray being a virgin as something that is looked down upon. This book deals with some heavy decisions quite lightly, and if I were to suggest it to someone to read, it would definitely be to an older teen/early 20’s audience.

Review of an Advance Reading Copy

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Razorbill

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  2 religious exclamations; 3 mild obscenities; 7 derogatory names; 7 scatological words; 13 anatomical terms; 3 offensive hand gestures; 10 F-word derivatives.

Violence/Gore:  Girls fight verbally in a brief scene; a minor is mentioned to punch a peer; rumors are spread and bullying occurs in several brief scenes.

Sex/Nudity:  Many instances of teens in sexual situations or conversations; a minor enters a room and sees bare skin of a minor couple in bed together, it is implied that they are having sex; virginity is mentioned; a conversation is had where girls talk about whether or not they are still virgins; a scene occurs where a boy is assumed to have told a gorup of classmates that he just had sex with a girl who was a virgin; sexual innuendo in several brief scenes between minors; teens are implied to be sexually active multiple times; a teen boy is mentioned to be touching a girl on her bottom; teens have a conversation about relationships and cheating; some parents have a conversation about safe sex with their kids in a brief scene; a conversation between teens occurs where they talk about the anatomy of boys; a used condom and wrapper are mentioned to be found by a teens parents; hand jobs and blow jobs are mentioned a few times between a group of teens; prostitution is mentioned as a possible occupation; a teen boy comments on a girls breasts; a teen girl stays overnight with a boy and they kiss a few times and sleep in the same bed; a brief mention of the act of a girl losing virginity; a game of spin the bottle is played and teens kiss multiple times; a teen boy is mentioned to take off his pants and be in his boxers, the girl he is with takes off her shirt and talks about taking off her bra; pornography is mentioned; a brief scene occurs with a teen boy and girl planning to have sex, they touch and kiss with sexual innuendo, but no sex occurs.

Mature Subject Matter:

Bullying; underage drinking; teenage sex; use of fake ID.

Alcohol / Drug Use:

A party occurs where beer and other alcoholic drinks are being served to minors; a minor is mentioned to be holding a beer and smelling like beer; minors drink whiskey; a minor uses a fake ID to purchase wine at a restaurant; minors drink wine coolers; marijuana usage is alluded to; mention of minors being drink at a party.

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

Books and reading have always been an important part of my life. When I was very young, my grandma was the library director at our local public library. Years later, after she had retired, I became a librarian at the same library and worked there for several years before taking a part-time job at a local coffee shop, which gives me more time to do what I love, to read and to review books! A few of my favorite authors are Aimee Bender, Diane Chamberlain, and Curtis Sittenfeld however, I will read almost any book I come across! In my spare time you can find me reading (of course), volunteering at a wildlife animal rehab, or hanging out with my two house rabbits.