Sunday, February 26, 2012

YA Novels and Content Not Appropriate for Middle School

 I just finished Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson (she tweeted me after I posted that, too too cool!).  I have my review from Goodreads below so you can check it out.  Here is the frustration for me as a Middle School librarian, what content is appropriate and what is not.  I also just finished Dash and Lily's Book of Dares which I happened to have in my Middle School library.  Where is the line drawn between these two books?  Dash and Lily includes a gay couple, but there are no scenes describing any sex unlike with Amy and Roger.  Is that the line?  I don't know, this is a gray area.

Amy, a high school junior, has been on her own in California for a month.  Her mom has moved to Connecticut to get their new house organized, her brother Charlie has been at Rehab in North Carolina and her father died 3 months prior in a car accident in which Amy was driving the car.  Amy now has to get across the country in her mom's car to start her new life in Connecticut.  Enter Roger.

Since Amy won't drive because of the accident, her mom arranged for Roger, a freshman at Colorado State and friend of the family, to drive them across the country.  Amy's mom has planned the whole trip for them with an exciting stop in Nebraska, but Roger has another plan: "I guess I just thought this trip might be more of a real road trip...I don't know.  First stop, Yosemite National Park.

Thus begins an epic detour in which Roger who has his own agenda for wanting to take a different route, and Amy who has a lot to work out make a journey across the country meeting people seeing places and just figuring things out.

Road trip movies are chaotic and fun and when a book tries to do a road trip, it often falls short.  Not so here!  I loved how the story unfolded, and how we as the reader experienced America with Amy and Roger.  I want to visit Loo-vulle this summer and eat at 'The Brown'.  I loved how natural the relationship evolved between Amy & Roger.  It all worked swimmingly.

The reason I couldn't give this a 5 star was for the scene at the end of the book between Amy and Roger. <spoiler> Amy and Roger obviously realize that they like each other.  Amy kisses Roger, they decided to stay at one last hotel before the end of the trip, they have dinner, then Amy says to Roger, 'let's go to the room' Roger asks if 'she's ready' yada yada, and they go back to the room and have sex.  No contraceptive is ever indicated.  Neither were virgins, but Amy's only other time was the day of her father's funeral so it made sense that she would want to forget everything and just want to escape in that manner.  I didn't think it was necessary for the story and it bothered me being in there with no thought to 'consequences'.  It bummed me out too because prior to that scene I was going to purchase the book for my middle school library. </spoiler>

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