Welcome, Author and Guest Blogger, Steve Verrier! We're thrilled to have you at Rex Robot Reviews. Steve is the brilliant writer behind Plan B.
What Steve has to say...I’ve been asked whether my novel, Plan B, was written for the Young Adult market. After all, the protagonist is a teenage boy named Danny – a good kid who out of nowhere finds the deck is stacked against him. Despite getting shafted by those running his school, in fighting back Danny displays most of the qualities you’d want to see in a young person. He’s ambitious, hardworking, creative, and persistent, and clearly he’s on a mission to right a wrong. He’s a good son and a good brother, and for the most part he remains loyal to his ideals. When Danny gets off track he usually acknowledges it and tries to straighten things out. He’s attentive to his faith and to his inner voice, and displays some of the Rocky-like qualities that, yes, could inspire some young readers.
The problem – as far as classifying Plan B as a Young Adult novel is concerned – is that Danny’s coming-of-age journey takes him at times into the sexual realm. He discovers pornography. He can’t take his eyes off the topless women he encounters on the Riviera. He sleeps with a pretty young Australian in Rome. He goes through a hedonistic phase when he gets to university. In other words, he behaves much as a young person might. There’s very little that’s explicitly sexual in the book, but if Danny’s sexual meanderings were taken out, well, Danny wouldn’t be Danny anymore. And since all the significant aspects of his journey have to be presented, this is a book that – at least in its current form – probably can’t be marketed directly to a Young Adult readership …
Which, when you think about it, is preposterous. There’s not a word about sex in Plan B that’s a bit gratuitous, yet young people are bombarded with sexually-charged images, lyrics, TV and movie themes, and even headlines at the supermarket checkout. I just finished a year of teaching high school English, and occasionally something we were reading in class offered a hint of sexual intention or activity. Whenever a student asked for an explanation I declined, suggesting such an explanation may not be appropriate for young ears. In response, the student would say something like, “I was just pulling your leg. You don’t have to explain anything. We know all about sex.”
True. They’re just not supposed to read about it.
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