Oh, yes. Losing It by Julia Lawrinson. This is the blurb: To avoid Losing It in the bushes with some random guy in a heavy-metal T-shirt after too many tequila shots, four best friends make a bet: to lose it before schoolies week – and preferably in a romantic, sober way that they won't regret. What follows is a sometimes funny, sometimes awkward, but always compelling comedy of errors as Abby, Mala, Bree and Zoe each try to find their Mr Right . . . or at least get laid. A hilarious and thought-provoking novel by the award-winning author of Bye, Beautiful and The Push.
Here is an extract, from the beginning of the book. After having read the extract, I wasn't particularly interested in reading it, to be entirely honest with you. But still! I picked it up! That first part is probably my least favourite of the whole book. Third-person scenes book-end the novel, with four separate sections filling the space between - a short story from each of the main characters, at various points through the year. And I very much love multiple narrators, and I think this method of story-telling worked very well. Each of the four friends were unique and endearing and imperfect, and pretty stupid at various points, and I think the realism of each of them and their voices was what kept some out-there ridiculous plot twists from turning the book unbelievable. The first story, Zoe's, was undoubtedly the funniest, and I loved that the most academically smart of the girls was also the most obnoxious.
Shortly after reading Losing It, I was doing my usual 'wasting time on the internet, shouldn't I be writing or doing something important with my life?' thing, when I read this quite wonderful post by another author, Foz Meadows, entitled 'Why YA sex scenes matter.' And this is definitely something I want to write more on*, later, but I thought I'd touch on this now, since it is super relevant to this book. But this is a big thing that I loved about Losing It, despite the fact that it was at times uncomfortably weird, was that it represented four very different experiences of teenage sexuality, realistically and non-judgementally. The novel was not a vehicle for the author to express her views - it was entertaining and involving and well-written - but it still depicted everything in a positive but not saccharine manner. So that makes me happy. Not all sex scenes in YA novels should be wedding-night-with-a-vampire, guys.
So age recommendation - girls, fourteen and over? It's a novel about a virginity pact. I think we've gathered eleven-year-olds won't really like it. And the girls do a bit of drinking of alcoholic beverages in the first and final scenes. I plan on writing about this, as well - what is appropriate in YA and what isn't. I plan on writing about everything. While the sex in this book is older teenage subject matter, it's all dealt with in a very tactful manner and there aren't any damaging sort of values going on. I wouldn't be concerned about younger teenagers reading it, really. I get more worried about violence in books, that freaks me out. This novel is lovely and honest and hilarious and leans towards the ridiculous at times, but it's got a big heart. So there.
*Who knows when I'll write a proper post about this? I am very hesitant about expressing definite views on things, because I am so wary of offending people now and aware that my own views are bound to change. I had a lot more confidence to just say 'I believe this! I know everything!' when I was slightly younger. Maybe this is what growing up does to you? You have to endlessly think about things? You are never quite sure? Gosh, adulthood is terrible.
Links you may like:
On the publisher's website
The author's blog