YA Novels Help Parents Talk Sex

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A discussion with your kid about the birds and the bees might be one of the more intimidating moments of parenthood, but YA novelists can lend a hand. When YA writers confront modern issues of sex, rape, consent, abuse, and gender, they help parents—and schools—introduce these sensitive topics:

Consent doesn’t even have to be about sex, per se, says Earl Sewell, who has written several young adult novels, including one where a boy pressures a girl to send explicit photos after they start sexting. “I try to do this in the book so that they can see themselves and say, ‘What would I do if I were in this situation? How would I handle it?’ ” Sewell says.


Ian MacAllen is the Rumpus Deputy Editor and founder of English Kills Review an online literary magazine focused on books, authors, and New York City. His writing has appeared in Joyland Magazine, The Billfold, Fiction Advocate, Electric Cereal, Thought Catalog, and io9. He holds a Master’s Degree in English from Rutgers University and lives in Brooklyn. He tweets @IanMacAllen and is online at IanMacAllen.com. More from this author →