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Laurie Elizabeth Flynn. St. Martin’s Griffin, $18.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-250-07596-3
Mercedes Ayres is in the business of taking boys’ virginity, “helping” them get through their first times having sex so that their girlfriends can enjoy the benefits. She keeps these encounters secret from everyone in her life, maintaining the appearance of a quiet chemistry whiz at school. What started off as something supposedly empowering quickly devolves into a destructive habit Mercedes can’t seem to break. As the list of boys Mercedes has slept with tops 10 and keeps going, her certainty in the value of what she’s doing is shaken, and word gets out at school that Mercedes is easy—something that takes quite a bit longer to happen than seems likely. Debut author Flynn raises worthwhile questions about teenage sexuality and perceived promiscuity, but while Mercedes’s many sexual encounters aren’t described in gratuitous detail, the story veers into sensationalism halfway in and never quite recovers. The novel eventually gets around to exploring the events that have shaped Mercedes’s attitude toward sex, but more often it seems to be reveling in the drama of it all. Ages 14–up. Agent: Kathleen Rushall, Marsal Lyon Literary Agency. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 10/12/2015
Release date: 01/01/2016
Genre: Children's
Ebook - 978-1-4668-8732-9
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-1-250-13004-4
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