cover image Good Girls

Good Girls

Laura Ruby, . . HarperTempest, $16.99 (274pp) ISBN 978-0-06-088223-5

Senior honors student Audrey has a "friends-with-benefits arrangement" with popular Luke DeSalvio. But when someone uses a camera phone at a party to sneak a picture of her performing oral sex on him—and emails the picture around to classmates (and her father, at his store)—Audrey suddenly has quite a different reputation. Not only does she have to deal with ogling and harassment from other students, but her relationship with her father becomes strained, and Luke starts ignoring her. Readers enticed by the scandalous premise will instantly sympathize with Audrey. Ruby (The Wall and the Wing ), through Audrey's first-person narrative, offers plenty of frank, sisterly insight about teen sexuality, without seeming to drive home any message. The teen gives an honest description of her first gynecological exam and her first sexual experience, and she and other characters struggle with the power dynamics involved with sex ("Nobody cares what you did. Actually, it just makes you more popular," Audrey tells Luke, when they finally talk). The plot sometimes strains credibility (readers may wonder if anyone would really be so cruel as to email the incriminating photo to Audrey's father, for example, or how believable it is that Luke was really interested in pursuing a relationship with her), but the author leaves readers with plenty to ponder. Ages 14-up. (Sept.)