cover image Confessions of an Alleged Good Girl

Confessions of an Alleged Good Girl

Joya Goffney. HarperTeen, $17.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-06-302484-7

Goffney’s (Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry) sincere novel underscores conversations around sexual autonomy, purity culture, and internalized shame with earnestness and humor. Seventeen-year-old Black Texan Monique is a Baptist preacher’s daughter and the prime example of a “good girl” who doesn’t curse and never parties. Despite her conservative upbringing, however, Monique craves intimacy with longtime boyfriend Dom, 17. But after two years of trying, intercourse still proves too physically painful for her to endure, and Dom dumps her, leaving Monique feeling like “damaged goods.” Searching for answers, Monique recruits fellow good girl Sasha, 15, who suggests Monique has vaginismus, an automatic and involuntary contraction of vaginal muscles. Joined by local “bad boy” Reggie, 16, Monique attempts to come to terms with her condition and interrogates the varying sources of shame that have cultivated her fear about her sexual desires. Safe spaces composed predominantly of Black women, discussions regarding sexual health education’s importance, and tender, healthy depictions of romance that exhibit respect for personal boundaries populate this sex-positive read, a compassionate novel that encourages teens to prioritize the control, safety, and comfort of their own bodies. Ages 13–up. (May)