Sunday, January 8, 2023

On The Subject of Unmentionable Things by Julia Walton - OPTIONAL

On The Subject of Unmentionable Things by Julia Walton, 309 pages. Random House Children’s Books (Penguin Random House), 2022.  $19.

Language: R (100+  swears, 11 ‘f’); Mature Content: R (frequent anatomically correct discussions of sex education throughout and off-page sex); Violence: PG (off-page fighting, vandalism, online harassment)



Phoebe is a quiet, introverted, rule-following high school junior in a small, sleepy, conservative California town. She is also the anonymous author “Pom” who is behind a viral sex education blog and Twitter account. At first, all the attention her secret blog is getting is exciting, but then, the local beauty-queen mayoral candidate Lydia Brookhurst makes it her mission to hunt down “Pom” and expose it all in the name of “morality.” What is the price Phoebe will have to pay when all is said and done?

This book was such an interesting intersection between teenage sexuality, small town politics, and social media dynamics. I thought the author handled the subject material very well. For the amount of sex mentioned in the book, it was surprisingly clean when it came to the teenage characters' actual sexual experiences. Phoebe’s secret sex education blog is frank, clinical, and research-based, which serves as a perfect juxtaposition to the underhanded actions of the mayoral candidate, Lydia Brookhurst. The language is quite graphic, but regardless, I honestly loved this book. I loved how Phoebe’s friends and family supported her throughout her interactions with Brookhurst. I thought the discussions about morality, censorship, and local politics were timely and essential. I loved that the book made me laugh out loud and also feel so deeply for this character and her story.

Kiera, #BookswithBeddes


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