Losing It by Keith Gray

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Losing It by Keith Gray

Category: Teens
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: Short stories about virginity by some of our leading writers for teens. Disparate, thoughtful, sweet and funny - they add a great deal to the conversation about teen sex that we all have, most importantly the teens themselves.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 256 Date: July 2010
Publisher: Andersen Press
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 1849390991

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Doing it for the first time... you know, Losing It. It.

Sex. They talk about it a lot, teenagers. And eventually, they do it. But when is the right time? Where is the right place? Who is the right person? Is everyone else doing it already? Will they be cheap if they do it too? Or will they be left behind on the peripheries of all that's important in life? And there's so much eagerness in teenagers - not just for sex, but for everything. They sure do hate to wait. But sometimes, it's better to wait. The trick for the poor things, I suppose, is knowing when exactly to stop waiting. And when you've never done it, how on earth can you possibly know that?!

Stepping into the breach come eight of my favourite writers in today's teen market, each with a story about virginity.

If forced to choose a favourite, I'd go for Different for Boys by Patrick Ness, which he spends happily breaking the fourth wall and blacking out all the rudest bits. They will absolutely love these cheeky little devices. It's about being gay, and being at school, and finding comfort where you can. It manages a heartstopping sweetness even though it involves a punch-up, and it takes a very different view on how exactly you define virginity. I cried!

But they're all good, and the whole is good too, because it's so disparate. Keith Gray is droll, writing about Jase's unenviable choice: could an evening spent all alone with a gorgeous girlfriend really scupper his chances of scoring in the cup final? Ha! Jenny Valentine looks at the special relationship between the young and old and shows how grandparents can sometimes get through to errant teenagers far better than their parents ever could. Especially when they say rude things at the table! Melvin Burgess just nails it, as usual. Mary Hooper takes us back to the horrors of being destitute in Victorian times. Sophie McKenzie has Katya pulling back at the last moment, much to Sam's chagrin. And Bali Rai shows us some very different cultural attitudes in a very sad story.

Anne Fine's teacher demonstrates the putting on of condoms using a banana - they didn't do that in my day, more's the pity - while summing us up rather well:

The banana played its part nicely enough. And Miguel-Angel claims that when he finally falls in love it's going to be forever... I hope Miguel-Angel is right. Because, if you want my opinion, losing it couldn't be less important. I am serious. It's finding it that matters. That's what counts.

Hear hear to that, say I.

My thanks to the good people at Andersen Press for sending the book.

Virginity is also an issue in King Dork by Frank Portman, My Side Of The Story by Will Davis, Submarine by Joe Dunthorne and Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr.

Booklists.jpg Losing It by Keith Gray is in the Bookbag's Christmas Gift Recommendations 2010.
Buy Losing It by Keith Gray at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Losing It by Keith Gray at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Losing It by Keith Gray at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Losing It by Keith Gray at Amazon.com.


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