This novel, while written in the 70s and at times dated, is a very true and real account of young love and young sex.
Katherine meets Michael at a friend's party and, at first, she ignores him but that's only because she doesn't realize that she really likes him. Given a second shot, the two hit it off. Before they know it, teenager hormones are taking over and they're considering becoming intimate. Katherine's body is ready before her mind and it takes her a time to fully accept where the relationship is going. After a few bumps in the road, such as her period on their first weekend alone together, she and Michael (and Ralph -the name of Michael's...well, you know) join together in what is definitely a clumsy first time. But that doesn't stop their love from increasing physically and making them inseparable. That is, of course, until their parents intervene and get the kids summer jobs in different states, which proposed the question of can young love survive long distance? Amidst all this love, Katherine's best friend, Erica forms a relationship with Michael's friend Artie, helping him discover whether or not he's gay and helping him deal with what seems like a bi-polar personality.
This book was very blunt and to the point. It didn't beat around the bush on the intimacy and the precautions that the characters took. That's one of the good things about it because it talks about condoms and takes the reader step-by-step through Katherine's appointment at Planned Parenthood for a Birth Control prescription. It was a healthy dose of reality. There's also the discussion of pregnancy when it happens to one of Katherine's friend. It suggests abortion, but, at the same time, discusses the other option of adoption. What I really liked about the book, though, was how real it seemed. They didn't just jump into the sack and do it the first night. There was the attraction, but there was also the hesitation as Katherine realized how serious this next step was. There was a nice emphasis on your mind being ready, as well as your body. They didn't take the subject lightly. At the same time, the romance wasn't perfect. The sex, especially the first time, was awkward and I'm sure that's true for many first-timers. But beyond the sex, the relationship wasn't perfect. It just goes to show that the concept of forever and teenagers might not be the real thing because they're still young the the world is so big. The only negative of the novel is that at times it came off a bit dated (but nothing to the point that it detracted from the story). I can really only pin-point three or four situations - teens now probably don't know the organization NOW, they called it VD instead of STD or STI, the hook rug craze and fondue aren't exactly on today teens' top ten, and I don't really think that teens go for long hair and long mustaches on guys. Just the same, though, none of those instances detract from the story, therefore making it very fitting for today's teens.
I can't think of a better way to say it, but this novel was very real and maybe even an eye-opener for some teens. I'm sure that many can relate and it brings up many points that teens need to consider when embarking on this portion of a relationship. This is definitely a book they should read.