A teen who's never even been kissed becomes her school's unofficial sex expert in Olivia Hinebaugh's fun, voice-y contemporary YA romance debut., The Birds, the Bees, and You and Me.
Seventeen-year-old Lacey Burke feels like the last person on the planet who should be doling out sex advice. For starters, she’s never even kissed anyone, and she hates breaking the rules. Up until now, she's been a straight-A music geek that no one even notices. All she cares about is jamming out with her best friends, Theo and Evita.
But then everything changes.
When Lacey sees first-hand how much damage the abstinence-only sex-ed curriculum of her school can do, she decides to take a stand and starts doling out wisdom and contraception to anyone who seeks her out in the girls' restroom. Meanwhile, things with Theo have become complicated, and soon Lacey is not just keeping everyone else’s secrets, but her own as well.
|Publisher:||Feiwel & Friends|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.20(d)|
|Age Range:||13 - 18 Years|
About the Author
When Olivia Hinebaugh isn’t writing fiction, she can be found writing freelance, making art, discovering new songs on Spotify, texting her writing buddies, or folding laundry. She lives near Washington, D.C. with her spouse, three kids, a dog that looks like a coyote, and a one-eyed cat. The Birds, the Bees, and You and Me is her debut novel.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Lacey Burke is a self professed musical geek, want to be composer, and walking sex ed factoid. Brought up by a mother who was pregnant at 16, Lacey has been given educational safe sex tips by her now nurse mother, since she achieved “that” age. Now, due to her frustration with the abstinence based sex education at her high school this virgin is giving safe sex tutorials in the rest room at lunch. All she wants to do is play music with her band and maybe get her first kiss out of the way! I really enjoyed the contradiction between virginal and slightly naive Lacey with the girl who can spout facts about condom usage and how-to instructional’s. I can honestly say I learned something useful while reading this YA novel, all while enjoying a tale about a girl who has a crush on one of her best friends! The Birds, The Bees, and You and Me was a different kind of YA novel. Full of safe sex conversations, but also eye opening about how clueless this fictional school system was in how to speak to the teens of today. I loved Lacey. She was a great main character surrounded by zany friends who were sexually active and different. She has two best friends, both of whom have hooked up with each other, but still remain best friends. Evita identifies on the ace spectrum and is President of their high school LGBTQIA group. Theo is their third, definitely hetero, and has a girlfriend that neither Evita or Lacey like. He’s an all around nice guy, but there are moments when he deserves a swift kick! When Lacey’s feelings for Theo change, the book also introduces Lacey’s own sexuality into the mix. For a girl who had never kissed a boy until Theo, she was very well informed and prepared. I love stories where an underdog gets to fight for her beliefs and gets the chance to turn the tide towards something good and right. This novel pits Lacey and her friends against an aged school curriculum and at the same teaches young adults about safe sex, without it being a tutorial. I thought the author did a good job at avoiding a massive dump of information, and instead allowed Lacey’s advice to speak for itself. The author also did a good job of introducing a diverse cast and making their interactions relatable and real. It seemed especially applicable to the world we live in today and I can only think this novel would have a broad appeal because of it. I’m kind of surprised I haven’t heard more mentions about this one? Hopefully, if it has been on your radar, my mention will push it to the top of your list!
4.5 out of 5 stars! Fiercely feminist main character -- check, viola player -- check, ace BFF -- check! My daughter is a fiercely feminist, viola playing, asexual teen, so really there was almost no chance I wasn't going to loveTHE BIRDS, THE BEES, AND YOU AND ME, but it still surprised me. I was surprised by how much I loved Lacey, Theo, and Evita. The complex relationships explored and the bonds of friendship stretched were incredibly realistic. The choices that the three of them face as high school seniors are typical, but no less intense because of that. When Lacey pushes back against her school's archaic and factually inaccurate abstinence-only program that attempts to shame teens into not having sex, things go hilariously wrong. Lacey and her friends appoint themselves the sexperts, even though Lacey has never had sex, herself. They offer advice in the bathroom and provide covert access to condoms, until they get caught and suspended. But Lacey's no wallflower and she fights the system with her mother's support. Plot This is really a story of standing up for what you believe in and the enduring bonds of friendship more than a romance. There is a romantic subplot involving Lacey and Theo, but Evita's past relationship with Theo, before she realized she was ace, only complicates this. How the three best friends navigate their life goals, their determination to bring comprehensive sex education to their peers, and balancing loyalty is what drives this story and that's where it really shines. The romantic elements serve more of a supporting role. The author doesn't let her characters off without facing the consequences of their actions, making it believable. She weaves humor throughout the story, creating a lighthearted tale that could easily have taken on a darker tone. The Characters This is really a character-driven story more than anything else, and the characters are utterly delightful. While this is Lacey's story, all three have their own arcs and grow over the course of the book. Lacey's knowledge of sex, without any firsthand experience, is a breath of fresh air. I wish more teen girls were this comfortable with the topic. Evita, as the leader of the trio, is fierce, funny, and loyal -- everything you want in a BFF. Theo is a delightful third, the only boy in their close-knit group, who lends a little testosterone to all the estrogen flying around. Top Five Things I Loved AboutTHE BIRDS, THE BEES, AND YOU AND ME 1. Representation. As the mother of an ace teen, I loved seeing such a strong ace character who was true to herself and didn't end up in a romantic relationship. 2. Comprehensive sex ed. Another topic near and dear to my heart handled, with a responsible, fact-based approach. 3. Music. A cello, a viola, and rock music. What's not to love? 4. Friendships. I love that the friendship is the primary focus over the romance. While romance plays a part, the enduring friendship is the glue holding everything together. 5. An honest portrayal of teen pregnancy. Nothing is sugar coated, but it's not presented as shameful either. Really well done. Bottom Line A book about friendship, personal responsibility, and the value of education, wrapped with humor and heart. Disclaimer I was provided with a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
The premise of The Birds, The Bees, and You and Me is sure to be highly intriguing to its intended young adult audience. While tackling the topics of safe sex and acceptance, author Hinebaugh provides young readers with an interesting coming of age story. The story follows Evita, Theo and Lacey through the trials and tribulations of their senior year of high school. The stress of college applications and upcoming (physical) separation of friends weighs heavily on the trio. Those normal stressors take a backseat to Lacey’s latest cause. Her progressive mother has taught her all about safe-sex practices, and Lacey cannot tolerate the idea of the school preaching abstinence only. The story of Evita, Theo and Lacey’s friendship is quite charming. The trio is a nice sampling of typical young adults. Their closeness and the various relationship issues felt organic even if some of the dialogue didn’t. The trio’s friendship, budding love interests and musical endeavors really made the story for me. Author Hinebaugh has created a nice story through which to explore the ideas of the sacristy of your body as well as your perspectives that is sure to be appreciated by young adult readers. I appreciated the fresh, healthy approach to the topic of teen sex. I was delighted by the open communication between the kids and their parents. However, I wasn’t thrilled with Lacey being the on-campus peer sex guru given that she has zero experience herself. The character’s zealousness felt self-righteous given her text-book informed point of view and lack of experience. I will say, that Lacey taking a stand, finding her voice, and doling out advice will probably be a hit with teen readers, and the story format is likely to be a great way to communicate all those safe-sex messages to the intended audience of The Birds, The Bees, and You and Me. Consequently, for me this might be a three-star read, but if I were still in high school, I would give this book 4+ stars.
This is everything we need in YA right now. I was blown away by the entirety of this novel. It felt so painfully real to me and it is a conversation we need to be having with teens. Sex shouldn't be something you're shamed for. We need to be handling the situation with respect. Most people are going to have sex in their lives. Even if it's not when they're in high school, we need to be setting them up for success. They need to learn about consent, birth control methods, and how to be having safe sex, preferably before they are having sex. We are trying to set them up for success in life and we need to be teaching them about their bodies, too. This is a health issue and we're really failing our youth by creating this stigma and shame around it. I was utterly delighted to see not one but two ace characters in this book. I absolutely loved the dialogue around Evita and the fact that she spoke frankly about her sexuality. Asexuality is a spectrum and people fall on different parts of it. A lot of people don't understand even the basic idea of being asexual, let alone the spectrum. I really loved how it was handled and how much respect it was given on the page. It was a learning experience for those who were unaware and a reaffirming experience for those of us who are asexual. Besides the issues of sex and teens not being respected about it, this novel also tackled friendship beautifully. How do you handle it when two of your best friends fall in love? Do you risk the careful balance of friendship for something more? I think YA doesn't explore friendships enough and I really loved to see the beautiful one that this one has. It's real and honest. It's not perfect and people screw up, but that's what a real friendship is. I also loved that our MC was struggling with her decisions in life. It's a really tough decision when choosing where to go to school or what to go to school for. There's a lot of expectations and people depending on you, from friends to your parents. This book shows that delicate balance and the difficulties with choosing your future. This was everything I've wanted and needed in a YA. It had beautiful relationships, utterly supportive parents, feminism, and sex positivity. I could list for days all of the things I loved about this book and I will be shoving this in everyone's hands when this book releases. *I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.*