Camryn Garrett’s Favorite Sex-Positive YA Books

Camryn Garrett’s Favorite Sex-Positive YA Books

sex-positive YA

Camryn Garrett’s debut novel Full Disclosure is one of our fall must-reads. Full Disclosure introduces readers to Simone Garcia-Hampton, an HIV-positive teen who’s contemplating how to disclose her status to her new boyfriend when she begins to receive anonymous notes from someone who claims to know her secret. To celebrate the release of Full Disclosure, Garrett put together a list of her favorite sex-positive YA books!

The Revolution of Birdie Randolph by Brandy Colbert

Not only does this book do an excellent job of exploring the interior life of a young Black girl (as all of Brandy Colbert’s books do), but it’s very sex positive. The main character, Birdie, wants to have sex with her boyfriend, Booker, so they have discussions about it together. Booker never pressures her and Birdie is able to express her desire to an adult in her life, her aunt, and get advice. Booker and Birdie actually have sex on the page, and when they do, it’s tender and lovely. Along with Booker and Birdie’s relationship, I also loved the fact that almost everyone in this book is queer: Birdie’s aunt, her best friend, and even an ex-boyfriend. As a result, there are organic discussions of queer sex and asexuality. It’s beautiful.

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

Gentleman’s Guide is one of my all-time favorite books because of how much I love the romance between Henry “Monty” Montague and his best friend Percy. But another one of the things I love about this book is the fact that it mentions sex so openly. Monty talks about waking up in bed with men and women all the time and is known for all the dalliances he’s had with men. We also get to see this sexuality on the page, between Percy and Monty themselves, and it’s wonderfully handled. It’s steamy and sweet in the absolute best way.

You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone by Rachel Lynn Solomon

This book is bittersweet and beautiful and brilliant. It’s about 18-year-old twins, Adina and Tovah, who must take a genetic test for Huntington’s disease, which slowly steals control of the body and mind. When one twin tests positive, both of their lives change. Although the content is heavy, there are light moments throughout, one of them being Adina’s romance with her 25-year-old viola teacher. Adina knows what she wants and is initially the one to pursue him, but it’s completely consensual. I really appreciated the fact that Adina was more confident in herself when it came to sex, while Tovah was more unsure; it allows different types of teens to see themselves and recognize that there is no “right” way to feel about sex.

Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit by Jaye Robin Brown

I recommend Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit to everyone. It’s an amazing book and one of the first I read about lesbian girls where they have sexual desires for other girls. I had read books where girls have crushes on other girls, but it never went as far as having sexy thoughts. I loved the way Jaye Robin Brown presented those thoughts and feelings as normal here. There are also some on-page sex scenes (or very close to them) between the main character, Jo, and her love interest. Though I’ve read more lesbian fiction since first picking this up, Georgia Peaches always stands out in my mind as being one of the most authentic, sexy, and exciting depictions of lesbian sexuality I’ve ever seen.

When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore

This book is gorgeous. I don’t have any other words to describe it. The prose, story, and characters are all incredibly beautiful. When the Moon Was Ours tells the story of outcasts Miel and Sam. Everyone in town thinks they’re strange because no one knows anything about what Sam’s life was like before he moved there and roses grow out of Miel’s wrist. Miel is a cis girl and Sam is a trans boy. Their on-page sex is handled excellently. The way it reads is fluid, like water. I’m so glad it exists.

Camryn Garrett grew up in New York and began her writing career at thirteen, when she was selected as a TIME for Kids reporter, interviewing celebrities like Warren Buffett and Kristen Bell. Since then, her writing has appeared on MTV and in the Huffington Post and Rookie magazine, and she was recently selected as one of Teen Vogue’s “21 Under 21: Girls Who Are Changing the World.” When she’s not writing, she studies film at NYU, and she’s a proud advocate for diverse stories and storytellers in any medium. Full Disclosure is her first novel.

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