Review Blog

Jul 17 2008

Screwed by Joanna Kenrick

cover image

Allen & Unwin, 2008.
(15+) The words 'Warning explicit content' on the back cover give a clue to the controversial contents of this absorbing novel. 14 year old Marsha and her friend Faith are having a competition about who can screw the most boys. For Marsha it is all casual, she believes that boys are only out for one thing and she doesn't want a relationship. But when Faith bets Marsha that she can't get Rich, a naive school mate, Marsha finds that it is possible to be friends with a boy.

This is a honest gritty book that comes to grips with underage promiscuity but never forgets the emotions and fears of the girls. The difficulties of friendships are explored when Beth, a new girl comes to school, as well as the jealousy and pain that occurs when Faith gets a boyfriend and leaves her friend behind. The lack of communication and poor relationship Marsha has with her father is vividly depicted. The developing friendship that Marsha has with shy Rich is a welcome contrast to the casual encounters that she has previously had. Within the context of the story the author gives some solid information about sexually transmitted diseases in a non preaching way and offers some helpful sex education for those who may not get it from home. She also explores the effects of single families, peer pressure and poor self esteem.

The author has honestly examined in a gripping story a topic that most adults, especially parents of teenagers, won't want to think about. One of the reviews on the first page of the book was from a 14 year old who said she would definitely recommend the book, 'just don't let your dad read it!'
Pat Pledger

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