Jailbait by Leslea Newman

Standard

Newman, Leslea. Jailbait. Delacorte, 2006. ISBN 978-0385734059 256 pp. $17.95

***

In her desperate need to matter to someone, a naive loner is sucked into an inappropriate relationship with a strange older man who abuses her sexually and verbally. Andi, a stereotypical overweight and unpopular tenth grader, nurtures a relationship with a moody adult stranger who offers her a ride home one day. As their relationship progresses, Frank manipulates her into posing for cheesecake photos, losing her virginity and performing sexual acts on him.

This squirm-inducing tale is not sexy or gratuitous, but the content is certainly provocative. Middle class-suburbia offers no protection from pedophiles; the book drives home the reality that an estimated one in three girls are sexually abused before the age of 16. The tragic events of the story are a good jumping off point for a discussion about respect and self-esteem.

Set purposefully in 1971, slang, music and cultural details do flesh out the story, but it’s unclear why the author chose this particular time for the setting of the story. The clever cover of a teen’s face with a censor mark across the eyes indicate the mature content, the “it-could-happen-to any-girl” possibility, and the utter blindness of a young women who mistakes attention for love.

Review by Beth Gallaway, originally posted at http://hiplibrariansbookblog.blog-city.com

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s