September 25, 2006

It Was Banned, Baby: Sex Kittens & Horn Dawgs

Felicia and her best friends are students at The Manhattan Free Children's School. It's not your typical school. First, there's no pressure. You're just free to figure out stuff, on your own. You can climb the fence to Gramercy Park (or use your pass, if you're actually supposed to be there) or come up with a project, or do all of your math, once a week, with your math tutor -- while eating Krispy Kremes. The Sex Kittens, Felicia's 'posse' of girlfriends, came up with that name from a deck of adorable kitten tarot cards (insert head scratching here) that Felicia found in her mother's bookstore. The males of interest at their school they have dubbed The Horn Dawgs. New York City is a very cool place, if you happen to be a Sex Kitten or a Horn Dawg at "The Pound" (aka, the Free Children's School). It can also be a kind of confusing place, particularly if you can't stop writing love poetry about your current crush.

Okay, so there's a crush. But lest you think that these Kittens have nothing do to at The Pound all day but be silly and dream of Dawgs, one of Felicia's buddies is a world-class violinist, while the other tutors disadvantaged girls at another high school. And Felicia? She's the poet. Um, mostly. Right now, she's a poet in a rut.

Felicia is in heavy, huge "like" with a Dawg named Matthew, who pays her basically no attention whatsoever. And she can't shake it -- she likes him, but he doesn't like her. She obsesses over him, and he doesn't notice her. She goes off on ten minute day dreams about him, and by the time she wakes up, he's miles away. What does that?! What makes some people SO attractive, and others not? Matthew's a scientist, and Felicia's brilliant and hysterical plan is to become one too. They set out to find Factor X: What is love?

This is a really intelligent novel, and takes the chance that girl's will be interested enough in the fact of love to get down to the science of what makes it tick. And despite the title, it's not so much about sex! It's about SCIENCE... and life. In trying to find X, that elusive thing that causes attraction and love, the scientific method is rigorously followed. Sometimes mixing science with love works... and sometimes it blows back in Felicia's face like a chemical reaction gone horribly wrong Before it's all over, she's gotten confused -- Matthew's gotten confused -- and all the Sex Kittens end up with ... black eyes. The drama! The scandal! You know you want to read it!

This book was challenged by school districts whose board members hadn't read it, and objected to it based only on its title. Don't judge a book by its cover, its title, or its author! Read Sex Kittens & Horn Dawgs Fall in Love, and enjoy a smart book about a savvy girl who does a lot of self-examination, listens to her mother (sometimes!), and is word-addicted, funny, and fun.

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