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Review of "One Hot Second"

By Cathy Young (Editor)
Random House (Juvenile), 2002
Review by Jodi Forschmiedt on Jul 2nd 2003
One Hot Second

In spite of the suggestive title, and the lurid cover illustration of a woman's lips seductively parted with tongue peeking out, One Hot Second is not a volume of erotica.  Once I got over that surprise, I quite enjoyed the book.  One Hot Second contains a collection of stories by well-known authors of books for young adults.  Each story explores adolescent desire and the awkward, confused nature of budding sexuality.  Ranging from contemplative to dripping-with-anguish, each piece speaks to and for teenagers. 

Editor Cathy Young chose an eclectic and inclusive batch of 11 stories.  The County Fair, by Victor Martinez, relates the humiliation of a young man from a family of farm workers when the girl of his dreams uses him to meet with her forbidden older boyfriend.  In Loving Megan, by Nancy Garden, a high school girl moons over a beautiful senior.  She gradually becomes aware of the nature of her sexual inclinations and finally finds true love in her best friend.  A boy plays soccer and "messes around a bit" with a teammate in Team Men, by Emma Donoghue.  Their relationship ends as adulthood approaches and each must make a decision about his future.  In Someone Bold, by Sarah Dessen, a young woman observes children mistreating the little girl she baby-sits.  Remembering her own childhood torments, she takes steps to grow a spine, dump her cheating boyfriend, and take charge of her life.  In each episode the protagonist learns a lesson. None of them are painless.

One Hot Second contains no explicit sex, and would be an appropriate reading choice for ages 14 and up.  Teens will revel in the expressions of classic angst and the simple truths in these sympathetic tales.


(c) 2003 Jodi Forschmiedt       


Jodi Forschmiedt reads, writes, and teaches in Seattle, Washington.

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