- Author: Joya Goffney
- 2nd Book
- Genre: YA Contemporary
- IGfirstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter-@joya_goffney; www.joyagoffney.com
- Release Date: 5/3/2022 (out NAOW!)
- Publisher: HarperTeen (Imprint of HarperCollins)/EpicReads
- Favorite Character-Reggie w/ Sasha & Monique (Mo) as a close second & third! Reggie is HYSTERICAL! He had me cracking up so much throughout the book. When you add in Sasha and Mo the scene, then you’ve got the trifecta of Black Teen Comedy.
- Favorite Quote(s)-There are so many but here is a little banter I loved between Reggie & Monique: “I was young and dumb.” (Reggie) “That was ten minutes ago.” (Monique) “Yeah, but my growth is exponential. You know, most people’s growth is linear, but I grow more and more each day, each second.” (Reggie) When I tell you all that I fell out reading that had me ROLLING… There are so many other quotes I wanted to share but I really want y’all to read this book! Even hearing it again on audiobook cracked me up!
*Before I get into this post, I will say that this will be a very sex positive post, if that makes you uncomfortable, you may not be ready for this book, let alone this post…I do invite you to examine why that would possibly make you uncomfortable though. If I edit myself then I won’t be doing Confessions Of An Alleged Good Girl any justice & I’m not okay with that AT.ALL. I hope that if you do find discomfort that you would decide to pick up this book to work through that as the main character Mo does. With that said-CW Mentions: Sex, masturbation, porn, erotica, adult toy store*
*Cracks knuckles* Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way! If you haven’t read my post about Joya’s first book, Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry, then you should read that post if you want to understand just how much of a stan I became of hers, how I am coming at this post and how it will be from here on out… I knew she was working on a second book, I knew I was excited about it and I knew that I didn’t need to know the premise to know that I would love this book. Joya let me know that I could trust her with EMWIUC! With this book, Joya cemented her autobuy author status with me… If that doesn’t tell you enough, I pre-ordered the audiobook all because I wanted to relive this book in a different medium and I started listening to it. As I started writing this, I was 8 chapters in but as I edit, I’m 18 chapters in…I had to pause though cause I can’t write and listen to others talking *shrugs* but I am enjoying it thus far…y’all, I DON’T REREAD BOOKS! This is the 2nd time (the first was a series that was rebound into a single book) and I’m just as into it this time as I was reading the ARC, this is also my first YA audiobook I’m listening to! *Shocked Face*!
When I saw the title, I thought “WHOA, this feels like something I would’ve related to as a teen” and then the cover really turned me into a human heart emoji. As it turns out, my teen self & even my adult self, heavily related to Mo and the struggles she went through. As I read, I really sat with what my beliefs around sex was growing up and how that’s changed as I’ve grown older. I also took quite the stroll down memory lane while reading, so many good memories and even not so good ones but most of the memories had me cracking up! I’m going to be telling a lot about myself here and you know what, I’m okay with this (especially since my parents can’t do anything to me now, it’s a win, lol). If I read this book as a teen, I think I would’ve seen myself, sex and sexuality so differently.
*Quick reminder, I’m a very grown woman.*
As a teen, I was wrapped so heavily in what it is to be a “good girl”, how to maintain that status in a way and how to remain curious about sex without others finding out about that side of me…though I definitely partied, drank, bartended unsupervised parties and did so much of dirty dancing that the movie had nathan on me folx (especially since that was the closest to sex EYE was getting to it without having it), which could’ve imploded on my reputation” had I not had the friend group I did that kept our “hangouts” safe spaces. I was lucky to have what Mo didn’t have before she found Sasha & Reggie, to be honest. So much of Mo’s identity was wrapped up in the “Church Girl”/”Good Girl” that impacted her mentally and physically but if I’m being real, emotionally too. The thoughts and opinions of others manifested such a fear in her that just being an ordinary teen didn’t feel accessible to her, which is likely not foreign to teens now.
What I realized (one of the gifts of this book is that it makes you think) is that it IS healthy to be curious about sex and one’s body, which one of the characters points out eventually. What ISN’T healthy is the pressure that is placed on people to engage in sex before they are ready. Let me be clear, this is NOT exclusive to any gender or sexuality. Even when the person believes themselves ready, that it is important that they are doing it FOR THEM and are comfortable with the decision & the partner of their choice. Another thing is that there is no shame in getting to know one’s body and what actually feels right to them, so exploring via masturbation isn’t wrong; they’d be ahead of the curve. Yet another thing is the fact that NO ONE, ABSOLUTELY NO ONE, is entitled to their body (another very important message in this book). If adults stop shaming teens about masturbation and PROPER sex education, things would be WAYYYYYY different. I’mma pause this thought here but We will come back to this.
I remember as a teen doing A LOT of research about sex (like I said, I was curious and was very much so a nerd, still am a nerd) and was more than happy to get my hands on anything about the subject matter. So when Zane’s Nervous was mentioned in this book, I quite literally HOLLERED then tweeted about this because Zane was one of my favorite authors because there was gratuitous sex in her books (and centered BLACK PEOPLE)…I read like ALL of her books because it was another introduction to sex without actually doing it myself. I loved how Sasha (who Mo quickly changes her tune about) introduces this book to Mo and even gives a little synopsis about Nervous, that gave me my entire life! That was a scene that I never knew I needed but have always wanted in a book! The fact that Reggie (another character who Mo sees differently after some time) calls Zane’s books “porn” is the most incorrect correct statement I’ve ever read in my life (she writes Black Erotica, FYI)! In case you were wondering, Addicted was my other favorite outside of Nervous and Addicted was adapted into a movie (which upset me because it wasn’t accurate to the book but ya know, Hollywood). A fun fact about me, I met Zane before she ever showed her face (after I was of age) and I think we both had questions about the other, lol!
There was another blast to my teenage past in this book involving a adult toy store…even as I type this, I’m cracking up (I tweeted about this too). I’m not going to give away this part of this book but I will share a bit of my story which is that when the youngest of my friend group finally turned 18, our group took a field trip to one (I wouldn’t be surprised if it was still there) that was behind a smoke shop to celebrate. It was equal parts fascinating and nerve-wrecking (there were guys there too) especially because I was still very much so a virgin who was going from just reading Zane books on the low & reading things on the internets on occasion (on DIAL UP at that) to being in a actual sex shop, it was wild! Several of us purchased things (yes, including me) but did not talk about it. I hid my purchase(s) from those I knew would have something to say cause people talk as Mo often worried about throughout the book. Needless to say, I had a blast that day, just as Mo had in the book!
Unlike Mo, I didn’t grow up a PK (Preacher’s Kid) and thus didn’t have the same exposure to church as she did but religion DEFINITELY played a part in how I viewed (past tense) sex. With regards to how my family did or didn’t speak about it, the message was sex was definitely deemed as shameful outside of marriage. Mo received the same messages of sex being wrong and sinful outside of marriage rather than given a healthier outlook on it. There is this almost universal belief that if kids aren’t taught about it, aren’t given the correct tools and have abstinence pushed on them then they wouldn’t do it (I heard a mom admit not to teaching her daughter about this on Unexpected) but what ends up happening is ignorance around their bodies, sex still happens with various outcomes in some cases and/or a medical condition (as Mo discovers she has, that’s not a spoiler). I honestly don’t recall receiving sex education in school (as stated earlier, I did my own research) and my parents just DID NOT talk about sex because instead of being a PK, I’m a child of 2 immigrants from Caribbean countries (that says a lot for those who know)!
On the real, there needs to be a shift in adults approach to speaking about body awareness, sex and masturbation with teens as it would change so very much. Seriously, adults reading this, think about if the adults you trusted as a teen came up to you and said “It’s okay to be curious about your body. Its okay to learn your body. It’s okay to masturbate. It’s okay to be curious about sex but you need to learn about it and be safe & take ALL the necessary precautions.” like HOW different you & so many of us would’ve approached sex. They didn’t have to give you a gaggle of sex toys & porn or even have embarrassingly detailed conversations that would make a biology teacher blush but that would open the door to a healthier view & knowledge of our bodies and sex. If adults don’t have the ability to talk about it, then we can at least put books like COAAGG in their hands to say all the things we’re unable to.
Mo went through so much because she didn’t have the right type of education or support system… Her not feeling safe or confident in speaking to the adults around her is a real problem & it made me hurt for her. It also made me appreciate the role that Sasha and Reggie come to play in this book in supporting & nurturing her relationship to herself, mind, body and Spirit. I’m a huge fan of a small friend group because those seem to be the most magical, in my opinion. Also, the three of them are like comedy gold! I truly, truly, TRULY enjoyed them and their chemistry on the page. Mo, Sasha and Reggie are one of my favorite trio’s ever now!
Whoa, I wrote SO MUCH and its not even everything I want to because this post as gotten so long! I didn’t expect to do so but this book brought so much out of me from both my teenage-hood to even now and I believe that this book is important to the YA cannon. It’s important for teens to be given this information in a way that they can relate to and see themselves in…to know that they aren’t the only ones who has ever had XYZ thoughts despite adults playing in their faces as if they didn’t have them too as teens (you learn this about an adult in Mo’s life). This was one of my absolute favorite reads of this year and definitely top 5 of all the books I’ve read so to say that I would highly recommend this book is a severe understatement!
Anyways, go run to your local library or favorite bookstore to get this book because it is 1000% worth your time! I hope I’ve convinced you of that along with the importance of healthy conversation about sex with teens (and really with other adults too, if I’m being honest, which I am)! If you’ve read the book & want to chat or if you have non-spoiler questions to ask, come find me out in these e-streets on Instagram @bookishgirlmagic, Twitter @bookishgrlmagic and Clubhouse @bookishgrlmagic where you can find me mostly in book centered clubs/rooms (primarily on Tuesdays and Fridays). Also please subscribe to this blog if you haven’t already because it makes me feel like I’ve had a pleasant stroll down memory lane with a book! Until the next post, I’m sending y’all bookish love & wishing you happy reading!