Rainbow Party -- Paul Ruditis
People are weenies. They've complained about the graphic passages and about the profanity in it. Okay, first, the profanity: I think that the F-bomb was used twice in almost 250 pages. I knew kids in high school that couldn't get through two sentences without saying it at least six times. People talk like that. Get over it.
As for graphic sex... it's mostly all talk. The kids do a lot of talking and thinking about sex--and, really, how many teenagers don't?--but there isn't a lot of actual sex (oral or otherwise) in the book. What little there was was almost all off-camera.
Do I really need to explain the plot? It's been in the news so much that I feel like everyone has already heard about it. Just in case, though:
Gin, an extremely promiscuous high school sophomore, has planned and invited some classmates to a "Rainbow Party". She got the idea from a Dr. Phil-esque show (which I thought was a nice touch, actually). The plan is this: equal amounts of girls and boys show up to her house after school. The girls each put on different colors of lipstick (she's planning on wearing "Harlot" red) and by the end of the afternoon, the boys all have rainbows ringing a certain part of their anatomy.
Not very surprisingly, the party never happens--if it did, there'd probably be a whole lot more uproar about the book than there has been. Of course, lack of uproar might have something to do with the fact that many bookstores are only selling it online.
But back to whether the book was actually any good or not.
It isn't a great book--I don't know if I'd even go so far as call it good. I'd put it on par with Rainbow Boys--fun in parts, but the message totally outweighs the story. Rainbow Boys works better because there are only three main characters--to some extent, the reader ends up caring about them. In Rainbow Party, there are thirteen main characters. Thirteen. Slightly excessive. I never really cared about any of them--they are, for the most part--pretty two-dimensional. (Except Jade. I kind of liked her. But that might have just been because she wanted to buy Fiestaware for her sister's (shotgun) wedding present. Actually, I really liked the sex-ed teacher, too. Even if she was pretty unrealistic. But what do I know? My sex-ed teacher was fired for drinking on the job).
People are all worried that this book is going to make kids go out and have sex.
Okay, guess what. It isn't. Kids are going to have sex anyway, regardless of whether or not they're sheltered from Big Bad Books about it. They least adults can do is attempt to make sure that they're being smart about it. There's a really strong (repeatedly bonk you over the head with a frying pan strong) safe-sex message in it: yes, Virginia, you CAN get STDs from oral sex. (There's also a pro-reciprocation message in there, but that's neither here nor there). I guess that what it comes down to is whether or not you're thinking realistically or not.