Sex Kittens and Horn Dawgs Fall in Love -- Maryrose Wood

This book is adorable.  ADORABLE.

I’m horrified that someone would attempt to ban it.  HORRIFIED.

I realize that it’s not unusual in these cases for the wannabe banner to have NOT even READ the book, but in this case, it’s just so obvious that the person read the title, feared it, flipped to the first page, saw the word “ass” in the first chapter heading, and went from there.  (The chapter titles, by the way, are a riot.  I especially liked “French Toast!  For Breakfast!  Everything’s Peachy in Lauraville!”.)

I, being a reader, actually READ the WHOLE book. You can count the profanities on one hand, and that’s including the word “pissed”.  There are a couple of references to drugs, but the characters who make the references are kids who were previously "troubled" and who have turned their lives around – that should be a viewed as a positive message by any overprotective adult, yes?  Then again, maybe I’m giving the challengers too much credit.

But profanity and minor drug references, I suspect, aren’t what the person was objecting to – the challenger would have had to read the whole book to find them anyway, which s/he obviously didn’t – my guess is that the person was worried that there would be IT in it.  IT.  You know, sex.

There’s not.  None.  Nada.  Zilch.  The characters don’t even TALK about sex.  They talk about having crushes.  About who likes who.  About the nature of love and why we love the people we love.  It’s probably the cleanest and most innocent YA book I’ve read all year.Sex Kittens and Horn Dawgs Fall in Love

Our heroine, 14-year old poet Felicia, has had a crush on the scientific-minded Matthew for months:

Love makes people nervous wrecks
You often see them cryin’.
Their love connection disconnects,
And not for lack of tryin’.
It’s like there is some evil hex
That turns true love to lyin’.
If only we could all ooze X,
Just like Meg Ryan.

After consulting a novelty tarot deck (The Tarot of Hollywood Stars) at her mother’s alternative bookstore, she decides to change her plan of attack.  She comes clean to him, tells him about her crush, and suggests that they team up and do a science fair project together: A Search for the Elusive Factor X.

Fans of Georgia Nicholson will appreciate Felicia’s creative and original slang, though she is much less snarky and negative.  The characters (major and minor) are smart and likable and fun.  They are all very motivated within their respective interests: Felicia (poetry), Matthew (breeder of genius rabbits), Kat (violin), Jacob (sitar), Jess (EVERYTHING, and with lots of ENTHUSIASM and capital letters -- she seems to have rubbed off on me), Randall (martial arts).  They attend a super-alterna-hippie school, but unlike the beastly pretentious characters in Blue Bloods, no one even MENTIONS David Foster Wallace. There are, however, references to Medea and Edwin Booth as well as an explanation of the scientific method and many, many donut-fueled math study sessions.