The Sweetest Thing You Can Sing by C.K. Kelly Martin
Publication date: September 1st 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Losing weight over the summer gains Serena some popularity, but it also means discovering first-hand the pains of being a fifteen-year-old girl in a world that both sexualizes and shames young women. After narrowly avoiding exploitation in a shortlived relationship, Serena aligns with a new friend who was the victim of an explicit image that was shared at school. When Serena finds herself in a relationship with a new guy, she is surprised to find a different set of expectations. But have her previous experiences damaged her too much to make it work? As Serena struggles to find who she is as opposed to who she is expected to be, she begins sighting Devin – her older brother who disappeared months earlier.
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For the Love of Judy Blume
I can still remember the day, thirty-five years ago, that my aunt Marie took my younger brother and me into downtown Toronto on the subway. I’d be lying if I said I remembered most of the details about that day, but what I do clearly remember is that my aunt bought us each a book of our choice at bookseller W.H. Smith in the Eaton Centre. I was in fifth grade at the time and chose Are You There God It’s Me, Margaret? It was my first Judy Blume book but not my last and wow, was it an eye-opener. It felt as though Judy Blume knew secrets about me and my future that I was only beginning to become aware of—that I was going to develop breasts, start getting periods, and possibly develop an interest in boys! I was even like main character Margaret in that we both weren’t firmly attached to any religion (I went to Catholic school but was an agnostic by age eight).
So enamored was I with the adolescent truths discussed in Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret (I’d never read a book that talked about these matters so frankly) that when my aunt Marie took us on another downtown trip roughly a year later the book I picked out was Then Again Maybe I Won’t, also by Judy Blume. Essentially it approaches male adolescence the same way Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret approached female adolescence, dealing with things like wet dreams and interest in the opposite sex with startling honesty.
No other books prepared me for the early adolescent years quite the way these two did, just as nothing prepared me for my parent’s eventual divorce like Judy Blume’s It’s Not the End of The World did, or sexual relationships like teen love story Forever did. Although I wouldn’t realize I wanted to be a young adult author for many years after I first read her books, Judy Blume is the writer who first taught me what it meant to tell the truth about being a young person. I will forever be grateful for that.
C.K. KELLY MARTIN’s bestselling debut novel, I Know It’s Over, was published in 2008. It was followed by One Lonely Degree, The Lighter Side of Life and Death, My Beating Teenage Heart and the sci-fi thriller, Yesterday. A graduate of the Film Studies program at York University, Martin loves good books, movies, music, web design, and Ireland. She currently resides in Oakville, Ontario.