Sunday, January 14, 2018

Our Own Private Universe - Robin Talley

Title: Our Own Private Universe
Author: Robin Talley
Rating: 2.5 stars

Fifteen-year-old Aki Simon has a theory. And it's mostly about sex.

No, it isn't that kind of theory. Aki already knows she's bisexual—even if, until now, it's mostly been in the hypothetical sense. Aki has dated only guys so far, and her best friend, Lori, is the only person who knows she likes girls, too.

Actually, Aki's theory is that she's got only one shot at living an interesting life—and that means she's got to stop sitting around and thinking so much. It's time for her to actually do something. Or at least try.

So when Aki and Lori set off on a church youth-group trip to a small Mexican town for the summer and Aki meets Christa—slightly older, far more experienced—it seems her theory is prime for the testing.

But it's not going to be easy. For one thing, how exactly do two girls have sex, anyway? And more important, how can you tell if you're in love? It's going to be a summer of testing theories—and the result may just be love.


Our Own Private Universe, by Robin Talley, is a novel revolving around a young bisexual girl (Aki), who is on a mission trip with her church and other churches to Mexico.  While there, Aki meets Christa, and they realize they are attracted to each other. 

Aki and Christa do a lot of sneaking around in the novel, making out with each other up in the hills away from their campsite, and basically wherever else they can. 

This book does a great job of discussing important issues - for example, Aki and her friends organize a debate to talk about important issues like same-sex marriage, healthcare for developing nations, war, etc.  I think it's also important that this book has bisexual representation in it.  Too often, people being bisexual is overlooked or brushed off - people often say that being bisexual is just an excuse for being gay, or that they are just experimenting.  That's not true - there are people who are genuinely bisexual and I love that this book shows that.

That being said, I didn't really care for this book that much.  The drama was just over the top - even for having teens as the main characters.  I don't know many teenagers who are that dramatic all the time.  Also, I was very concerned that there were so many kids on this mission trip who were getting drunk every night, and their chaperones didn't even know it.  I want to know what on earth those chaperones were doing if they weren't watching a bunch of teenagers to make sure they didn't get plowed all the time?! 

Another concern I had was about Aki and Christa having sex.  Now, don't get me wrong, I am all for older teens being able to make informed decisions about whether or not they are ready for sex.  But I believe they need to be properly educated - which could be done through age-appropriate comprehensive sex ed.  This book did do a decent job of showing Aki asking questions about stuff, but all those questions were asked to google and the internet.  Kids need people to talk to, actual people, when they have questions. Also, why wasn't Aki going to her parents to let them know she was curious about sex?!  I don't expect kids to give their parents all the dirty details, but when you're a minor, your parents should be included in the conversation - especially if you're sneaking off to get dental dams, and you don't even know how to use them.

All in all, I had more problems with this book than not.  If you love drama and weirdness, go ahead and read it, but otherwise, stay away.

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