Even good girls go bad sometimes, and thanks to Kodak, those bad times are sometimes immortalized in 5 x 7. In Good Girls by Laura Ruby, Audrey has one of these moments. The golden haired princess is photographed in an uncompromising position (too illicit to mention here) with the blonde, blue-eyed Ken of her high school, otherwise named Luke DeSalvio…get it DeSalvio? You know, someone that gets your mouth watering? Well, that’s the exact reaction he gets from Audrey anytime he’s around. Too bad Luke only pays attention to Audrey’s lips and body in dark corners, abandoned bedrooms, and the back of his mom’s green van.
The thing is, though, he really seems to be like an actual nice guy—he says all the right things and really knows how to make her heart flip. The problem is Luke barely evens says hello to her at school. I mean, the guy rubs her down with suntan lotion, steals her over with kisses under stars, and does the most intimate thing created by God with Audrey on an actual bed. So who can blame Audrey for being tired and upset over a love affair she wants public but Luke is determined to keep private? She wants Luke to want more, and she wants Luke to be left begging for more, so without much thought Audrey does what she knows she shouldn’t and afterwards breaks up him coldly and without explanation. Well, somehow someone snaps a photo of the x-rated event. The next morning the picture explodes all over the texting and e-mail world of high school, even making its way over to her father. Oh…the shame. I would have just died.
Now, don’t go thinking the novel is full of explicit description and language just because of Audrey’s predicament. Somehow the book manages to stay light in regards to the teenage sexual experience, but yet still provides a candid, honest look at the typical thoughts and behaviors of many teenage girls…It’s what parents don’t want to know, but what is definitely going on. And, Laura Ruby's narrative is right on when it comes to the female teen and the issues faced by many high school girls. I know because I work in a high school and hear about all this stuff, and guess what? I was a teen in the late 80’s, and even then not one girl was free from the pressure of teen sex and intimacy. What I see as a major change now, though, is that all this is starting at an earlier age. You’ve probably seen the statistics or read about them somewhere, and some of those figures include a growing number of middle school kids. Scary. And, I have a daughter. Lord, give me the strength to steer her in the right direction and to make good choices reflective of her faith and upbringing. I hope many mothers are praying the same thing because all you need is one boy to pay more attention to your daughter than you do at home…and that’s it.
A little bit more about Good Girls...Auderey goes from blonde to brunette, from innocent to not so innocent, from semi-boyfriend to ultra-embarrassment, from no-boyfriend to a potential mature relationship. Near the end of the book, there is a fairly strong push by a church pastor as to the benefits of sexual intimacy in the confines of marriage and also brings out the trend of some Christian teens to become born-again virgins. I don’t know how much of this Audrey buys into, but to some degree she does when she and her friends decide to go dressed as brides to the prom. Then at the end, she and Luke go backwards—the way they should have started. The good girl gone back goes back to good. That’s all I’m going to say.
Thanks, Laura, for a very engaging, honest read.