cover image Let’s Talk About It: The Teen’s Guide to Sex, Relationships, and Being a Human

Let’s Talk About It: The Teen’s Guide to Sex, Relationships, and Being a Human

Erika Moen and Matthew Nolan. Random House Graphic, $23.99 (240p) ISBN 978-1-984893-14-7

Moen and Nolan (Oh Joy Sex Toy, a collected volume of their webcomic, for adults) apply their signature corny humor and straightforward handling of sex to this accessible guide that covers the “in-between stages” of intimacy, “from having a crush to... putting a condom on something.” In bite-size sections that each begin with a question (“What is... aftercare?”), teen characters engage in meaningful and nuanced dialogues about aspects of identity and physicality (e.g., body image, gender and sexuality, kinks, and safe sex). Via realistic scenes and conversational dialogue balloons, characters create a blueprint for exploring their own vulnerability (“I haven’t done anything before? At all??”) and supporting others’ (“I’m really glad you told me”). Responsibly representing a wide array of anatomically diverse “generally estrogen-rich” and “generally testosterone-rich” bodies, this guide’s pale-hued art also showcases variations in ability, body shape, ethnicity, gender identity and expression, and pairings, creating a refreshingly inclusive read that takes individual desires and needs into account. Though some text-packed pages can be difficult to digest, they nevertheless provide vital information, embracing the complexity of relationships (“We’re all constantly learning and growing”) and offering comprehensive, no-nonsense information on sex and sexuality. Useful back matter suggests further reading and resources. Ages 14–up. Agent: Monika Verma, Levine Greenberg Rostan Literary. (Mar.)