In spite of the suggestive title, and the lurid
cover illustration of a woman's lips seductively parted with tongue peeking
out, One Hot Second is not a volume of erotica. Once I got over that surprise, I quite
enjoyed the book. One Hot Second
contains a collection of stories by well-known authors of books for young
adults. Each story explores adolescent
desire and the awkward, confused nature of budding sexuality. Ranging from contemplative to
dripping-with-anguish, each piece speaks to and for teenagers.
Editor Cathy Young chose an eclectic and inclusive
batch of 11 stories. The County Fair,
by Victor Martinez, relates the humiliation of a young man from a family of
farm workers when the girl of his dreams uses him to meet with her forbidden
older boyfriend. In Loving Megan,
by Nancy Garden, a high school girl moons over a beautiful senior. She gradually becomes aware of the nature of
her sexual inclinations and finally finds true love in her best friend. A boy plays soccer and "messes around a
bit" with a teammate in Team Men, by Emma Donoghue. Their relationship ends as adulthood
approaches and each must make a decision about his future. In Someone Bold, by Sarah Dessen, a
young woman observes children mistreating the little girl she baby-sits. Remembering her own childhood torments, she
takes steps to grow a spine, dump her cheating boyfriend, and take charge of
her life. In each episode the
protagonist learns a lesson. None of them are painless.
One Hot Second contains no explicit sex, and would be an
appropriate reading choice for ages 14 and up.
Teens will revel in the expressions of classic angst and the simple
truths in these sympathetic tales.
2003 Jodi Forschmiedt
Forschmiedt reads, writes, and teaches in Seattle, Washington.