Hot

27 Aug

HotLaura L. Smith

Publisher: NavPress

Paperback: 166 pages

Book Blurb:

How far will she go to make him notice her?

Lindsey is gorgeous and dresses like a model, but inside she feels alone. She feels as though no one truly understands her—until she meets Noah. Noah possesses a calm self-confidence Lindsey craves. But what price will she pay to escape to the comfort of Noah’s soft words and strong arms?

Drawn into a world where fashion, boys, and popularity rule, will Lindsey discover what truly matters before it’s too late?

Stand alone or series: Stand alone, however one of the friends is the star of her own novel: Skinny.

Why I read this book: Many Christian fiction books I’ve read avoid the topic of sex or (when it comes to teen fiction I’ve read) the best friend has sex and gets pregnant, the friends fall out but make up after the girl has seen the light and repented. This book was obviously going to tackle the topic head on. I wanted to see how the author would handle such a difficult subject. And I must say I don’t agree with how she handled everything.

Review:

I found HOT hard to read, because on several occasions it got, well, hot. I thought reading about the struggles of sex would be easier if read through a Christian standpoint. Yeah. Not really.

Lindsey and her friends were characterized well. I could feel a sense of camaraderie as they squished around a table at school or in the mall and chatted to their hearts’ content. They worked well as a group and (most of them) also functioned well as individuals. Many had their own backgrounds and problems that enabled them and Lindsey to develop throughout the story.

Lindsey’s family plays a dynamic part in the story. Though parents and sibling weren’t developed as individual characters, the family dynamic was clear—the rebellious sister, the frazzled mother, the loving but absentee dad (because of work). Her family has a heavy influence on Lindsey’s decisions throughout the novel. Though I don’t think one needs to have family issues to make waiting for sex difficult.

I think Smith could’ve delved a little more into the “why we wait” topic. Through a youth group sermon she talks about waiting because God wants us to wait and how we could be burned if we misuse his gift. However she doesn’t often express reasons for waiting in a positive light. Sex is a beautiful gift within marriage, and only within marriage is it kept from the things that can tarnish and spoil it like guilt and shame. It should be celebrated, not something to hide. Couples who wait, statistically, have happier, healthier, lasting marriages.

The even bigger problem is that she doesn’t address ways safeguard our purity. And she barely addresses how hard it is to wait. I think these are the two topics that most need addressed when discussing sex and Christianity and waiting in the modern world. It’s incredibly important for girls who are waiting to know that they’re not alone with their struggles. And more importantly, to have dialogue about boundaries and about how to handle difficult situations, even if it’s in a fictional setting.

Warning! Warning! Spoiler!

I must say, I was very disappointed when she actually had sex. The front said “She was tempted to give in…” I really hoped that meant that she wouldn’t give in. However that’s not the case. Her turn around after having sex was smooth and believable. And I was proud that Smith didn’t go the sex-before-marriage=pregnant route.  There was a slow reconciliation that what she did was wrong. She knows that she will never be the same, will never be able to get that gift back, but she realizes that God still loves her and is able to confront her boyfriend. The book ends with that confrontation but we don’t know how it ends, only that she’ll depend on God.

Though her one-eighty after having sex is great, I think it leaves a lot to be discussed on the subject of teens and sex. It is possible to wait. I made it through my teen and college years and waited until the day I was married. It’s hard to wait in high school and it only gets harder.  If your teen is reading this book it needs to be coupled with a serious discussion about boundaries, about ways to safeguard your body and your emotions as you wait. It’s not an easy fight but a worthy cause.

I’m not sure I would recommend this book, I wouldn’t count Lindsey as a role model. It’s not one I’ll be passing around with my friends anyway. However it could be a good tool to start that discussion with your daughter that you’ve been dreading. I know it’s not an easy talk but, trust me, it makes a huge difference. And girls, if you’re reading this, talk to your moms, or if your mom is a non-believer, talk to a woman in your church.  It’s not an easy topic, but talking to a trusted elder can help you feel less alone in the battle you are fighting. From me and all my friends who are waiting: You’re not alone!

 

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