Friday, May 14, 2010

Talking Sex With Teens

Over at Dear Author, a new reviewer who is fifteen years old has been reviewing romance and YA. Now he's reviewed an erotic romance.

To say I'm uncomfortable with this is an understatement. The reviewer is obviously intelligent, well spoken, thoughtful and appears more mature than I am on a good day. I'm old enough to be his grandmother by the way. And I'm much too old and much too polite to talk erotic romance with a fifteen year old boy.

When my daughter starts stealing books out of my library and reading them for the hot parts, I'll look the other way and let her read as she likes. If she chooses to read what I write (and there are some hot parts in those too), I'll blush and look the other way.

If my daughter wants to talk to me about what she reads then as her mother I'll be right there and listening. That's part of my job as her mother. However, if her best friend wants to join the conversation then that's where I have to draw the line. It's inappropriate for an adult to have a conversation with a child that isn't theirs about sex and all the squishy stuff that entails.

If I found that someone was discussing sex with my underage child I would be contacting the authorities. I'm just that kind of Mom. It's my job to keep my child safe and even if my child was mature and the person they were talking to was hands-off and just sharing conversation: it would still be wrong and I would be all over that with mace and handcuffs.

Having a fifteen year old boy discussing erotic romance on a popular website seems like a bad idea in every way I can think of. Is there anyone else out there who finds this as wrong as I do? Or am I just a reactionary old bitch who doesn't understand that fifteen is the new forty?

What say you out there?


  1. I see what you mean Lori.
    I have to admit I was surprised to learn his age too, but I agree with you that 15 is too young - even if this book was chosen by accident.

    I agree that his writing and comments - even the way he handled the criticisms of his review - showed a lot of maturity. I think he'll go far.

  2. I think he will too Cheryl but I think Jane is making a gross misjudgment by posting his review.

    I wonder what his parents think. Or if they even know.

  3. I'm no prude but...

    I'm fine with reading, writing, watching and having sex but talking about it is kinda... weird for me. Maybe it's because I'm old fashioned but I'm not all that comfortable talking about sex. For me, it's something shared between two (or more if that's your thing) people and should be kept that way.

    I worked with a girl who would rush to work after having had sex the night before, so she could regale us with the details. Firstly, eww. I neither cared nor wished to hear about how she 'screamed loud enough to disturb the neighbours'. I mean, really...

    Discussing it with a 15 year old boy is def not something I would be in to. No matter how mature or smart he is. Like Lori, I feel that's just not right. No matter how innocent it might be, it could be construed as something so much more sinister and that's where the trouble starts.

    Lori, maybe his folks know, or not. I'm only guessing but given his openess and maturity in the way he reviewed maybe he comes from a family of 'talkers of feelings etc'. Most 15 year old boys I knew or know now only talk about sex with their friends in a 'snicker snicker' kind of way. Even so, it is kinda wrong.

  4. Lori,

    I want you to know right off my parents are much like you. They turn the other way towards books, because they'd just rather me find out for myself and come to them with issues. While we are not 'talkers and feelers' I feel like, from a reading standpoint, it's a do-as-you-wish world, as long as I keep my reading habits of romance to myself.

    I'd also like to say I'm disappointed in how you react towards this. While you have every right to feel uncomfortable, I would have rather you emailed me about it personally so I could have a discussion than posting a blog post without letting me know. As the subject and the person taking the critique, I feel that you yourself are doing a bit much here.

    Now, I also think you are overstating how I talk about sex. While I will state an opinion one how I read it, I never started blatantly saying specific parts about it. I try to keep my reviews pg, and I think as a reader I'm more of a prude than a non-prude. I think if I handle things maturely, you should understand that there is a reason behind it. I can be like any other teenager, but I decided to do the professional thing and review a book that I asked for - even if it turned out to be something less than appropriate. I've talked with Jane about it, and we both agree my stepping into the genre isn't something I'm ready for. I don't really care for it anyway, because all of that sex is not what I read for.

    If it's not too much trouble, could you please have a talk with me about this and maybe draft this post until we come to an agreement - because I don't really like being talked about, even if all of the intentions are good. And I think we also need to understand that talking about sex and talking about it's placement in a book are different, especially because I never once mentioned pornographic information.

    Thanks for your concern, but I think you are making a much bigger deal about it then there needs to be, especially considering I've acknowledged my own misstep several times before you even commented. And, as I've stated several times, I DID NOT READ FOR THE SEX.

  5. I apologize for the long post above, but I want you to know that I am personally feeling more mortified because of your actions towards this than anything else. I consistently said to email me if you had personal concerns, which you do, and you ignored that along with posting a blog post about it. Also, I feel even more uncomfortable now than ever because you've blown up the situation more than it needed to be. In fact, I would rather you take of this post completely until we come to an agreement - because it's unprofessional for you to do something like this without letting me know, and it only makes it more difficult for Jane and myself. I appreciate your concern, but I am really disappointed in how you go about it and how you post some things while ignoring some key points in my discussion on the website. Also, please post your email clearly on your blog, because I would have just sent a personal message and avoided making the mess more noticeable if I was able to. Thank you for your time.

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  7. Wow, a third comment. I really must be losing my touch in explanations....

    Anyway, I just want to apologize if I come off as offended. Even though I am. You have every right to believe what you may, but there is nothing legally wrong with posting a review, and I believe I worked hard to keep the sex out of the review (many people, as I recall, said I didn't mention it enough). And, to answer your question, many people also supported me in terms of my age and the reading material. Personally, I also feel that sex in relation to reading material is all dependent on the maturity level and the person as a whole. Age is not so much a relative judgment anymore. I know people your age who would die rather than admit to it, along with people my age who are blunt and realistic about the sexual world. Teenagers are at an age where they grow into sexuality, and frankly, ignoring that and saying we can't talk about it because it's inappropriate is hogwash. We live it and we have to discover it, mostly on our own because people refuse to treat us like adults and maturely discuss sex. If we treat it as a normal event like I did in my review, you will find that less teenagers will make a big deal about it and do stupid things involving it. Plus, not to sound proud, but I feel that at least in my case, my maturity should count for more. I am a person, not a number, and I think that needs to be realized. Thanks again...I really apologize for rambling like this, but it's an issue I feel strongly about, and as I am centered within said issue now, I feel like I need to explain exactly why I have these particular thoughts. Our generation gap doesn't really make our understanding easier, so I'm trying to make that less of an issue. As a side note, I'm following your blog now...I may not agree with the post, but you have a fun voice and the idea is witty. :)

  8. Hey John - it's t'other Old Fart. The shy one ... *cough, cough*

    As usual, I can see both sides of the discussion, which is why I hope I'm never on a jury!

    I understand Lori's fears and as you say she has every right to her opinion. I have boys of my own and it embarrassed the heck out of both of them to have any discussion about sex. (I know - you didn't 'discuss' it, but you're reading romance so it's corollary that sex will be involved.) Perhaps it was that I was their mother - lord only knows what went on with kids their own age.

    You seem a mature and responsible person, with decided opinions and a balanced outlook. Once I got over the 'shock' of a male teen not only reading romance but debating it with gusto, and thought it over, I decided this is much better than the snickers, the questionable terminology for females, and the bad jokes and macho posturing that seem to be normal at this age.

    But what do I know? I'm just a parent, lol. When my kids were teens I know they knew more than I did, which is rather depressing when you think about it.

    Btw, one of my guys is an avid reader; the other views reading with horror, unless it's sports related, specifically the University of Alabama. *sigh*.

    I guess 50% isn't too bad.

    Lori's out for the day and I can't speak for her, except to say she isn't ignoring your concerns.

    I wonder if more males read Romance if there'd be more 'romance' in real life ...

  9. Hey Carolyn - you two are not old farts. I admire that romance readers come from both ends of the age spectrum! (Though I'm very biased in this decision. *cough, cough*)

    You are very right to not know what goes on with teenagers. Believe me, the teenagers today (myself obviously included) are very sexually aware, and perhaps more so than some adults. I find the ones I know to be blunt about what they know, if not spreading it around (though those types exist as well). I'm glad I can discuss this with you, because it really hurts to think that what I read and review is considered wrong. I understand being uncomfortable (I wouldn't just go up to my grandma and start talking about the sexuality of a Johanna Lindsey - I understand the politeness factor), but I guess I just can't get past the whole 15 thing, since a majority of romance readers will grudgingly admit to starting to read the sexy stuff around my age.

    Thank you for taking a look at both sides (same here with being on a jury - I'm prone to being devil's advocate, which is why I'm on here talking about the subject in the first place!) and I'm very happy to know that you understand where I'm coming from. I'm not the normal male by any means.

    Not to mention sexual identity, which makes reading these romances even less of a sexual issue (but we don't have to get into that if you 'old farts - haha' don't want to) And you are correct - the fact that I freely admit to being a teenager who reads romance novels made me believe everyone understood that I am - well, a teenager who reads romance novels. And I love debating it! It's one of the most under-appreciated genres in my opinion!

    No it's not! Today's teens are just more self aware. Plus, sexual education in schools (which is needed in this day and age) makes it a given that they will know the so called squishy parts. Kids are more experimental than adults, too, which probably helps.

    Ah, to have a child who doesn't like to brothers are the same way, and I feel your frustrations.

    And thank you - while I felt a *tad* ignored, I just felt like she wasn't getting my explanation - because a lot of her points were easily double sided. But poTAto potato...

    That's a good question. Probably. But then we'd have more wannabee pirates and ranchers and....Never mind. More males should read romance. :)

  10. Sorry John, I wasn't ignoring you at all, I was being Mom and my daughter's birthday party was today. Perfect weather, squirt gun fights and a Twilight cake ... who could ask for more?

    Regarding your issues, let me try to explain this because I never meant for you to feel attacked. I was shooting from the hip (as Carolyn would tell you that I do more than I should) and when I have a rant, well, I blog.

    I love that you read. I hope that you continue to do so. I also am amazed and delighted by the professionalism and intelligence of your reviews. You have a lot more going on there than most adults ... Carolyn and I have admitted that we're ashamed to say we review because we don't have a tenth the talent for it that you do.

    My issue is that discussion with a minor about sex is wrong. I appreciate your points in saying that you know more than we give you credit for and reality is that it's a new age and well... whatever.

    I'm a Mom. I'm also a woman who was abused as a child by an adult. As was my sister. And my sister's partner by a teacher as a teenager. And should I go on?

    The fact is that adults take advantage of minors. They do. A website I once belonged to wouldn't let me use my daughter's photo as an avatar because it placed her in a possibly vulnerable position if someone wanted to copy the picture. I was pissed then but I understand it now.

    The simple fact is that it's our job to be responsible in how we talk to you, how we interact with you. I don't expect you to totally get this but I think parents do. The reason I'd never email you: it's inappropriate for a strange adult to have an email exchange with a strange minor.

    If it was my daughter, I'd hit the roof.

    I hate that Jane allowed your review to run and the comments to continue. I hate it because she opens you up to people who might not have your best interests at heart. When you say "email me your concerns" I see an open invitation to someone who might think you're offering something more that they want to take.

    As smart as you are, as responsible as you are, as much as you are more than just a number: you're fifteen and I'm fifty-one. I know more than you do and I know more about the bad side of human nature. You are a child still and I believe that from strangers, you should be treated as one.

    Talking about sexual situations in a book or a movie or in any way is 100% not acceptable in my book. If you aren't my child, it's wrong. Nothing will convince me otherwise.

    I want you to be safe.

    I don't mean to talk down to you, to criticize you or make you feel lesser in any way. But there's thirty six years difference between us and trust me when I say there's a lifetime in those years.
    I don't expect you to really understand my concerns. But I have less faith in the internet and in adults than you do. I know I do.

    Also, I blogged about it because most of the people who read the blog (that I'm aware of) are older women, many with children, who would have the same concerns about internet predators.

  11. Lori, after I realized you were out, I didn't feel like I was being ignored. Thank you for the concern, none the less.

    I know it may seem like I don't understand - and it some ways, the whole of the situation isn't as big on me because I never suffered the horrors you went through - which no person should ever have to live down. I understand your strong reaction now more than ever, and I respect that. If I were to be a parent, I'd be concerned as well.

    I want to be safe as well - and I try and regulate myself as best I can. I'll make a confession myself, since we are discussing this situation so intently. My uncle was just reprimanded last year for trying to sexually seduce a minor over the internet. Thankfully, it was a law enforcement officer playing a ruse, but the mere thought of what could happen was devastating.

    Needless to say, I've learned a thing or two myself about the dangers of internet safety, and I work hard to deal with that. But as a blogger, I have to deal with things. I understand opening myself up to concerned emails opens the door to strangers - and I get that - but it's my duty as a professional reviewer to be open to suggestions and criticisms. You are entirely right to do what you do, and I'm not saying you're in any way not smart or intelligent in the reasoning behind it. I'm just saying that I run a YA book blog, and I have teenagers that view it who would email me because they don't want to comment.

    But I want you to understand - I really do - that I in no way open myself up to sexual conversations on a normal basis. This review was a one time thing - and Jane and I both 100% agree with you that I will not be reviewing any more romances of erotic nature. I was under that umbrella as soon as the first comment was posted. And I mentioned it was uncomfortable because it was. I don't like reading about a lot of sex, or discussing it with adults, but I was not going to let my personal feelings get in the way of a professional review or someone else and their potential viewing of the reading material.

    And my concern with your blog was that you didn't in any way acknowledge you would talk about it. I would have commented. But the fact is, you didn't tell me, and I find that offensive. Not only that, but your post focuses on the moral aspects - and thus makes me feel like a bad person despite my non-sexual intentions.

    Bottom line: Predators are there, and I get that. I'm glad you are concerned for the youth of today, and you do know and have been through more than me. But I try my best, because reviewing is something I live to do, and if I have to go through some rough patches, I will, but I'll do it in a way that's professional and as safe as possible. And I read romance. Sex is in romance. I never discuss it aside from this one special case, and I don't know how to make it clear. I think I've shown that this isn't exactly a discussion I'm keen on repeating again for any number of reasons.

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  13. And let me say if you are really that uncomfortable with the review - which you seem to be - then email Jane and ask her to take it off or disable commenting of some sort.

    What hurts me most is that you are upset about this - I never meant in any way to offend you or bring up bad thoughts - and I wouldn't be offended if you asked her to do this. But I'd also make it clear that its out of safety concern, because the discussion of sex is very opinionated, and that would warrant a mere 'then don't participate in the discussion'. However, because I will be reviewing romances, I cannot avoid sex on the fact that sex is in all of the romances, and while I will not go into detail (not that I ever do) I cannot ignore it because it just isn't fair to the review readers or the author. But I will avoid any overly sexual discussions online, which I tend to do anyway. Your overwhelming opinion on this is admirable, but I'm not going to change my review policy based on it, because my opinions do differ, and while I hate making other people feel uncomfortable, I don't encourage any sexual discussion, and it's out of my hands if it occurs due to a review.

    Thanks for your time and concern. Despite the major frustration, I get where you're coming from, and I hope that at some point we can talk about (chaste) romances and the general love of the genre.

  14. John, you are a reasonable and smart young man and I hope you know how exceptional you are.

    I'm going to hope that we'll both enjoy a long time taking about reading many genes. and I personally always thrive on a little disagreement.

    You will find Carolyn much more reasonable than I am. It's why we work so well together. I fly off the handle and she usually turns down the flame.

    You've given me a lot to think about and I thank you. I will never be less avid regarding internet safety and next time will think to approach the blog owner first with my concerns.

    Hope we didn't ruin your Saturday.

  15. Well, sometimes I doubt, but thank you none the less. I take no praise lightly, and coming from someone who I apparently have many issues with - well, it's pretty great! I want you to know that you shouldn't knock yourself as a reviewer, either. While I haven't tried your writing (and from what you mentioned online, you probably wouldn't want me too) I think your reviews are very well done, and come across as very thoughtful.

    I guess I have to agree with that! I always love a heated discussion or three - even if it riles me up. We have the same goal, and that's what is most important.

    Carolyn does seem more reasonable - not to be rude - in terms of seeing both sides, which is admirable of her, though your stubborn nature is just as admirable in a different way.

    I'm glad to know I've gotten you thinking, which is always a good thing to do. Never be less avid about it, please! It's better to be over zealous and need a dimming down as opposed to not being zealous enough. :) And yes, it's always good to go to the blog owner, though at this stage it's probably a moot point.

    My Saturday was strange - not the Saturday I planned - but it gave me some thought, and I'm glad it ended on a good note. :) I'll be following your blog, and hopefully between here and DA we can find some common literary ground and channel our discussion! It was quite a good one.

  16. I declare this discussion a draw; you both make valid points, especially at 3:00 in the morning. Yes - insomnia time again. :-(

    As to trying Lori's writing, she's thinking of putting up a sample page, because, as you know published authors must PROMOTE! And how better than with excerpts and short stories? Assuming someone is reading them, lol.

    Yes indeedy - we may have trout swimming to the sea here in ... er... Fartland (sorry about that).

    I think I should go back to bed ...

  17. It is wildly inappropriate to have a minor reviewing YA (never mind the erotic romance review...and that IS the blog owner's fault)on a site that also reviews erotica.

    I wonder about the legalities and if the publishers are aware that their ARCs are being given to a minor. Because he is a minor the blog owner is at fault for even letting him post there and allowing him to review that book.

    The readers of that blog, I think, have the expectation that the contributors are adults and not minors.

    This situation has me completely disgusted.

  18. John may be the most mature 15-year-old in the world, but he's too young to have sex. That's not me (I personally don't care, and as I have no children, I'm really not qualified to comment on anyone else or anyone else's children,), that's the law.

    There's a concept in the law: "strict liability," which means that regardless of the ignorance, excuse, etc., of the person who committed the crime, he or she is guilty. Not all crimes have strict liability, but statutory rape does. If a couple bridge their state's age limit for sex, so that one is underage by a day and the other is legal by a day: it's still statutory rape. Hey, I didn't write the law.

    Now, of course no one has suggested that John's reading & reviewing erotica is anything even remotely the same as having sex. But 15 is underage in most states, if not all, for having sex. (Based on this list, 16 is the youngest legal age in the US.) So what we're all talking about is someone who's not legally supposed to have sex reading & publicly reviewing a book with sexy bits. Explicitly and intentionally sexy bits.

    And that's where I think the line is, based on Lori's original post. John himself may be mature beyond his years, but that wouldn't be a defense if someone older than his state's statutory rape law's age limit were to have sex with John. As far as that state's legislature is concerned, a young 15 is the same as a normal 15 is the same as a very mature 15.

    Reading erotica is, of course, not against the law. But public sentiment may well be that 15-year-olds should not be reading erotica. Which is why 15-year-olds sneak their parents' erotica. (Like, duh.)

    I have no personal opinion about John and his actions. But as a general matter, I think Lori's reactions were exactly on the money: There's a good reason why 15 is too young to be known to be reading erotica. Read it in private, pass it around to your friends, giggle (and other verbs) over it, but don't let adults know.

    That was a good rule of thumb when I was a "mature for her age" 15-year-old, and I think it's still a good rule.

  19. Now guys, I would please like you to refrain from name calling. Dear Author is a respected blog, and Jane and I had no reservations about this - and she has been running it for many years, so I'm sure her knowledge on the legal ramifications is better than any of ours. There is nothing illegal about a minor reading a book with sexual content, as a book with sexual content is protected under the rights to free speech unless there is content within it deemed illegal like child pornography.

    I cannot continue stating this, because frankly, your ignorance of the complete situation is not helping matters. I am not reviewing erotica any more - and the accidental point is not the only reason why. I'm not yelling in the streets, saying that I read this every day, and I most certainly told people THIS IS NOT A GENRE I READ in the review.

    Now, as for age matters - I'm sorry, but a blogger does not have to be a specific age. That's just nit-picking, and frankly, it's pretty darn offensive. I'm old enough to review books on any website, and that is understood. I made no means to hide my age, and a majority of people are totally fine with it and have praised me for being of my age and not only respecting the romance genre as a whole, but writing reviews that reflect that same respect.

    The site's REVIEW CONTENT is in no way illegal or considered in itself erotica. I'm sorry, but a review is not a sexual thing by any means, and that should be understood. The question deemed by Lori, which I assumed you understood was worked out - was my reading of said material and allowing a commented discussion to go based on said review of the material, because said discussion involved the topic of sex. In this, Jane did everything correct by explaining her piece as I did mine, and moved the topic to a different thread for people so no one would have to be uncomfortable.

    As to statutory rape and such, while I understand why you bring up the argument, you're confusing things here with reading and reviewing, and that's not exactly helping.

    Ultimately, there is nothing legally wrong with it, and while ethically you have a right to an opinion - I need you to understand that I do hear what you're saying, and I have taken action based on it. Also, I can understand what you're saying, and you're only making this worse by continuing to confuse the situation. I am the one who has to deal with the consequences, not Jane, and I am doing as such.

    Also, thank you Lori and Carolyn for being understanding in your own extents as to why I am doing this - and again, I think I've made it clear that this is no longer an issue with either me or Jane.

    And, again, I've made it clear I don't want to be known as 'that kid that reads erotica' but you need to let it go or your only making my position harder, and you're only feeding your own argument instead of helping the overall event.

  20. John,

    No one was calling anyone names. Frankly minors have no business reviewing on a blog site (and I am very familiar with DA thank you) that also reviews erotica.

    As well, the excuse that Jane offered that it was not labelled erotica is flimsy. It clearly says Spice on the cover. It is the blog owner's responsibility to the publishers/the readers/contributers to ensure that books are dispersed in an appropriate manner.

    I am not saying a blogger has to be a specific age, what I am saying is that blog does indeed deal with adult content in many of its reviews. I have no problem with kids reading what they want to read as long as their parents are comfortable, I have a problem with a kid posting and conversing with adults in a forum that also discusses sexual content.

    You are a very smart kid, but as a minor the culpability lies completely on the owner of the blog.

  21. And for everyone here - I just remembered that I used NetGalley for the ebook. NetGalley requires a user review for it to be valid, so I really didn't have a choice once the request went through. Thus there is a difference between requesting but never getting to the review for a physical copy due to other requests, and this website's policy. Just a warning out there in case any reviewers do decide to try it out.

  22. What Dhympna said, pretty much word for word.

    Having a 15-year-old discuss erotic romance on a blog aimed at adults is inappropriate. I don't care how sexually knowledgeable teens are today. The age of consent is there for a reason, and if adults can't respect that, how can anyone expect teenagers to do so?

  23. @John

    Then a letter should be written to Netgalley.

    Regardless, a minor should not be blogging on DA. And yes, it is an egregious offense that the owner allowed a minor to post a review about erotic romance.

  24. As former law enforcement, I have to say it's illegal. Providing sexually explicit material to an underaged person or a person who can't legally consent to recieve said materials is a crime punishable by prison time. It doesn't matter who chose what and I'm not saying she had deviant intentions, but it's AGAINST THE LAW. Period.

    And further, if I found an adult engaging in sexaully explicit conversations with my child, even if they were about books... well, again as former law enforcement, I know better than to finish that sentence on a public forum.

  25. Frankly, I assume most 15-year-olds have found and read erotica because being curious about sex is part of being a teenager. I wouldn't consider them qualified to talk about the genre, though -- even if all they were reviewing was the non-erotic bits.

    (Have I missed something -- is Lady Chatterly's Lover now on 10th Grade English reading lists? Would anyone think it belongs there? But if it was there, no one would blame the kids who read it for that reason.)

    My only other comment is that there's absolutely no reason to take this personally. That's a main reason for statutory rape laws, namely it protects people (children) who can't protect themselves and shouldn't have to. It may not be fair, but it is internally consistent that legislatures decided what is and isn't legally appropriate for children don't ask children what they think.

    While there is no law against the publishing of erotica, and no law (that I know of) that prevents children from reading erotica, it's a matter of common sense that such books are written by adults, about adults, and for adults to read.

    There's a larger context here, one that deals with a wide range of issues: feminism, defense of the romance genre (which has been dismissed as "porn for women"), and the legitimate carve-outs in free speech laws intended to protect children. No one is expecting a 15-year-old from understanding the larger context, either.

    I appreciate that there's no winning an argument against a 15-year-old, so I won't even try. I think the other adults here get the point.

  26. I'm sorry, I really am. What I am trying to imply is that there will be nothing of the sort continuing. I know my arguing isn't very adult, but I try to get my point across as best I can.

    NetGalley actually would be the only one at fault then/Harlequin, as Jane never gave me the material herself. But either way, I meant the review wasn't sexually explicit.

    And I'm again, sorry for taking it personally, but I do, because we are talking about MY flub-up and MY future in reviewing. I really appreciate your stance on this, I do - but the waters are muddy, and personally, I just want to go in a corner and forget about everything.

    And again - if you have legal concerns, ask Jane at Dear Author. She knows more about this than I do - and I'm sure she checked things out beforehand - and if you want, ask her to take it off the website.

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  28. John, I wish you the best of luck in your future as a reviewer. I don't think anyone is going to hold this against you. :)

  29. @ John

    Actually, according to NetGalley's TOS you are in violation.

    From NetGalley's TOS:

    5. Minors

    This Website is made available solely for adults eighteen (18) years of age or older. If you are under eighteen (18), please exit this Website immediately.

    Jane as a lawyer should have known this.

  30. Oh my god! If I would have known...Wow. I'll let Jane know I'm going to cancel my account immediately. Believe me, the last thing I want to do is cause any legal issues! Dhympna, thank you for pointing this out to me. I'll let Jane know and we'll discuss this - thank you for your sound advice, and Jane, while not knowing, is a great person. She's just busy...But as to NetGalley's TOS, they should have the underage thing on their website's main page if their content isn't appropriate for all minors as well. So, this is major case of confusion and botched legalities. But thanks for bringing it to my attention again.

    Saranna, thank you very much. I just don't want this to be how people remember me. :/ I'll be sure not to stumble into any issues again - and I'll show more common sense. It's just a lot of stress to take, and I don't enjoy people expressing negative sentiments towards my reviewing/Jane/Dear Author when it was a murky field to begin with. My reviewing on DA will be self limited to Young Adult and regular romances, so there shouldn't be any more issues. I just hope no one makes any more issues.

  31. John, my admiration of you ratchets up another notch. I know that at your age I wouldn't have handled this with the aplomb that you have.

    I actually like the idea of reading YA reviews from someone for whom that market is targeted.

    I appreciate how everyone has agreed with the basic premise that when it comes to the internet, there can't be enough safeguards. Right now my daughter only is online to find game cheatcodes and to play on Poptropica. I'm scared of that moment when she realizes that there are communities out there she can share her world with.

    Now Carolyn is whispering in my ear that I promised another blog post about romance before sunday night rolls around and I get tethered to the Survivor season finale (please vote Russell off... please!!!)

  32. Wow, strong words Lori. Thank you very much. In the end, I hope people understand that it was just a bunch of stumbling missteps, and I am working hard on making them right.

    Yes, it would make sense to have a teen reviewing teen books. :) There are some other blogs out there run by teens as well that do very well with it, but you can never have enough.

    And, if I may make a suggestion, we could always start a blog tour of sorts on internet safety. It's a strong issue, and we should really let bloggers and the blog readers know about information and how to be extra careful with it - or in getting it.

    Yay, a new post! That sounds like a wonderful idea. :) Though I prefer celebrity apprentice as opposed to survivor.

  33. T.V. - bah!!

    Y'all ought to read a good book. ;-)

  34. Oh! *Lightbulb*

    I'm currently reading a wonderful YA novel for my personal blog, and it deals with the character using the internet in different ways, some of which are bad. It's a great novel to deal with the subject, and I was wondering if I could get you and/or Carolyn to guest post on internet safety for when I post my review Tuesday or Wednesday. It's an odd coincidence, but I'd love to see my reader's reactions! And most are in their teens/twenties and would probably benefit from it. :)

  35. I'd rather my children read steamy books than watch X-Rated porn. I was reading some very steamy reads starting at 13 and I really don't have an issue with someone under the age of 18 reading erotica.

    Let me put it this way- if John had reviewed classic erotica such as Fanny Hill or Lady Chatterley’s Lover, would there be some issue then?

  36. KB, there would be an issue because the issue isn't about what he reads, it's about having a teenager reviewing adult content on a website that is aimed for adults.

    I expect my child will read steamy books when she's a teen just as I did. And I intend to be like my parents and allow her to read what she chooses. I also intend when the time comes to have frank discussions with her about sex and safety.

    I am not comfortable or interested in having those conversations with any minor not my own. It's inappropriate. And putting John, or any teen out there, where adults can have an opening to start conversation of an inappropriate minor is shockingly wrong.

    I don't want to parent a child not my own and it's not my business to tell John or his parents what's right. I can only state that I think it's a mistake to allow him to post reviews on an adult content blog.

    It takes a village to raise a child, it's said, and I believe it takes a community to keep our children safe. I'm a part of that community.

  37. Thank you Lori. That is what I have been trying to say, although poorly.

    My beef has nothing to do with reading material (and given that I belong to a few anti-censorship and anti banned books groups...I am finding it amusing that people think this is the issue).