New in the Young Adult section, a novel called Firsts. From the publisher MacMillan’s description:

Seventeen-year-old Mercedes Ayres has an open-door policy when it comes to her bedroom, but only if the guy fulfills a specific criteria: he has to be a virgin. Mercedes lets the boys get their awkward fumbling first times over with, and all she asks in return is that they give their girlfriends the perfect first time-the kind Mercedes never had herself.

Keeping what goes on in her bedroom a secret has been easy – so far. Her mother isn’t home nearly enough to know about Mercedes’ extracurricular activities, and her uber-religious best friend, Angela, won’t even say the word “sex” until she gets married. But Mercedes doesn’t bank on Angela’s boyfriend finding out about her services and wanting a turn – or on Zach, who likes her for who she is instead of what she can do in bed.

When Mercedes’ perfect system falls apart, she has to find a way to salvage her own reputation -and figure out where her heart really belongs in the process. Funny, smart, and true-to-life, Laurie Elizabeth Flynn‘s Firsts is a one-of-a-kind young adult novel about growing up.

You can read the book’s first chapter here. It’s soft-core porn. Here’s more, from inside the book. I’m going to put this below the jump, to spare those who would rather not see it. I think it’s important that you see it to know what’s out there. Keep in mind that this does not come from a pornographer, but from a major publishing house — and it is recommended from girls as young as 14:

“The kitchen?” he says when I press him against the stainless steel refrigerator. “I never did it in a kitchen before.” He grabs me around the waist and lifts me onto the granite counter, where he puts his hand up my skirt and pulls my panties off. The counter happens to be the perfect height for sex, a fact I never noticed until yesterday morning, when I bent over it to paint my nails and purposely mess up Kim’s [her mother’s] daily ritual of polishing the granite. This has been on my mind ever since, taunting me in prayer group and distracting me all through chemistry. This is a regular occurrence for me, using Zach to play out my little fantasies. Somehow I don’t think he minds being a guinea pig.

“These are my favorite,” he says, clutching my pink lace panties in his hand. All of my panties are either lace or satin or sheer — no dingy whites or high-waisted monstrosities. I don’t even want to know what those would do to my reputation. Lucky for me, Kim tossed out all my childish floral panties back in elementary school, the day I got my period and she decided I needed something more grown-up.

Zach lets his own pants fall to the floor and abruptly closes the gap between us. He stands right between my legs, ready to go — until I reach out and slap him in the face.

“Condom, Zach,” I say, snapping my fingers. “You didn’t want to make it upstairs, so you should be ready.”

“Come on,” he says, leaning in to bite my lip. “I’m clean, you’re clean. I got tested six months ago. And we’re not sleeping with other people. It would feel so good without it.”

Ah, young love.

I’ve been sitting here staring at my screen for a while, trying to figure out what to say about this. I’m at a loss. I suppose the thing that gets to me the most is the idea that what was not too long ago the kind of thing that appeared in smutty adult novels is now packaged and sold by mainstream publishers for eighth grade girls. The culture wants to make whores of its daughters, and to debauch its sons.

Well, this Weimar America culture can go to hell if it wants to, but it’s not going to take my children with it, if I can help it. The author of this book and its publisher are barbarians. Philip Rieff called this kind of thing “anti-culture.” Culture, as he saw it, was a process through which people learned to bind and to loose, to form their souls to a higher order — a “sacred” one, he called it, though he was not a religious believer. This sacred order allows life to continue. It is generative, and regenerative. An “anti-culture,” then, is one that destroys all possibility of order, and of the generation of life.

We live in an anti-culture. It’s killing itself. Firsts is a small thing, but its importance lies in its banality. This is the poison we feed our children as their daily bread.

The ancient Hebrews knew the truth, and that truth endures forever. From the book of Deuteronomy, Chapter 30:

15 See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. 16 For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.

17 But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, 18 I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.

19 This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live 20 and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

 

 

I have a friend who, many years ago, was badly strung out on cocaine. One day, when he was out driving around Los Angeles, he heard a voice say, “If you want to live, stop it.” Just like that. He stopped it. He lived, and now he thrives. I feel like that when I come across filth like Firsts. If we want to live, we have to stop it, turn away from this darkness, and go to the light.