Friday, April 6, 2012

"This isn't her life. This isn't her story"

Sykosa by Justin Ordonez

Something has happened to Sykosa during her sophomore year.  The story in this 18+ YA novel accounts for what happens afterwards and how, most of all, she copes with it all.  She has a troubled best friend Niko, and the story follows her obsession and even 'affection' to Tom.  There are coming-of-age elements to this novel, although, I think more so the most obvious aspect of this novel is that it is RAW, maybe even to the point of being blunt.  Sexual terminology is thrown into the mix like nobody's business, it's just the nature of the story.  Additionally, there is an honesty about the teenage mentality, or the trials and tribulations of a time that is truly significant in the course of our existence.  That's deep, maybe deeper than some may like to admit, but the reality of it all is that being a teenager is no easy task.  There are certain aspects of that time in our lives that really impacts us in truly powerful ways.  Teenagers are unique individuals, and probably the least understood, possibly why this book may feel controversial to some people.  It's raw, it's honest, but somewhere you feel reservations for it because it's possible you fail to understand the extend of what's happening.  As a person who has been surrounded by and worked with teenagers, I understand the 'reality' in this book.  It's not a novel in some aspects, but a reflection of real life.  There are a lot of aspects to the book that can enlighten you about the psychology, mentality, and human spirit of teenagers.

Some aspects of teenage life definitely saturate this book.  Being aware of her body and sexuality, Sykosa bring your attention to questions such as 'What should I wear to look sexy?' Friends, relationships, and sexual 'intimacies' are prevelant throughout the story.   There are cliques, and segregrations of groups based on who is 'cool.'  Substance abuse problems is not omitted in this book, and in fact, plays a role in the distribution of events.  There is a more substantive portion to this book, also.  It's the presence of Sykosa's parents.  They are strict parents who are dedicated to seeing her suceed and become a well-together individual who can make a road for herself with the right actions and decisions.  They watch her like a hawk, and although that has a negative connotations to most teengers, it is this exact character trait of her parents that makes Sykosa a more special character; she has people who care about her in her life.

"Maybe they want to talk to her about sex. Or what love is really like. Or, if they feel bold, they want to explain how life, unlike what they’ve presented thus far, is a cold and lonely place, and how they’re a tad worried she’s learned that too soon. Possibly they want to get really specific. They want to tell her that sometimes bad things happen and, yes, it brings people together, but it can also create attachments that, while not bad, are not by such automatically positive. And they fear this may have happened to her, and that this boy, Tom, who seemed like an alright guy when he picked her up, may be inadvertently, and by no fault of his own, prolonging her pain and intensifying her suffering."

This novel offers you minutae that fills the whole novel for you.  The 'Academy's Personal Code,' for example, is one of those.  No nail polish, limited amount of make-up products girls can wear and amount of make up depends on whether you are an upper classman, are just a few things the girls are more concerned with.  The worry of breast size, the puppy love combined with anxiety and even excitement (or embarassement?) of '*' someone are very forefront and in your face in the novel.  The novel holds no reservations and gives it to you like it is

The obsession with boys is so gripping and paralyzing to the girls in this book. Here is an excerpt to represent what I mean:

"Which brings up a question - why is it that teenage girls are so oblivious to this little tid-bit of information: At first, these back chapel indiscretions barely affected her, and it wasn’t until the days turned into weeks turned into their kinda-sorta three-month anniversary that her feelings became…a tad poisonous. And he is wonderful. He’s a bit of perv, but he’s quick-witted and pretty, and he kisses her and his jokes are funny. Yet, like she said before and she will say again, he never holds her hand in the hallway or runs his finger along her jaw before they separate for class or cups her cheek and whispers those three wonderful words in her ear."

She even asks questions like 'how does he get me like this?' and 'why does she love him so very much?' 'how does he get to me like this?'

There are lot of teenage mannerisms and language: twirling of hair, sexy slang, expressions like 'i gotta jet.'  Additionally there is the theme that teenagers have the impression and attitude that things are hard to discuss because there is are tremendous consequences to discussing so it's becomes an obvious incentive NOT to discuss anything and isolate themselves from the adults.

The controversial topics and sexual scenes of this book definitely makes you ask, should teenagers be allowed to read a book so vivid and real as this, even if they are over eighteen? Read some of these entries and tell me for yourself.  I, myself, have not decided one way or another.  There are definitely certain aspects of this book you should be aware and careful about as an adult if your teen should read this book.

 "Thought he would be as concerned for her own pleasure as she is for his. But, no, that’s not gonna happen. His eyes are either closed or watching her hand or watching her boobs or… And here I was supposed to break up with him if he didn’t ask me to Prom. And other thoughts that never really find a way to words. Mostly because she’s distracted—by his semen. It dribbles off her hand and onto his stomach. This time she brought tissue and she blots at the divots of her knuckles."

" most things that involve him, once she starts thinking, she has a tendency to be unable to stop, even if it’s about gross sex stuff. Right now she can’t deny that there’s a biological imperative to the male orgasm. And she does feel a confidence knowing she has some mastery over it. Then, again: It’s a stick. I rub it. Who cares? Well, he does, for one. She wishes she understood that. Like, she kinda likes his orgasms. They’re fun to watch. And she has sexual desires herself. She wants to [fill in the blank] with Tom, she just doesn’t need to do it like he needs to. Yeah. Anyhow, she thinks if she did understand it, if he could provide a plausible reason, then maybe she’d be willing to do it more often, and he’d have to pressure her less… That’s a joke. Like there was ever a reason! He does not love her. He does not listen to her. He just wants to get-off."

You must read this book if you are fan of YA novels, but definitely expect explicit language with a view that we normally don't see.  Another great aspect of this novel is that we hear form the narrator and Sykosa, herself, about Sykosa. Read it and tell me what you think.

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As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the Sykosa eBook edition is just 99 cents this week. What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes. The prizes include $550 in Amazon gift cards, a Kindle Fire, and 5 autographed copies of the book.

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About the book: YA fiction for the 18+ crowdSykosa is a sixteen-year-old girl trying to reclaim her identity after an act of violence shatters her life and the lives of her friends. Set at her best friend’s cottage, for what will be a weekend of unsupervised badness, Sykosa will have to finally confront the major players and issues from this event, as well as decide if she wants to lose her virginity to Tom, her first boyfriend, and the boy who saved her from danger. Get it on Amazon.

About the author: Sykosa is Justin Ordoñez's life's work. He hopes to one day settle down with a nerdy, somewhat introverted woman and own 1 to 4 dogs. Visit Justin on his websiteTwitterFacebook, or GoodReads.

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