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by Laura Hopper
Janey King’s life revolves around school, friends, and her family. When Luke Hallstrom, a hot senior, notices her, Janey finds that navigating her first serious relationship can be tricky. Janey is trying to add Luke to her life, but not all of her friends are happy about their relationship. Janey isn’t completely sure that Luke will stay true to her. To complicate matters her parents are getting a divorce.
With Janey’s new relationship comes new complications. She must decide if she is ready to have sex, and if Luke is the person to give herself to. I Never gives readers graphic details of Janey’s experimentation with sex. The book’s message is “sometimes people need sex with no strings attached.” However, the story doesn’t address any of the negative and potentially dangerous sides of sex. The story seems to forget that not every boy is as respectful as Luke, and not every sexual encounter is satisfying. Because of the graphic descriptions of sex, this book should be picked up with caution.
- The story begins with the narrator contemplating her love life and thinking how other teens have already had sex, but she thinks, “sex should mean something.” Throughout the rest of the story, there are numerous hook-ups. The narrator talks about her friend’s sex life and her own sexual experiences in some very detailed scenes. Not all of the sex descriptions are recounted below.
- As Janey is trying to figure out if she should have sex with her boyfriend, she and her friends discuss how sex should work, how to let a person know when you are ready to have sex, and about their own experiences.
- Janey’s friend, Danielle, has a boyfriend who is always making out with her at school. After a two-week school break, Danielle’s boyfriend sees her. “Charlie turns her around, backs her up against the lockers, and starts kissing her with unbridled desire . . . It’s as though Danielle and Charlie are totally unaware of where they are and who’s nearby.”
- Janey and another character discuss Danielle’s sex life. “I know they did it in her dad’s car while it was in the garage and her parents were watching a movie upstairs. . . They did it after school in the multipurpose room . . . they went to town on the table.”
- Janey’s friend Sloan, “is the girl some parents would refer to as fast. She’s a virgin but loves to go to parties to ‘hook up’ with guys. In fact, her mantra is everything but.” Sloan went to a party and made out with two different boys.
- Janey’s boyfriend Luke tells her that his parents bought him condoms, “and put them in my bathroom, but we never discussed it.” Luke also talks about how his brother “came out when he was a senior in high school.”
- Janey and Luke kiss frequently. During their first kiss, “His tongue ever so gently finds mine, and our two tongues do a little dance. I am lost in him, in his soft lips, his smooth tongue, his yummy smells.”
- After track practice, Janey and Luke make out on the pull vault mat. As they kiss, he takes her shirt off. “. . . He’s lying on me, his legs between mine. . . I feel his whole body pushing against me. I can tell how much he wants me.”
- Janey and Luke make out often. Once when they were making out, Janey describes Luke in his “black boxer briefs that hug his body and make his erection beyond obvious . . . It’s an entirely different matter to see a huge boner underneath a thin layer of back cotton. And that boner is pointed at me. It’s a turn-on, but also a little scary . . . My legs separate slightly and he fits snugly between them. I can feel the warmth beneath our underwear.”
- Janey and Danielle go condom shopping. They discuss what type to use. When Janie asks why they are shopping for condoms, Danielle said, “Because if you show up for protection, he’ll know you’re ready . . . And trust me, it’ll be the biggest turn-on ever.”
- Janey and Luke are kissing in the car. “. . . I feel wetness between my legs the second his tongue enters my mouth . . . I feel weak, I moan, I get wet. . . it’s clear my body wants him desperately . . . I need to have sex with him. The same way I need food, water, and shelter.”
- Janey and Luke make out naked in a hot tub. “His hands move down my back and explore my butt and my waist as he pulls me closer to him, pushing me against him. The kissing is constant, while I drop my hand to feel him. It’s smooth and the skin is soft, but the whole thing is so incredibly hard, much harder than I would have thought possible.” They stop when Janey decides she’s not ready to have sex.
- Janey and Luke go back to her father’s house. Janey has decided she is ready to have sex, which is described over approximately five pages. “I put my hand on him feeling his hardness, knowing that it will soon be inside me . . . He spends significant time tickling and rubbing my boobs. . . sucking on my breast and flicking his tongue against my nipples . . . I wrap one hand firmly around the base and use the other to tickle the rest. I keep both hands moving, working in a rhythm. . . The moisture between my legs gets more obvious, allowing him to enter me push by push, millimenter by millimenter. . . My hands find his ass and squeeze while he moves up and down, in and out. . .”
- Luke tells Janey she should masturbate so she knows what she likes. “Because if you know what you like, I can do it for you.”
- While in the car parked outside of Janey’s house, Luke makes out with Janey and they make each other climax.
- Janey walks in on her newly separated mom having sex with a man. “My mother is on her back amid her throw pillows, her legs splayed. An unknown man is on top of her, his back slightly hairy . . . His ass, also slightly hairy, knocks repeatedly against my mother, and with each knock, she lets out a little grunt . . . my mom is having raucous, furious, daytime sex in my parents’ bed with a man who most definitely is not my father.”
- Danielle finds out her boyfriend is cheating on her and sexting. “He told her he wanted to squirt whipped cream all over her and lick it off . . . Charlie and I did that on Valentine’s Day.” Later in the story, Janey tries it with Luke. “. . . He delicately uses his tongue to make little waves in the white stream. I can barely stand it. I practically beg him to have sex with me.”
Drugs and Alcohol
- Janey’s parents take her out and order champagne. “I know my mom will give me a sip of her champagne and it will tickle my nose and taste bitter. . . “
- When Janey goes to Luke’s house for dinner, his parents have wine, but they won’t let Luke drink any.
- Luke tells Janey about how his brother went out and drank beer and sang eighties pop songs.
- Profanity is scattered throughout the story. Damn is used six times which is the most. Profanity includes, “ass, bitch, bitchy, crap, bullshit, holy crap, damn, dumbass, holy moly, hell, pissed shit, shitty, oh my god, and Oh my f-ing god.”
- When Janey’s friend sees her kissing Luke in an empty classroom, he says, “what the hell. . . Maybe you didn’t tell me because you’re wasting your time with a worthless, arrogant guy who’s going to treat you like shit.”
- “Charlie often sits with us because god forbid he miss an opportunity to put his hand on Danielle’s ass.”
- Janey said her dad, “never seemed to notice a hot piece of ass nearby.”