5 Super Creepy Sex Plots In Novels Meant For Teens
Though I consider myself a pretty sex-positive person, sex scenes in books still tend to ick me out. I like a good makeout or the eyebrow-wiggling, curtain-blowing implication that two people are taking the express train to Pound Town, but as soon as anything becomes "engorged," "moistened," or "inserted," I'm out. For this reason, teen books are generally a safe space for me to consume romances without getting the creepy-crawlies. But like finding a penis-shaped gummy in a bag of bears, there are a few very notable exceptions.
Really fucking weird ones.
The Borderline-Incestual Assassin Nuns In Mortal Heart
Mortal Heart is the final book in a New York Times bestselling YA series, His Fair Assassins, which is about nuns who are also assassins. They're not your grandpa's typical habit-wearing Catholic assassin nuns, though. They're nuns for knockoff Greek gods -- specifically the Dr. Thunder of death gods, Mortain. The handmaidens of death are supposed to be Mortain's daughters, which makes it real awkward in Mortal Heart when one of them starts hooking up with a guy who is obviously Mortain. "If I had a nickel," right?
Since Mortal Heart wasn't the first book I ever read, when they introduced a character named Balthazar who's super mysterious and leads a roving band of undead soldiers, I figured out he was Mortain in disguise pretty quickly. I assumed his appearance was a setup for Annith, the main character, to meet her dad. He had appeared briefly in human form to her sisters in the previous books. Then I was increasingly horrified as it became clear that Balthazar was both secretly her dad and her love interest.
Plot twist: Annith is revealed to not really be a daughter of Mortain, which we find out about two pages before she does the horizontal hula with him. She's weirdly chill about finding out she had a bit of "Who's your Daddy?" with a guy she grew up thinking was in fact her Daddy. Her main concern is what her sister nun assassins will think, and it does make for a pretty awkward conversation. To sum it up: "Hey, girls! Bad news! We're not really sisters. I know. Sad face. The glass is half full, though, because I might get to be your stepmom! Fingers crossed!"
You can tell the author is aware of how creepy this unexplored Game Of Thrones angle is because she immediately has a character declare that "Love is never wrong." And that sounds sweet without any context as to what actually happens in the book, but as soon as you think about it for more than a minute, it becomes something that you might read in a NAMBLA pamphlet. It needs just a couple more qualifiers. Something like "Side note: Love between consenting adults, and preferably not adults who are your father figures and also the gods of death, is never wrong."
The Teenage-Hungry Sex Demons In Many Waters
A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L'Engle is being made into a new feature film, and that's just great. But they better hope that it doesn't do well enough to get more movies based on the book's sequels, because that means we'd eventually get an adaptation of Many Waters, and things will get real awkward real fast. Most of Wrinkle In Time is pretty out there, but Many Waters is the only book in the series with a whole bunch of demon sex.
The main characters are Sandy and Dennys (I can't wait for the tie-in Denny's Wrinkle In Time What The Fuck Is Happening Value Pancake Meal), who are very minor characters in the previous books. They mess with their genius parents' computer and end up getting sent back in time to a world of angels, demons, unicorns, mini woolly mammoths, and a bunch of topless women (for historical accuracy, of course).
Noah is building his ark and angels are running around giving everybody side-eye, all while demons are getting everybody pregnant. If there were a Scholastic Book Award category for Most Mentions of "Rosy Breasts" In a YA Novel, this would win by a landslide. The back jacket reads like something written by E.L. James, and includes the phrase "sensuous invitations." If you ever catch me strangling someone, it's probably because they used a phrase like "sensuous invitations."
Demon sex is the killer Jaws shark of Many Waters. You never see it, but it's seemingly lurking everywhere, and it's terrifying. It's mainly used as a device to show that the world is corrupt and God has to drown everything just to wash away all the demon semen it's covered in. There's a really disturbing scene in which a young girl realizes she's experienced sexual attraction for the first time after meeting Sandy, and a demon instantly appears (presumably wearing an Ed Hardy shirt and reeking of Drakkar Noir) to tell her that, "There are many pleasures ahead for you to taste, and I would help you enjoy them all." Douchey misery goblins butting in to capitalize on your new sense of sexuality is pretty much exactly what happens to teenage girls during puberty. Maybe this books icks me out because it's too damn real.
The Horny Werewolves In Blood and Chocolate
Blood And Chocolate is a pretty typical pre-Twilight Twilight for werewolves. This time, the one being Twilighted is a boy. Being Twilighted is when a terrible monster tricks you into falling in love with it, right? Rush Limbaugh managed to Twilight four women. I'm using that term correctly, yes?
Anyway, the main character is a female werewolf named Vivian who falls in love with a human boy. Standard stuff for YA novels, which uses the story map of "Take a monster and make a teenager want to fuck it." Blood and Chocolate follows this pattern for most of its story, with a push-pull between Vivian's werewolf life and her human boyfriend. But then it just goes completely bonkers in the final chapters. Vivian ends up stuck between her wolf and human forms, until a guy who her mom has been trying to date makes her so horny that she has to turn into a werewolf. I feel like I've sexually harassed Microsoft Word by writing that sentence.
Here, let me allow author Annette Crutis Klause to harass it instead: She writhed against him. She wanted to bite him, she wanted to rip the flesh from his back, but most of all, she didn't want him to stop. Her back arched, her body shattered, she howled. If reading three sentences seems like an insurmountable task, the above passage basically said "That werewolf was, like, suuuuuuper horny."
This book was insanely popular in its time. It even got it's own film adaption, but apparently whoever decided to make the movie read the book and said, "I like two things about this: It has werewolves and it is terrible. Scrap all other aspects and let's make a completely different but equally horrible movie." Unfortunately, this scene never made it to the screen, as the potential love interest for both the mother and daughter is treated as more of a villain in the movie, and ends up being shot to death by Vivian instead of ... god damn it. You know what? I refuse to write the words "horny werewolf" ever again. I'm retired from both "horny" and "werewolf." It's "amorous big dog people" for me from here on out.
Falling In Love With Shapeshifting Horse Ghosts In The Awakening Of Sunshine Girl
Based on a popular YouTube series, these books follow Sunshine, a luiseach -- a person who can see surprisingly unsexy ghosts and help them move on to the afterlife. Awakening is the second book in the series, and the main plot focuses on Sunshine's long-lost father teaching her how to use her ghost powers. The romantic subplot focuses on Sunshine's crush on her friend Nolan, who is a human and not, as most teen novels would opt for, the ghost of a shapeshifting horse.
Of course, things can't be easy for Sunshine and her beau. They have to deal with a weird thing that's been going on since Book One, whereby whenever Sunshine touches him, she feels physically ill. This is apparently a real boner-killer for her. In Awakening, it's revealed that this is because her dad used his ghost magic to "limit her ability to touch anyone romantically." Just curious, was there a Sunshine Girl's Dad Curses Her Vagina subplot in the YouTube series, or this a novel exclusive? Also, it turns out that Sunshine's dad did some spooky in utero experiments on her, and that might have made her either the cause of an apocalypse or the only thing that can stop it. Pretty big coin toss there, DAD.
So Sunshine needs to be able to sacrifice her life if necessary to prevent the end of the world, and her dad thought she would never be willing to do that if she had an option to hang out with a boyfriend instead. The book is super vague on how magic works in its universe, but I like to picture a ghost punching Sunshine in the stomach every time she thinks about sex.
A Teen Is Horny For Her Uncle's (Really Old) Boyfriend In Primavera
This book manages to accomplish the difficult task of being more screwed up than its source material, the myth of Persephone, which is a classic love story that starts with a kidnapping. The myth was adapted into whatever the hell this is by Francesca Lisa Block, who was a super prolific YA novelist in the '90s. Everything she writes is really poetic and usually includes a troubled romance, but the romance is not usually between a girl and her uncle's boyfriend.
The catalyst for Primavera's journey is that she's in love with her uncle's longtime partner, Paul, who also helped raise her. She ends up leaving her family because she's so obsessed with Paul, and traveling to the city where her parents grew up. Primavera is the sequel to Ecstasia, in which we followed her parents as they escaped the same city Primavera is traveling to. But, you know, "Screw you, Mom and Dad! I can visit whatever post-apocalyptic dictatorship I want! And I'M NOT joining the football team!"
When Primavera leaves her home, I kind of hoped we were going to leave the whole Paul subplot behind, but nope! We check back in with Paul at the homestead, and he reveals that he's also attracted to Primavera. Specifically, he says: "You grew and I was amazed at your beauty. It almost frightened me at times. I didn't want you to come too near. I have never felt for women like this, but when I saw you calling up the sunflowers, I felt my heart beat as it does for Rafe [his boyfriend]."
By the way, that paragraph also begins with "When you were a baby, I almost felt as if you were my own." Thank god we're only related by my decades-long relationship with your relative, teenage girl. NOPE. NOPE. NOPE. Waiter, could you take this plotline away. There is far too much Ugh, Please, Anything But Fucking This in my soup. Primavera has an adventure and ends up returning home with a boyfriend who is suitably not her uncle's partner, thank god. But the catalyst for this whole journey is just so strange, it's always stuck with me. It's like if Harry Potter went to Hogwarts because he had to get away from his raging boner for Aunt Petunia.
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Try not to fall into passionate, sexual love with this ghost horse.
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