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The Birds, the Bees, and You and Me


Experience isn't everything.

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Swoon Index

  • Heat

    6 (11 ratings)

  • Tears

    5 (10 ratings)

  • Laughs

    6 (8 ratings)

  • Thrills

    6 (10 ratings)

Full Description

Seventeen-year-old Lacey Burke is the last person on the planet who should be doling out sex advice. For starters, she’s never even kissed anyone, and she hates breaking the rules. Up until now, she's been a straight-A music geek that no one even notices. All she cares about is jamming out with her best friends, Theo and Evita.

But then everything changes.

When Lacey sees first-hand how much damage the abstinence-only sex-ed curriculum of her school can do, she decides to take a stand and starts doling out wisdom and contraception to anyone who seeks her out in the girls' restroom. But things with Theo become complicated quickly, and Lacey is soon not just keeping everyone else’s secrets, but hers as well.


“I’m gonna walk Theo out,” I say. “I promise I love my body and all of its life-giving functionality,” I assure her. I grab Theo’s hand and pull him up the stairs to the foyer before my mom can say something else.

Outside it’s warm and muggy. “I can practically feel my cello going out of tune,” Theo says as he puts it in his trunk.

“Where are you headed?” I ask him. Since his older sister went away to college, Theo avoids being home as much as possible. He doesn’t really talk about it, but Evita and I know.

“I guess I’ll try to catch up with Evita.”

“You want company?” I ask him.

“Nah. Seriously. You guys were having a Norman Rockwell moment in there before I opened my mouth.”

“You should stay. We can just hang out in my room. I have something…” but I shake my head. I should wait for his birthday.

“Nah. I gotta catch Evita at some point anyway. Unless you’ll miss me too much,” he says wryly.

“Nah. Have fun. I’m tired. Waking up for school is kicking my ass.”

He nods. “Alright. Goodnight, Lacey.” He hugs me. “Please don’t wear turtlenecks. I don’t want to be embarrassed to be seen with you,” he jokes.

“Sexist pig,” I joke.

“Is it sexist to tell you, you smell good?”

I laugh at this, because he’s always asking Evita and me about what shampoo we use, because he wishes his hair smelled good. “No. But it’s weird.”

“Okay. See you later.” He folds himself into the driver’s seat of his dad’s old muscle car. I watch him drive off. Theo knows something’s bothering me, and I start to wonder if something’s bothering him and I just haven’t been paying attention. There’s like this background noise I haven’t been aware of.


NPR Best YA Book of 2019

"I've been waiting for a long time for a YA like this! Olivia Hinebaugh's debut is bold, bright, and refreshingly sex positive, with an authentic voice that wouldn't let me go. This is the book I needed at sixteen." —Rachel Lynn Solomon, author of Our Year Of Maybe and You'll Miss Me When I'm Gone

"A dense and ambitious debut novel, covering a myriad of subjects from the ethics of sex ed to a girl's first sexual encounter. ... Covers important topics in a thoughtful, respectful and knowledgeable manner. I would recommend it to fans of the subversive new Netflix series Sex Education." —NPR

"Speaks against abstinence-only sex education, promotes sex-positive curriculum that does not demonize or stigmatize sex for all students (including LGBTQ+ teens), and is grounded in personal choice and mutual consent. ... With our news riddled with stories of pedophile priests and sexual assault at the hands of politicians and coaches, this book offers a welcome, frank discussion of healthy sexual relationships." —VOYA

"An inclusive, sex-positive romance with plenty of moxie." —Booklist

"I love love love this feminist, sex-positive, consent heavy, condoms-for-everyone, knowledge-is-power book. ... I wish we could make this book required reading for every high school and college student." —Pages and Pugs

“Fast-paced, great dialogue, and likeable characters.” —Allison Miller, Swoon Reader

“You created complex characters and relationships, had fun dialogue, and weaved an amazing story… Overall, this was great and all the different parts of the story really worked well.” —Caralin, Swoon Reader

“It was wonderful— and that's all that needs to be said. ... And it was a story that kept me hooked. In fact, I read it all in one night.” —IsabellaGrace, Swoon Reader