He Gave Her Roses cover

Choose Your Own Sex Adventure

He Gave Her Roses
Grove
1990

Submitter:┬áThis book is a “choose-your-own-ending” type of book about dating, but with a heavy religious theme, full of fear, shame, and judgement; and putting all the responsibility on the girl. In my opinion, it has no place in a public library to begin with, but it’s been sitting on my library’s YA shelves since 1990, even though it had not been checked out in over six years, and only a few times total. The cover art is horrendous, the girl looks like either a mannequin or corpse, and the story is even worse.

Stacey has her first serious boyfriend and is faced with deciding to have sex. In some of the paths, she ends up pregnant, and may have an abortion, give up the baby, or keep it. She may or may not marry the father, may or may not finish school. The ending that caught my eye was the one where she went to college and started dating a nice Christian boy, but then he dumps her when he finds out she’s not a virgin. But she doesn’t blame him, she just wonders if she will ever find anyone to love her. You know, now that she’s damaged goods and all. Just gross!

Holly: That’s a new one: Choose your own sex adventure.

dating cover

Don’t make a dating mistake!

Dating
Narramore
1961

Looking for some old fashioned advice about dating? Here is an option for you from the early 1960s. I found this in a university library which is probably the most appropriate place for this material.

Considering it is the early 1960s and geared to Christian teens, you can probably guess how the advice goes:

  • Don’t date someone who isn’t a Christian
  • Save your sexual purity for marriage
  • Don’t go out to clubs, movies, and do other “non-Christian” activities
  • Listen to your parents

It is important to remember that getting pregnant out of wedlock was pretty much the worst thing that could happen to a woman. You could get fired from a job, kicked out of school, shunned by family or shipped off to an “unwed mothers” home. Hence, these books were really about putting the literal fear of God in teenagers.

cover

9th Grade Angst-Friday Fiction

How do you lose those 9th grade blues
DeClements
1984

Today’s selection is definitely dated and for extra giggles, a bit creepy. This book is the second in the Elsie series by DeClements. The first book is Nothing’s Fair in Fifth Grade, where we meet Elsie Edwards. Elsie is the proverbial “fat girl” and is struggling with weight.

In this sequel, Elsie is a girl who has lost the weight and now is deemed pretty by her peers. But wait, she is still not happy! Elsie can’t believe boys are interested in her. But wait! A senior boy named Craddoc (what is with this name?) starts asking Elsie out and eventually they start dating.

Craddoc is a football player and kind of the “it” guy at high school. Elsie initially thinks this is weird since she is a freshman and he is a senior. I got ick vibes from the get go. Then I read read Craddoc’s line to Elsie: “maybe it’s lucky I got you so young so I can train you.” (Run Elsie, this guy is no good!)

dating game cover

The Dating Game for Christian Teens

The Dating Game
Miles
1975

If you are old enough you probably looking at the cover and expecting the book to be about the actual Dating Game. Similar font and general look. However, this Dating Game is directed at young people. Although the author is self-professed biblical fundamentalist, it isn’t as bad as some books in this category.

If this was 1975, and you were looking for a Christian teen dating book, this would probably be fine. Themes and topic aside, these materials age because the references and examples. Today’s teens (and their parents) probably wouldn’t understand or relate to any of the references. By the mid 1970s the Dating Game tv show was more or less relegated to re-runs and was kind of outdated reference for a teen book in 1975.

teen dating cover

Teen Dating in the 1980s

Teen Dating
Stewart
1984

Aside from the crunchy brown paper, and a girl sporting a Cosby sweater, this isn’t too bad on the teen dating advice front. Yes it is outdated, but the advice is pretty generic. Look for qualities that are about friendship, be respectful, etc. A lot of the book is devoted to understanding social situations. There are tips on throwing a party, entertaining a date, going to prom, and other group activities as well.

However, it is glaringly out of date in terms of technology and social norms. I also think it is important to reiterate how important cover art is to getting someone to actually pick up the book. Fast forward 10 or so years, and the book looks dated. After 30 years, it is a book suitable for this blog.

picking a winner cover

Christian Teens and Dating

Dating
Picking (and Being) a Winner
St. Clair and Jones
1987

Are you a fun loving Christian teen? Worried about picking a loser for a life partner or a casual date? This is your book. These guys want you to avoid the panic and stick to dating Christians only. It just saves time since anything else will eventually fail. Aside from the “don’t date non-Christians,” the other stuff is about being a good person. They also offer standard advice about complimenting your date. Girls, you need to know that guys scare easily, so make sure you give him enough space. He doesn’t want the ball and chain just yet.

teen you are dating cover

Teen Dating Again

The Teen-Ager You’re Dating
Christian view of sex
for girls about boys
for boys about girls
Riess
1964

Books about teen love/dating/sex are a staple here at ALB. They usually have the same themes, such as boys are out of control and it’s up to girls to keep them in check, or sexy clothes and makeup send the wrong message to boys. This book is no different. Even those books that are geared to both boys and girls, the message is clear that girls are in charge since the boys are like wild animals. (Totally not their fault. They can’t help it!) Girls must be mindful about their appearance as not to tempt those boys who are facing pressures and urges that girls can’t understand. So, ladies, keep those legs crossed and those collars high.

love dating sex cover

Don’t let sex ruin your life!

What Teens Want to Know About
Love Dating and Sex
Eager
1989

This Christian-oriented teen book spends page after page on the “don’t have sex” message. I am okay with a no sex message, but the slut shaming is awful. If you are a girl, your life will be ruined if you have sex. In addition, you will probably die alone or commit tons of adultery. By the way, it is also implied that girls have to be the moral one in this scenario since boys evidently can’t control themselves.

There is very little substance other than pages and pages of disasters about losing your virginity. Mr. Eager (don’t you love that name!) says you can prevent rape as well.