Bibliographic information: Evil?. Timothy Carter. Flux, 2009. $9.99. 256p. ISBN-13: 9780738715391.
Summary: Stuart already didn’t fit in very well in his small religious town because he is gay. Well, somehow he managed to make himself even more of an outcast and create a riot among the town. Stuart was taking a shower, the best time to do his business because you can wash everything right down the drain, no mess to clean up. He was about done when his younger brother walks into the bathroom and sees him going at it, right int he middle of his self-gratification. Yep, that’s embarrassing. What Stuart didn’t anticipate was his little brother ratting him out at church during discussion. For some reason, suddenly, it is the greatest sin to commit, the Sin of Onan, and he is the only one who doesn’t see the problem with. Really, it’s his body, he can do whatever he wants with it, right? It’s not like he was hurting himself, quite the opposite. But it’s turns out to be not alright, so Stuart decides to summon a demon, Fon Pyre, to help him out. He discover that the new scripture teacher, who just happens to be a fallen angel, is the culprit behind the chaos.
Reading level and interest level: RL: 12 and up IL: grade 8 and up
Review: Hilarious and diabolical, this story takes religion, gay relationships and self-pleasure to a whole new level. Stuart is gay, but the church can accept that. However, when his younger brother catches him committing the Sin of Onan, masturbation, things turn disastrous and pretty soon the town is rioting. Apparently it is not okay to take part in the act of self-pleasure, it is the greatest sin and oddly, Stuart is the only one who doesn’t seem to think so. Now things start to get interesting. Stuart summons a demon for help, discovers a fallen angel is the culprit behind everybody being against pleasing yourself, and learns of the impending doom of a horde of demons ready to be let loose to terrorize the town. Carter makes a satire out of the fear of all things sexual and provides the reader with a new view to think about, as well as, a new set of vocabulary, all related to masturbation, sure to create loads of entertainment for teen readers. Carter does a great job of showing how some people go a little overboard when it comes to things that are natural and healthy to do.
Readers’ annotation: Who ever thought the act of self pleasure would set an entire town against you and unleash a horde of demons? Stuart never thought so, but he couldn’t be more wrong.
Bibliotherapeutic usefulness: Some teens may grow up in a home that is heavily religious or just strict and they are told they should never touch themselves because it is bad or that it is a sin. This humorous book will give guidance to these teens and let them know that it is okay to explore your own body and that you should feel comfortable with yourself.
Issues present: There is masturbation and a gay teenager. Some people will object to these things, they have in the past. People who practice Christianity tend to believe that self pleasure is a sin and you should not take part in such actions. But it is important that all teens know that masturbation is a perfectly healthy, natural and acceptable act. We should not discourage our children from exploring their own bodies so that they may understand their bodies better and perhaps refrain from acting out through other means by getting it all out of their systems themselves. Also, ones sexuality is a part of who they are and should not be frowned upon.
Booktalk ideas: Introduce Stuarts character.
Fallen angels, hordes of demons, and one gay, self pleasing guy named Stuart.
Genre or subject: Fantasy: angels, demons, sexuality, religion
Readalikes: Other Timothy Carter novels, The Prophecy, Good Omens, Repossessed
Author’s website: http://timothycarterworld.com/
Awards: Rainbow List Award for Young Adult Fiction (2010)
Reviews: Kirkus Review: http://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/timothy-carter/evil-3/; Publisher’s Weekly: http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-7387-1539-1
Why I chose it: Carter is a great author and captures the personality of a teen boy quite well. This book has a couple controversial topics and thought I should include it.