In keeping with my high school cafeteria analogy, I'm going to ask this question-
What would happen if the Prom Queen walked over and sat at the nerd table?
You can find your answer in It's Not About Me by Michelle Sutton. Her book is an edgy YA romance, a novel that is carving the way for others like it.
At first, I was a little reluctant to discuss this book. Not because of it's edginess, of course, but because it's a romance. I'm not a romance reader. I think I may have mentioned that once or twice :). I had intended to keep my reviews and discussions about books more in line with my genre, with the exception of those books from the review program I am a member of.
But, Michelle's book is for teens, and it fits perfectly in my analogy. (Yes, I did read it, too. It's not all kissing, but I won't give away the intense parts.)
The main character, Annie, is literally Prom Queen. She is judged based on her looks--by nearly everyone, including herself. But she soon discovers there is more to life than looks, and more to love than sex.
Oops--I just said the "s"-word, didn't I? Well, if you want to read Michelle's book you're going to have to get over that. She sticks to a biblical message, but she does so without mincing words.
And let's face it--you cannot mince words with teens today. If that scares you, if you are afraid of letting your teen daughter read something like this, then you need to take a trip to the local bookstore or library and read what is in the secular teen books.
Guess what--sex, sex, and more sex. And there are no biblical standards to be seen. (Well, there's abstinence in Twilight, but that's only to avoid death by vampirism.)
Michelle tackles the issue of teen sex, no holds barred, and from a biblical perspective. She tackles a few other issues, too.
My point? Being a nerd does not isolate us from the problems faced by prom queens. Nerds deal with pressure for sex, drinking, drugs, and all the others teen issues. We have the same hormones, the same insecurities, the same needs as prom queens and jocks. Nerds, populars, geeks and freaks, Christians and non-Christians--we're all human. Christians are not immune to issues of the world any more than nerds are immune to the pressures of high school.
The difference is, Christians have the Bible as a guidebook to live by, and to turn to when dealing with these issues. But if we want our teens to go to the Bible for guidance, we need to show them why and how. There are reasons God lays His laws out, and teens need to understand the consequences of ignoring those laws, and the rewards for obeying them, in terms that apply to their lives.
It's hard to see beyond "me" in this world. Add to that raging hormones and peer pressure, and it's nearly impossible. Teens need books that help them regain, or newly gain, their focus on Christ so they can face the hurricane of adolesence.
Nerds may study physics for fun, but if you want prom queens to understand gravitational pull, you need to show them how it affects them. And go deeper than, "It leads to saggy skin someday."
Visit Michelle's website at http://www.michellesutton.net/ where you can learn about Michelle and her books, and link to Christian Fiction Online Magazine. She has several blogs, including http://edgyinspirationalauthor.blogspot.com/, which, as the name implies, is focused on her thoughts on edgy Christian fiction.
PS--I just realized...me reading romance...that makes punk-nerd meets prom queen. Oh, my :).