27 September 2010

Sexy Book Review: The Bermudez Triangle

As I said in my Sunday Salon, this weeks' reads and reviews are focused on sex, the positive, life-affirming, chills-inducing good stuff, the stuff people want to remove from our libraries so as to not "corrupt" our youth. Well youth be warned...and let the sexy begin...

Title: The Bermudez Triangle
Author: Maureen Johnson
Publisher: Razorbill (Penguin)
Release Date: 12 October 2004
Date Finished: 26 September 2010

Buy | Borrow | Accept | Avoid

Challenges: 100+ Reading Challenge, Reading Resolutions, Women UnBound, YA Reading Challenge, GLBT Challenge, Hogwarts Reading Challenge,

The Short and Sweet of It
The summer before their senior year, the Bermudez Triangle finds themselves spending time apart. Nina heads off to a leadership program, where she falls in love with an environmentally conscious-hippie-ish Steve. Mel and Avery have their own summer romance back at home. With each other. When she returns, she is surprised and confused by the separation she feels from Mel and Avery, but things make a bit more sense when she catches them making out.

The Sex of It aka Why It's Banned
Once again, the primary motivation for our holier-than-thou book banners challenging this one is homosexuality. Nothing overtly sexual is detailed on the page. As a matter of fact, most sexual activity is merely suggested, taking place off the page, and what readers get to see remains in the realm of kissing. In fact, this may be the most explicitly sexual passage in the book:
They were kissing.

Kissing. As in kissing.

The real deal. Mel had Avery pressed into the corner. Her hands were on Avery's waist. Avery's hands were lost somewhere in Mel's hair. Full-on, serious making out.

Not too porn-like is it? This is a really tame story, so the fuss seems ridiculous. Perhaps the real reason for the sensationalism is the awesome way Johnson portrays the gray areas of sexuality. Avery is not gay, not bi, not straight; she doesn't know what she is, but I kept thinking about how wonderful it was to see a character attracted to individual people instead of a gender.

Having just read Deliver Us From Evie, I was primed for the following passage:
No one would call Mel a dyke. Mel wore pink shirts and cute little necklaces, and she had all of that long, orangey hair that was always whipped into some adorable arrangement. She hated Mel's cuteness at that moment...Mel had nothing to worry about. Only Avery would be seen as the rough dyke who lusted after the cheerleaders and couldn't be trusted in the locker room after gym. Other girls would put their books up over their boobs when they passed her in the hall, and they'd stop fixing their makeup when she walked into the bathroom. They would see her as a predator trying to sneak a peek or cop a feel...

I found it interesting that both books emphasized the struggles more butch lesbians have over the more feminine-looking. I guess it makes sense - being able to "blend" deflects attention, but Mel certainly receives more negative attention than Avery in the story.

Overall Recommendation
The characters in this book are smart, funny, distinct individuals who felt amazingly real to me while I was reading. Actually, the entire book felt real; the plot perfectly plausible (that was a lot of ps) and the details of the setting and the minor and supporting characters felt authentic. There is no explicit sex, vulgar language, or really anything that wouldn't be perfectly fine for a middle-grade kid to read. And as it is very well-written, I recommend this book for all ages.

This Book Around the Web
If I've missed your review, let me know!

things mean a lot; The Zen Leaf; GoodReads;

A Sexy Question: When shopping together, do you go into the dressing room with your significant other?

I do, just so you know. I follow Brian right into the little room to make sure everything fits and to just sit down. :) I must admit, however, that I have never made out in a dressing room....

Sexiness Kiss Quotient:


  1. I read a whole bunch on Johnson's page about the people trying to ban this book. She did it all in true comic form (would you expect anything else from her?) and was talking on about how amazed she was that her characters were having sex and she didn't even know about it. :D

  2. This sounds like a great book & I love the cover! It's absolutely ridiculous that it's suggested this book be banned. Kissing? Really?! Come on. Oh wait, there's the word dyke in the book, Oh No! Not That! SHEESH!

    These same Book Banners are probably perfectly okay with books about war, shooting people, bloodshed and bodies torn apart being read by all ages...but woman kissing?! Oh the horrors! So ridiculous. Just leave the books alone, all of them , puhleeeese!

    As for the dressing room question, I definitely go into the dressing room with my hubs, take a seat & make sure the clothes he tries on fit well & that he tries them all on, not just one shirt or pair of pants, assuming all the others will fit as well simply because they are shirts & pants, too! Silly hubs!

    Great post!
    ~ Amy

  3. We always go into the changing room together also. Never made out but have definitely flirted around the idea, lol

  4. It's crazy to think that something that seems so well written and innocuous is being banned. I loved your review, and think that this book sounds like something that I'd really enjoy reading. Thanks for your insight on this book. I loved the longer quote you used as well.

  5. Holy cow, I can't believed they kissed! It's unbelievable to me that someone would want that book banned for that - they must live under a rock.

  6. Oooh this sounds great! I've heard about it but never picked it up. Now I must pick it up at some point. I'm happy to see that you liked it.

  7. I LOVE this book. I can't believe there are people out there who think it should be banned. It was the first Maureen Johnson book I ever read and made me love her. Great review!

  8. This looks like such a great book! Thanks for telling us about it and I love that you're doing sexy books for Banned Book Week- how perfect!

  9. Amanda - Isn't strange how these prudish people see sex where there is none? Telling...

    Amy - LOL! We do have to watch them don't we? Otherwise we'll constantly be bringing things back. And you're right - violence is okay, sex is not. Very strange.

    Marce - Haha! Can't do it myself either.

    Heather - If you haven't read it yet, you really should. It was a great read!

    Kathy - I know right!?! Kissing is just scandalous.

    Amy - I definitely think you should read it. I thought it was a really good read.

    Caitie - I do want to pick up more Maureen Johnson now. It was such a fun read.

    Marie - Sexy is fun! And you definitely should pick this one up some time.

  10. Oh my gosh ... I'm scandalized that ... they kissed! <-----sarcasm (just to be clear).

  11. I always follow my husband into the dressing room (he is a Brian too!). I definitely want to read this one.

  12. Jenners - I know! Kissing is so dirty and sinful!

    Stephanie - Yay for Brians!


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