Book Review: On the Subject of Unmentionable Things by Julia Walton

"Sometimes when you are nervous, it's comforting to imagine that you're some place else."

--Julia Walton, On the Subject of Unmentionable Things

In this passionately honest and wonderfully uncomfortable novel from the bestselling author of Words on Bathroom Walls, a girl rewrites sex education one viral post at a time. A bluntly frank book about sex, social media, and having the guts to seek the truth in an environment where disinformation is rampant is written by Julia Walton. How could the truth be so shocking?

Synopsis from Goodreads...

Phoebe Townsend is a rule follower . . . or so everyone thinks. She’s an A student who writes for her small-town school newspaper. But what no one knows is that Phoebe is also Pom—the anonymous teen who’s rewriting sex education on her blog and social media.

Phoebe is not a pervert. No, really. Her unconventional hobby is just a research obsession. And sex should not be a secret. As long as Phoebe stays undercover, she’s sure she’ll fly through junior year unnoticed. . . .

That is, until Pom goes viral, courtesy of mayoral candidate Lydia Brookhurst. The former beauty queen labels Phoebe’s work an “assault on morality,” riling up her supporters and calling on Pom to reveal her identity. But Phoebe is not backing down. With her anonymity on the line, is it all worth the fight?

My reaction to this novel...

This book provided a lot of accurate information regarding the reproductive system, in my opinion. Actually, this is the only book I've read that not only discusses sex in a nonoffensive way, but also clearly explains it. Truthfully, even though it is common and a part of everyone's lives, we all find it difficult to talk about this subject in front of everyone. As a nurse, I was astounded by the author's thorough understanding of the reproductive system and her curiosity about sex, which would surely help others understand themselves and their sexuality better. She discusses sex, sexual behavior, and sexual health in a honest and insightful way that I think every teen should read.

Unlike other romance books that are full of shoddy sex, which I believe is no longer sex because the participants are hurting each other, I did not feel offended when reading this one. By the way, I believe that this is one of those essential novels that is written with teens in mind. The topics of racism, discrimination, and giving in to societal pressure are also mentioned. It also covers on everything that is now important, including marriage equality, religious fundamentalism, reproductive suffrage, and unmistakably traditional attitude. Despite the fact that it is a fictional piece, I believe that many young readers will benefit from the factual information it contains. This has a lot of today's reality going through it.

I also felt that the characters are well-developed, and the narrative keeps things going at a reasonable pace. Walton does a fantastic job of controlling it for a younger audience and demonstrating how ideas can converge and turn communities and families towards one another. Because it was so authentic and straightforward, the author surprised the reader by not giving them what they were expecting to read—especially with regards to the scene of the election winner. You will believe that it is headed in the right way, but it will then smash your assumptions because you will realize that what you anticipated will not transpire.

I really liked how Julia Walton wrote this novel without coming across as offensive. I have no trouble suggesting it to just about anyone because it's undoubtedly a pleasant and worthwhile read.

My Overall Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐✨(4.5/5)

"Humans are absolutely capable of great, overaching cruelty."

Though I believe that everyone has some goodness within them, I also feel that some are cruel. I often ponder how individuals were able to do awful things to others when I watch the news. How they are able to endure the terrible things they have done to someone. Some go so far as to hurt both people and animals. Perhaps, even if everyone has some goodness, they also have some cruelty in them. 


Disclaimer: Booksreadbyhannel is not a business website. The opinions expressed here are unbiased and based only on my own feelings and reactions while reading the books I featured here in my blog. My reviews reflect my utmost sincerity. I paid for the books I review here out of my own pocket. Books provided by authors and publishers are otherwise specified.