Bad news, kiddies: Darkling is not the greatest book I've ever forgotten about from my youth. Most notably, the main character was like a horse-loving Bella Swan in training. She has low self esteem (though the author informs us that she remains a slender 112 lbs exactly no matter what she eats. What a relief). Also she has seemingly no ambition and at the end of the novel is left with neither the guy nor the horse. Yeesh.
Looking back, the sex scene was actually pretty realistic. Basically it's quick and not all that great. This, we are told, is because they're both virgins and don't have any idea what they're doing. In fact, Jenny, the protagonist describes herself as a "hopeless virgin" whatever that means. The term strikes me as both disturbing and humorous, particularly since Jenny goes on to express her sympathy for guys, "not knowing [they] could until [they] tried."
Oh, JENNY. I realize that being understanding and just sort of hanging around are your two major characteristics but still, you don't need to be quite this understanding. Guys do just fine and I doubt they ever wonder whether or not they can actually DO IT or not, they just want to practice as much as possible. You are really making a play for Bella Swan of 1989, aren't you?
As far as YA sex goes, this scene was pretty understated (no pillow biting, for example). There's even an oblique reference to condoms, which totally went over my head at the time.
Note: I was just going to quote the two condom-related lines, but I think you deserve more than that. I couldn't resist at least one parenthetical comment--anything in parentheses is from me not the author K. M. Peyton.
"I've got to put this bloody thing on--"
"Yes." Of course, but she had forgotten all about it. (Tsk tsk!)
"Oh Jenny, now, now--"
He lay over her and put his face down into hers. She opened herself up to him and lay startled by his force and the primeval (PRIMEVAL!) directness of the operation.
Okay. Wow, right? I don't remember when I read this book, but it was during my Girls Love Horses phase, so I'm guessing around fifth grade. As far as I remember, this is the only book I read with a sex scene other than my aunt's romance novel,which you may recall from my previous post (linked to, if you need a refresher) and which was more effective than health class in convincing me to practice abstinence for as long as possible, preferably into old age, really.
So what did I know about sex when I was going through puberty? Or rather, what did I think I knew? That it's primeval and that body parts got encrusted with blood. All in all, a pretty violent spectacle, don't you think? This explains a lot about my teenage years.
Used book stores = cheaper than therapy.