Testimony – Book Giveaway!

I’m excited to announce that my next book giveaway is going to be Testimony by Anita Shreve [review], in partnership with Hachette Book Group! A big thank you to Miriam for providing this book for me to give away.

I’m going to twist the entry rules a little bit. In order to enter, leave a comment on this post answering the following question: What are your thoughts on the book’s topic? I know most, if not all of you, haven’t read the book, so here’s an elaboration. Specifically, let’s say there’s a 14-year-old girl and one eighteen-year-old guy (to simplify things a little bit) and they have sexual relations. Can the girl be responsible if she seduced him? Or should the guy always be mature enough to say no? Is there blame at all? The thing I loved about this book was the discussion it would provoke, so I want to hear some of that in the comments.

So, comment on this post to enter, with a second entry if you blog about it and link back here. Contest is open to US & Canada only since Hachette is providing the book. The closing date of the contest is October 29 at 11:59 PM. I’ll draw the winner on October 30, so make sure I have a way of getting in touch with you if you win.

Good luck!


  1. S. Krishna: no need to enter me in the contest, but I wanted to answer your question.

    I want to say that the blame is on both parties, at least in this instance. The female character in spite of her age clearly knew what she was doing and clearly made a conscious decision to exaggerate the circumstances. The males on the other hand clearly knew what the girl was after and gave it to her when they should have known to say no given her age and their inebriation.

  2. Gee, now I really can’t wait to read the book!! Can a 14 year-old girl be seductive enough for an 18year-old guy? Magazine ads sure make it look that way. The question of maturity is difficult; some guys are mature at 18, and some aren’t mature until, well… The bottom line in legal terms is whether the male or female is 18 years old, he/she owns the crime.

  3. I am really eager to read this book — thanks for the chance to win a copy. Obviously, the issues are very complicated and children do not all mature at the same rate. However, I do think personal responsibility and the consequences from one’s actions should be stressed from a very young age. Yes, I certainly think a 14-year-old girl could seduce an 18-year-old boy. Should she bear some responsibility? Yes, again. But boys need to be aware that at 18, they are considered adults, and they have to face adult responsibilities and consequences. We all have to learn to control our impulses – this is where our intellect must sometimes fight and conquer our biology. That’s part of being civilized. It’s been said that childrearing is really about civilizing children. Another debatable issue would be, is 18 too young to be considered an adult? The mantle must be assumed at some age, but when?
    Looking forward to reading some comments!
    geebee.reads AT gmail DOT com

  4. I haven’t read the book yet..but just as you described a 14 year old and a 18 year old; IMO the 18 year old is the culpable party.

  5. Ooh, this is a really interesting question, Swapna! I’m looking forward to the responses you get. No need to enter me, though.

    I think the blame is equally shared in this instance. The girl knew what she was doing and I think it’s pretty clear that she wanted it to happen and if not for the tape, would have gone on her merry way. The boys are also definitely to blame, though, because they should have said no.

    From a legal standpoint, however, I do think the boys should be to blame. It’s incredibly hard to prove a case of rape and even though the girl was partly at fault in this instance, I would imagine it to be most frequently the other way around. It’s very difficult for a young girl to rape an older boy and the boy should be able to resist a seduction. In the interest of protecting girls who are actually raped, I’d have to convict the boys.

  6. I think blame falls on both of the individuals involved, but each person’s culpability is related to their level of maturity and their capacity to make such a decision, consider the consequences, and give their informed consent. Most states consider 14-year-olds to be too young to consent to consent to sexual activity, but I’ve met some mature 14-year-olds and some immature 18-year-olds. In legal terms, the person who is considered an adult (in this case, the boy) must bear in mind that he will be held responsible and could be tried for statutory rape, whether the younger person gave consent or not. I absolutely think a 14-year-old girl could seduce an 18-year-old boy, but who deser4ves the blame would depend on the situation and the individuals. Thanks for a thought provoking contest!

  7. I think both parties are to blame but I’d like to think that an 18+ year old should be able to walk away if seduced. The 14 year definitely should be included in the blame though. Definitely want to read this book!


  8. LOL. Here’s a legal answer. Most states consider this statutory rape. Despite varying maturity levels most courta find that children under 18 cannot make this decision. It’s a line drawn in the sand but it is one of many. Incidentally it’s the same with drinking if you are under age even if you only have a half a glass of wine you are considered legally drunk.

    Sure the girl is to blame but that guy really ought to have known better. Has he never heard the expression jail bait?

  9. Sounds interesting and I’ve never won a book before

  10. I think that both parties are responsible. 14 is plenty old enough to know what you are doing. 18 should be old enough to walk away, but knowing you should and doing it are two differnt things. Thanks for a great contest!

  11. I think that the responsibility of such a … decision is on both parties. They obviously both know the rules and laws that are involved.I don’t really like the word “blame” because I like to believe that love is a term that anyone can understand at any age. But if they truly liked each other to that extent, surely they could have waited. I think both parties should take responsibility, especially if the girl knowingly seduced the guy. It seems to be too harsh on the guy since he is a boy, and the 18 year old. No matter what, he’s the one with something to lose.

    Please enter me in the giveaway. It sounds like a good book to read about this issue. Thanks.

    Carmen T

  12. that’s an interesting question and it’s nice to read all the comments you have already received. I really think it should always been the older person who has to be more responsible.. but it gets tricky when the guy is older (you know what they say about guys maturing late)..If i absolutely have to take a stand, I would blame the older person..but then again, i think this needs to be evaluated on a case to case basis.

    Do enter me for the giveaway! this sounds like an interesting book to read!

  13. I’ve posted this at Win A Book. No need to enter the contest.

  14. Oh man! I love me some controversy and passionate discussion!
    Well…. that question makes me think of ‘Lolita’ and frankly, I kind of felt as if she was seducing pervy old Humbert.
    I also think that a 14 year old girl is seducing an 18 year old guy it means she’s doing something out of her own volition. It’s almost… sinister in a way. Like the girl knows she’s teasing this older guy and knows he’s not supposed to want her but she does it anyways.
    It’s like there’s a fat kid and there’s a freaking huge chocolate cake. And then BOOM the cakes starts to talk to the fat kid and starts to inch closer. Do you blame it on the ravenous fat kid? Or can you blame the sweet-talking cake a little bit too?

    Answer: you can blame that smack-talking cake for making you fatter

  15. Excellent question. I have two seniors (almost 18) and a freshman (14). They have a friend or two who is an 18 year old guy dating 14 year old girls. They are relentless in giving the guy a hard time about it. Why can 18 year olds not find someone their own age to date. And why would any 14 year old girl’s parents allow her to date a man? There is plenty of blame to go around.

  16. I think the 18 year old needs to walk away and should take most of the responsibility. I think it is like the 14 year old is an accessory to the crime. What young girl doesn’t want an older boyfriend? It’s a status thing. As young and appealing as the girl may be, the 18 knows better and should stay away.

  17. I would like to win this book. To answer the question, I think that both parties to blame. However, as others have stated, I think that the blame should be alloted based on age, maturity, and power in the situation. Those with more maturity and power should share more of the blame.

  18. I keep hearing how good this book is. You’ve brought up a great question and I don’t think there is an easy answer. Of course there are legal aspects involved but it’s not easy to tell someone, especially teens, to turn off their feelings or their hormones. I think it’s a bad situation to be in because at that age 4 years makes a huge difference but it’s so different now to be a teen with all of the exposure to sex in our society. And kids develop so much sooner and are often pressured to mature quicker that it’s easy to assume that kids are more mature than they really are. Our brains don’t match our bodies at that age and teens need all of the support and guidance they can get. Thanks for your offer and I’ll also include your contest on my blog.


  19. I just read your review, and I’d love to be entered for the chance to win this book.

    I’m a big fan of personal responsibility. I’ve known quite a few girls who became sexually active at a young age (a good friend was 14, and her boyfriend was nearly 18 when they began their sexual relationship), and the girls always knew what they were doing, and were just as responsible for what was happening as the guys involved. Should the guy say no? Probably. But what 18 year old is going to turn down a sure thing? They’re few and far between.

    Provided both parties were consenting, I’d hesitate to say anyone is to blame. Yes, it’s a big thing for girls to handle at such a young age, and yes, an older guy should know better than to risk an illegal relationship. But as long as they both understood what they were getting in to, what is there to blame?

    shooting_starr6 (at) yahoo (dot) com

  20. There certainly is a gray area here, but I believe that both parties are responsible to a degree. However, ultimatley the guy is the adult in this situation and (hopefully) mature enough to know he is dealing with a minor, therefore, he should be held more accountable than she. Even though it isn’t fair because she was a willing participant.

    I blogged about this on my book blog here: http://southerngal-lisa.blogspot.com/2008/10/testimony-giveaway-at-s-krishnas-books.html AND on my MySpace Blog here:www.myspace.com/flgator64

    Thanks For the chance to win this intriguing book Swapna!

  21. If you asked this question 10 years ago I would have laughed as at that time IMO 14 year old girls would not have been able to turn the head of most 18 year old boys. BUT, so much has changed in the past 10 years that this question is completely plausible now!!!!

    I do believe that both parties are at fault in such a situation. 14 year old girls are fully aware of how to make themselves look older and more appealing to older guys. I don’t think they understand fully what they are getting themselves into at times though.

    An 18 year old male, fully knows better than to let himself get involved with a 14 year old girl and should absolutely use his common sense to steer clear.

  22. I think some of these young girls cave into pressure and are made to think they are childish if they have not had sexual experience at this age. It’s really unfortunate they think this way. On the other hand, some of them are so brazen, they throw themselves at guys. Personal responsiblity needs to be more emphasized especially the consequences of their actions. I think this will a well written book as I have enjoyed other Shreve writings. Please enter me in your contest
    florida982002@yahoo dot com

  23. Wow, this looks like such a great book. To answer your question, I think both parties are in the wrong. Yes, the male should have used common sense and said no, but at the same time the 14 year old girl knew what she was doing. She seduced him and it worked, so she should have some of the blame as well.

  24. I just posted a link at my blog to your contest at

    florida982002@yahoo dot com

  25. Most fourteen-year-olds today know exactly what they’re doing when they seduce someone. Of course she’s as responsible as he is, but… He’ll pay for the crime as determined by law in many places, but she’s just as culpable. Please enter me, I really want to read this book.

  26. Even though there is a 4 year age difference, I personally think that girls mature faster than boys and intellectually that puts them both at a about the same place. I’d have to say that they are both responsible.

    Please enter me to win a copy of this book.


  27. Very eager to see what this one stirs up as I remember a young man prosecuted for allowing an underage girl to perform oral sex with him. As the mother of two sons I always worried about this….

    Please enter me in this contest through my Tasses email link. I have blogged about this contest on Random Wonder.

  28. Wow, this book sounds so intriguing!
    To answer your question, I believe both parties to be at fault, however the 18-year old should probably receive more of the blame because he really should know better. If we are giving 18 year olds the right to vote and in some places the right to buy and consume alcohol(such as where I live,in Quebec) then that is signifying that they are old enough and mature enough to make the right/appropriate choices.

    Thanks for this giveaway!

    preferred.stock at gmail dot com

  29. The first question that comes to my mind is: What is the 14 year old girl lacking in her life that she succumbs to seducing an 18 year old male?! Usually, there is a psychological, unmet need she has. Yes, the 18 year old should have said “No!” Sometimes, I think men are very weak in this area. Thanks…..Cindi

  30. That’s a difficult question. There’s always the individual involved to muddy things, but I still think it is up to the older individual to set the bar. I guess I don’t believe that someone can be seduced if they don’t want to be and if they know it’s wrong (or illegal depending on your jurisdiction) then they are responsible for resisting.

    Oh, I’ve also linked your giveaway on my front page.

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