For everyone who was that girl.
For everyone who knew that girl.
For everyone who wondered who that girl was.


Kerry Cohen is eleven years old when she recognizes the power of her body in the leer of a grown man. Her parents are recently divorced and it doesn’t take long before their lassitude and Kerry’s desire to stand out–to be memorable in some way–combine to lead her down a path she knows she shouldn’t take. Kerry wanted attention. She wanted love. But not really understanding what love was, not really knowing how to get it, she reached for sex instead.

Loose Girl is Kerry Cohen’s captivating memoir about her descent into promiscuity and how she gradually found her way toward real intimacy. The story of addiction — not just to sex, but to male attention — Loose Girl is also the story of a young girl who came to believe that boys and men could give her life meaning. It didn’t matter who he was. It was their movement that mattered, their being together. And for a while, that was enough.

From the early rush of exploration to the day she learned to quiet the desperation and allow herself to love and be loved, Kerry’s story is never less than riveting. In rich and immediate detail, Loose Girl re-creates what it feels like to be in that desperate moment, when a girl tries to control a boy by handing over her body, when the touch of that boy seems to offer proof of something, but ultimately delivers little more than emptiness.

Kerry Cohen’s journey from that hopeless place to her current confident and fulfilled existence is a cautionary tale and a revelation for girls young and old. The unforgettable memoir of one young woman who desperately wanted to matter, Loose Girl will speak to countless others with its compassion, understanding, and love.

What's Inside

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Reader Reviews

Praise

"Cohen's brutal honesty about her relentless request for companionship is refreshingly relatable."—Entertainment Weekly
"Cohen recounts her harrowing litany of hookups through clear, poignant, spare-no-details prose."—Marie Claire
Praise for Lush

"Raw, intimate and brave, Lush tears apart the usual advice about drinking and addiction (guess what, AA isn't the only answer), and chronicles Cohen's journey toward a healing that at first she can only image. Gorgeously written and audaciously intelligent, here is a controversial and compelling look at finding your own way back."—Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of Is This Tomorrow and Pictures of You
"Kerry Cohen applies her legendary wit and sagacity to women's often subtly destructive dance with alcohol. With great vulnerability and dynamic prose, Cohen examines her own descent into the bottle, its ruinous consequences, and her courageous fight to find her footing in her real life again. This is a story you won't soon forget."—Jillian Lauren, New York Times bestselling memoirist of Some Girls: My Life in a Harem and Everything You Ever Wanted
"Holy mother of wine--finally a woman wrestles the story of what it is really like to be a woman away from what we've been told we are supposed to be. Kerry Cohen's Lush will light you up, crack you up, make you bawl, and most of all, allow you to breathe again. I'm beyond thrilled to read a book where a woman tells the truth without falling into the sap-hole of the sin-and-redemption narrative. There is no sin and redemption. There's just our lives, and as Cohen reminds us one truth bomb at a time, they are messily gorgeous. Move over Mary Karr."—Lidia Yuknavitch, bestselling author of The Book of Joan and The Misfit's Manifesto
"I love this book. I am this book. Kerry Cohen has written a memoir that wrestles with the subtleties, the ambiguities, the sheer alluring horrifying real-life mess of mid-life alcohol addiction. For those of us wrestling with demons--and who isn't?--Lush is a solace as powerful as red wine."—Claire Dederer, bestselling author of Poser: My Life in Twenty-Three Yoga Poses
"Unapologetic in that it offers no trite "darkness to light" narrative about alcoholism, Cohen's book instead offers a sharp-eyed look at what it means to be a midlife female unable to cope with either personal demons or the heavy external social pressures placed on women. An intimate and unsparing book of self-reflection."—Kirkus
Praise for Dirty Little Secrets

"Very few people can write about teen girls' sexual promiscuity with the candor, empathy, and intelligence Kerry Cohen does...I think any girl who reads this will recognize at least one girl she knows-and that girl may be looking back at her in the mirror."—Rosalind Wiseman, New York Times bestselling author of Queen Bees and Wannabees and Boys, Girls, and other Hazardous Materials.
"As compassionate as it is enlightening, Kerry Cohen's Dirty Little Secrets argues for female safety and desire, and provides a road map for authentically healthy, vital sexuality."—Jennifer Baumgardner, author of Look Both Ways, F 'Em, and Manifesta
"Kerry Cohen has 'been there'-and it shows in her empathy, her insight, and her remarkable ability to draw out the truth...Dirty Little Secrets busts the myths, breaks down walls, and takes us where we need to go to understand the private lives of so many young women today."—Hugo Schwyzer, PhD, Pasadena City College, Coauthor, Beauty, Disrupted: the Carré Otis Story
"Ms. Cohen's Dirty Little Secrets is a perfect catalyst for mother/daughter discussions. It is a safe place to start a scary talk about this issue so relevant to young women-and young men...At its heart, Dirty Little Secrets is a wake-up call. Settle in, relax, and embrace its shocking content."—New York Journal of Books
"Serves as an engaging catalyst for discussions about a taboo issue."—Kirkus
"A strong beginning to an important conversation. An important book for feminist and social science collections."—Library Journal
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