Posts Tagged 'teen pregnancy'

Seeing Red by Peter Lancett

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  221

RAC Book: No

Tom lives a very privileged life and frankly is not afraid to show it.  His parents are very busy professionals and he finds himself on his own a lot.  He loves divulging what labels he’s wearing and how fancy his house is, but he doesn’t have real close friends to discuss real issues with.  When he meets Sylvia he thinks she might be the one to finally understand him.  She shows him the wonders of cutting and he finds himself going down the same path whenever he has difficulty dealing with an issue in his life.  Sylvia is not as invested in the relationship as he is, however, and his ability to cope with the possibility of losing her comes into question.

Tom’s voice is very honest and easy for young adult readers to identify with.  Reluctant readers might find it especially easy to engage with him as he says everything he is thinking and does not really care about how it sounds.  Tom deals with many difficult issues such as abortion and depression, but it is handled in a way that readers can easily understand.  There is some strong language used at times to help Tom describe exactly how the people around him talk.  Fans of Ellen Hopkins would like this title, but encourage any reader who gravitates toward titles like this to feel comfortable discussing it with a teacher, librarian, or guidance counselor afterward as some of the material can affect some students more strongly than others.

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Burned by Ellen Hopkins

Genre:  Realistic Fiction/Poetry

Age Level:  14 and up

# of Pages:  530 p.

RAC Book:  Yes

Awards: Iowa High School Award Winner 2009-2010

This story is told in poetry form and follows a young girl named Pattyn whose strict family belongs to the Church of Latter Day Saints.  She is the oldest of six girls and her father does not hide the fact that he would prefer boys.  He often drinks and then hits Pattyn’s mother and the other members of the congregation look away.  As Pattyn begins to think about boys, love, and women’s roles in life she begins to question everything her family stands for.  After some mishaps at school she is sent to live with her aunt who opens her eyes to a different way of life.  Will she ever be able to break free of her family?  Will she ever be able to protect herself from her father’s wrath?

This story depicts a very dysfunctional family through the eyes of the oldest teenager daughter.  She struggles with finding right and wrong and wonders if she is wrong to want a better life than what her mother has.  The time she spends with her Aunt is refreshing as Pattyn begins to learn and grow in a bigger world than the one her family has shown her.  Her summer romance with Ethan shows her what a good relationship is like with open communication and mutual respect.  The story ends ambiguously and many readers will wonder what actually happens to Pattyn.  The ending reminds readers that sometimes there is no happy ending for the characters you have come to care about.  This is a serious book that discusses serious issues.  Fans of A Child Called It or The Rules of Survival will find this interesting.  Those looking for a lighthearted romance need to keep looking.

The Snows by Sharelle Byars Moranville

Genre: Historical Fiction

Age Level: 14 and up

# of Pages: 225 p.

RAC Book: Yes

The Snows follows four generations of the Snow family who live in Jefferson, Iowa. The four sections of the book focus on when one of the Snows was sixteen and the turmoil that year brought to the entire family. The first section takes place in 1931 as the Snows struggle through the depression. The second section takes place in 1942 when Cathy Snow gets unexpectedly pregnant and her family has to deal with a teen pregnancy during a time of low tolerance. The third section follows Jill in 1969 during a time of rebellion and protest over the Vietnam War. Finally, the last section connects the previous three sections together when Mona goes home for a family funeral in 2006 and reunites with many family members whom she has not seen much in her sixteen years.

The Iowa backdrop for this story will appeal to any Iowans because there are mentions of specific towns and places that any Iowan will know. The first two sections seem the most compelling as they introduce the family and their dynamic. The section in 1969 reveals some strong language in the protest for the war. The protest is not explored in depth enough for those readers who do not know a lot about this time. The final section is used as a way to pull the four parts together. All in all a nice read, but may be difficult to sell to young adults.

Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Age Level: 14 and up

# of Pages: 281 p.

RAC Book: Yes

In one of Sarah Dessen’s early books, Halley struggles through her junior year of high school. Things do not turn out as planned when her best friend, Scarlet, finds out she is pregnant with her boyfriend’s baby. The boyfriend died unexpectedly in a motorcycle accident over the previous summer. At the same time, Halley begins dating a boy her mother disapproves of and they begin fighting constantly. Finally, her grandmother whom she is named after is dying.

Dessen’s work has come a long way in the last ten years. While there is nothing bad about this book, the characters fail to compel readers to continue turning pages like some of her more recent books like The Truth About Forever. Teen readers will still enjoy this one, but the lack of resolution at the end will bother some of them.

November Blues by Sharon M. Draper

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Age Level: 14 and up

# of Pages: 316 p.

RAC Book: Yes

In this sequel to The Battle of Jericho November Nelson is dealing with the death of her boyfriend after a hazing ritual went bad. To make matters worse, she discovers that she is pregnant. She was planning to spend the summer in an Ivy League summer program which would hopefully lead to a very productive senior year. When she tells her mother about her pregnancy she is understandably upset. November faces a lot of difficult decisions as she endures this pregnancy.

Meanwhile, Jericho, the cousin of the boy who died, is having an equally difficult time coping with his friend’s untimely death. He decides to try football in order to have something new to do instead of the band, which he previously loved but now feels is a painful reminder of his cousin. He tries to help November in any way he can, but is struggling with his own emotions as well.

This was a good story about teenage pregnancy and death, but addresses similar concepts to The First Part Last. The characters were complicated and interesting and were the strength of the story. Nothing these characters were dealing with was easy and was not portrayed that way. The ending took an unexpected turn, but was a little predictable nonetheless. Most readers will guess what November’s decision will be, but will enjoy it anyway.

 

Slam by Nick Hornby

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

Age Level:  14 and up

# of pages:  309

RAC Book:  Yes

Sam is a fifteen year old boy who loves Tony Hawk and skateboarding, althought he calls it skating.  He meets a girl named Alicia and they hit it off right away.  She is pretty and funny and they find they cannot see enough of each other.  Despite their reservations, they end up having sex fairly early into the relationship.  Sam was apprehensive about beginning a sexual relationship because his parents were sixteen when they had him and he has always felt like he ruined their lives.

When Sam begins to drift away from Alicia she becomes desperate to talk to him.  In a dream he flashes to the future where he is living in Alicia’s bedroom and they have a son.  Even though he is not sure how he zapped into the future he believes it is true and Alicia is pregnant.  He must decide how he can face her, his parents, and his very altered future.

Sam is a likable teenage boy who really did not want to get into this predicament, but did nonetheless.  Since teenage pregnancy has been such an issue lately with celebrities like Jamie Lynn Spears and movies like Juno making it look cool, this book shows how hard it is to be a teenage parent.  It also shows how plans of college, travel, and even leisure activities go away the minute a baby is in the picture.  At the same time, the teens in this story have very supportive parents, which is not true of all cases.  An interesting read.


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