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GIRLS IN TROUBLE by Caroline Leavitt


by Caroline Leavitt

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-312-27122-0
Publisher: St. Martin's

An open adoption goes awry, in an eighth outing by the Boston Globe columnist.

Bewildered by the experience of giving birth, 16-year-old Sara turns to her emotionally remote parents, Jack and Abby, for help—but they want nothing to do with their newborn granddaughter, Anne. George and Eva, the adoptive parents, at first welcome Sara into their home, hoping she will relinquish the baby in due time, but they become increasingly uneasy as the months go by and she doesn’t leave. The adoption is not yet final, however, and they don’t want to upset her. Then, panicked by the prospect of losing the only person on earth who truly belongs to her after Danny, the baby’s father, decamps, Sara takes Anne and runs, though she’s caught at the end of a long trip on a Greyhound bus. Her well-meaning parents intervene and she loses custody, going on to college in New York, a copywriting job, and a love affair with an architect. Sixteen years later, a chance meeting with Danny, happily married to an angelic woman now pregnant with his child, reawakens Sara’s hopes of a reunion with her daughter. She is shocked to find that he never actually signed the papers relinquishing his parental rights (his brother did); and further, that her father told Danny that she hated him and never wanted to see him again. Can a private detective find Anne? Switch to teenaged Anne’s POV: she’s a bright, lovable misfit who yearns to be a writer and endures the scathing comments of unfeeling teachers, obnoxious classmates, and her perpetually disappointed mother. She wonders idly why she’s so different, red hair and all, not knowing that she was adopted or anything about her birth mother. The moment of truth isn’t far off, happy endings awaiting all these troubled souls.

A sadly familiar tale by Leavitt (Coming Back to Me, 2001, etc.), though ably written in a straightforward style: likely to appeal to teenagers and their parents as well.