Told with compassion and empathy, a conversation-starting look at the dangers of keeping a pregnancy secret.

A SMALL MADNESS

High school couple Rose and Michael deal with the devastating consequences of her insistence that an unexpected pregnancy simply isn't real in this Australian import.

Seniors Rose and Michael love each other and decide to have sex for the first time, but they forget to use protection—twice. Two months later, student thespian Rose starts feeling nauseated and enlists her much more experienced best friend, Liv, to buy her a pregnancy test. Despite the positive result, Rose deludes herself and eventually Michael into thinking she's not really pregnant after all. As weeks tick by, Rose stops eating and refuses to speak to Liv or to even say the words "pregnant" or "baby." "I've worked it out. We don't tell anyone. No one could help us anyway. I can hide it. It's not real….These things go away all the time." By weaving in the perspectives of not only Rose and Michael, but occasionally Liv, Rose's clueless mum, and Michael's older brother, the author creates a believable and heartbreaking picture of how two smart, middle-class teens could make such ill-conceived decisions. Part cautionary tale, part exploration of the madness bred by desperation, this is a difficult but powerful narrative inspired by a true story. Although it ends in frustrating ambiguity, the story is riveting enough to read in one sitting.

Told with compassion and empathy, a conversation-starting look at the dangers of keeping a pregnancy secret. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-55498-837-2

Page Count: 200

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2016

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There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.

IF HE HAD BEEN WITH ME

The finely drawn characters capture readers’ attention in this debut.

Autumn and Phineas, nicknamed Finny, were born a week apart; their mothers are still best friends. Growing up, Autumn and Finny were like peas in a pod despite their differences: Autumn is “quirky and odd,” while Finny is “sweet and shy and everyone like[s] him.” But in eighth grade, Autumn and Finny stop being friends due to an unexpected kiss. They drift apart and find new friends, but their friendship keeps asserting itself at parties, shared holiday gatherings and random encounters. In the summer after graduation, Autumn and Finny reconnect and are finally ready to be more than friends. But on August 8, everything changes, and Autumn has to rely on all her strength to move on. Autumn’s coming-of-age is sensitively chronicled, with a wide range of experiences and events shaping her character. Even secondary characters are well-rounded, with their own histories and motivations.

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.   (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4022-7782-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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A treat for mystery readers who enjoy being kept in suspense.

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A GOOD GIRL'S GUIDE TO MURDER

From the Good Girl's Guide to Murder series , Vol. 1

Everyone believes that Salil Singh killed his girlfriend, Andrea Bell, five years ago—except Pippa Fitz-Amobi.

Pip has known and liked Sal since childhood; he’d supported her when she was being bullied in middle school. For her senior capstone project, Pip researches the disappearance of former Fairview High student Andie, last seen on April 18, 2014, by her younger sister, Becca. The original investigation concluded with most of the evidence pointing to Sal, who was found dead in the woods, apparently by suicide. Andie’s body was never recovered, and Sal was assumed by most to be guilty of abduction and murder. Unable to ignore the gaps in the case, Pip sets out to prove Sal’s innocence, beginning with interviewing his younger brother, Ravi. With his help, Pip digs deeper, unveiling unsavory facts about Andie and the real reason Sal’s friends couldn’t provide him with an alibi. But someone is watching, and Pip may be in more danger than she realizes. Pip’s sleuthing is both impressive and accessible. Online articles about the case and interview transcripts are provided throughout, and Pip’s capstone logs offer insights into her thought processes as new evidence and suspects arise. Jackson’s debut is well-executed and surprises readers with a connective web of interesting characters and motives. Pip and Andie are white, and Sal is of Indian descent.

A treat for mystery readers who enjoy being kept in suspense. (Mystery. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-9636-0

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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