A SMALL MADNESS by Dianne Touchell


Age Range: 14 - 18
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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 1st, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-55498-837-2
Page count: 200pp
Publisher: Groundwood
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 2016


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