IN TROUBLE by Ellen Levine


Age Range: 12 - 15
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Teen pregnancy long before 16 and Pregnant.

It’s 1956, and Jamie’s best friend Elaine is “in trouble,” code for those teenage girls who begin wearing loose clothing and then suddenly disappear to live with a mysterious “aunt” for a while. Jamie is concerned for Elaine, but she also has problems of her own. Her father has just returned home after being jailed for his refusal to name names during the McCarthy hearings, and Jamie’s relationship with him is still fragile. She’s also hiding a secret equal to Elaine’s: While staying in New York City with her older cousin Lois, she was date raped by one of Lois’ friends and is too ashamed to tell anyone what happened. But when Jamie realizes that she’s skipped a period, she suddenly finds herself in just as much “trouble” as Elaine. Now she has to make a choice that Levine makes abundantly clear was much harder for teenage girls in the ’50s than it is today. Daring subject aside, the author breaks little new ground in this typical problem novel (a stand-alone continuation of 2005’s Catch a Tiger by the Toe). The dialogue-heavy prose, short length and always-timely topic will attract reluctant readers, and the familiarity of the form will carry them through.

Valuable insight into a time when abortions were illegal and pregnant teenagers were hidden away instead of filmed for a reality TV show. (author's note) (Historical fiction. 12-15) 

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-7613-6558-7
Page count: 208pp
Publisher: Carolrhoda Lab
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2011


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