BELLY UP by Eva Darrows


Age Range: 14 - 18
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A surprise pregnancy shifts a teen’s life in a new direction

When 17-year-old Serendipity “Sara” Rodriguez had her first-and-only rebound hookup at a classmate’s party, she never anticipated getting pregnant. Soon enough, however, signs (and science) point to “yes,” and, after much consideration, she decides to carry her pregnancy to term and raise the baby herself. Thankfully, she lives with her compassionate mom and tough-but-loving grandma—a dynamic support network enhanced by her white, Jewish lifelong best friend, Devi. Soon she meets Leaf, a sweet, outgoing Romani classmate who is a large, brown-skinned boy with black hair in a ponytail. Mutually smitten, they slowly start dating while Sara tries to figure out caring for someone new while balancing impending motherhood—and finishing high school. Sara’s first-person narration is dynamic, with a vibe akin to (a much more diverse) Juno and Gilmore Girls, yet fully its own. While their identities are never made a plot point, queer characters are refreshingly abundant: Devi is gray ace, Leaf is demisexual, his friend Morgan is a trans girl dating another girl, and Sara herself is questioning and most likely bisexual. Racial and ethnic identities are approached with care, with Leaf’s nuanced explanations of Romani cultural practices and Sara’s thoughtful approach to her identity as a half-Spanish/half-Swedish girl.

Those looking for a “problem novel” should look elsewhere; this is quietly cheerful, surprisingly feel-good, and wholly endearing. (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: April 30th, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-335-01235-7
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2019


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