Crystal has always wanted to escape poverty, but she never thought her plan would involve vintage muscle cars and a baby.
Although identical twins, Amber is the party girl all the guys lust after, while Crystal thinks she probably likes guys but is not certain yet. When a baby named Natalie enters their lives, the white high school seniors agree to raise it together in their blue-collar Portland, Oregon, neighborhood, even trading off child care responsibilities around school and their jobs. Both are content with the thought of finding an apartment for them and “their” baby in a better neighborhood and taking up their jobs full-time after graduation, with Amber working at her aunt’s tavern and Crystal repairing vintage muscle cars. That is until Crystal learns about the auto-restoration program at McPherson College, a program and college that actually exist in Kansas. Crystal’s narration is emotionally gripping as she deals not only with deviating from the twins’ plan behind Amber’s back, but the possibility of achieving her goals without Amber and even Natalie in her life. Her road takes still more twists and turns when she must also confront the truth of Natalie’s conception. Crystal’s struggles with independence and identity are realistic and palpable.
Feminist readers in particular will appreciate this strong young woman who doesn’t conform to gender norms. (Fiction. 14-18)