There’s nothing like being a pregnant virgin to ruin your senior year of high school.
After a typical shift at the pizza parlor, “nerdy, chronic overachiever” Mina, trying to get free of Iris, a strange, old customer who seems to know a lot about her, answers a vague proposal with a frustrated “yes”—and now Mina’s pregnant. And still a virgin. Her father doesn’t believe her; “calm and predictable” boyfriend Nate is hurt and knows it’s not his child; best friend Izzy is certain she’s being lied to. But along with her mother and friend Hannah, busboy Jesse (who also met Iris) joins Mina’s supportive posse—Mina/Jesse, Mary/Joseph, get it? In addition to the obvious Biblical parallels, Mina’s story is also that of every misunderstood teen—bullies harass, an embarrassing website pops up. But calls to “Virgin Mina” to denounce her claim grow stronger, and Mina becomes the focus of adult anger and passion. Eventually forced to take protective action for herself and her unborn child, Mina depends on family and friends. The pace occasionally slows as Mina explores religion, spirituality, and impending motherhood, but overall, Detweiler’s smart writing moves quickly and entertains, particularly with Mina’s appealingly bright voice. Even as the story probes its mystical underpinnings, the focus remains firmly on Mina right through to the end.
Detweiler’s ambitious debut takes an intriguing premise and executes it well. (Fiction. 14-18)