A pregnant teenager struggles with her choices.
Grace is an honor student, daughter of the founder of a group called Save Yourself for Marriage. Nick is a square-jawed jock whom no one expects to “go slumming” with a geek like Grace. A few minutes in the back seat of his car and a failed condom change everything. Whisked away in the night by her horrified mother, Grace finds herself being examined by a doctor planning to perform an abortion. When she refuses, her hypocritical parents throw her out. Grace is rescued by the neighborhood yenta, a childless Holocaust survivor. Mrs. Teitelbaum offers Grace love, a home, post-baby college funds—and an understanding great-nephew, Charlie. Like a traipse through idealized, 1950s-style teen life, this cautionary tale uses every cliché of white suburban dating rituals and gender roles. It juxtaposes them with gritty dialogue, from “babydaddy” to Grace as “a place to park his junk,” that comes across as an awkward authorial attempt to simultaneously shock and be hip. Shifting points of view and characters rarely in the moment as they indulge in introspection make for a preachy, adult view of teen life that undermines any possible authenticity.
With few real consequences to anyone’s actions, it’s hard to tell who the intended audience is for this formulaic, ultimately unsatisfying novel. (Fiction. 12 & up)