Aimed mostly at teenage parents and parents-to-be, this intersperses three fictional case histories with explanatory commentary. It's probably an economical format, but not very well handled here. We meet an underachieving thirteen-year-old with pitifully little understanding of her predicament; a serious, mature middle-class black girl trying valiantly to face sudden responsibilities; a bored high-school senior trapping her boyfriend into marriage. Their plights are presented with much honest, well-chosen detail: the varying stigmas, the painful, recrimination-filled family adjustments, the objective and subjective problems of finding and using medical, social, or legal aid, the ever-changing difficulties of emotionally accepting the staggering new demands. The fictitious narratives (which go from conception through the baby's first year) are called upon to provide a lot of factual information--very woodenly worked in. They also incorporate a great deal of illustrative self-assessment undoubtedly reflecting the real thoughts of real people (Howard interviewed many young parents before assembling her hypothetical models) but filled with ersatz, tape-recorder spontaneity. The interspersed commentary presents a reasonable (though by no means generous) selection of facts ranging from statistics and medical explanations to how to locate the nearest Planned Parenthood, but it is curiously remote and antiseptic in tone. Howard's intentions are admirable, and much of the book will be both informative and reassuring, but this presentation leaves much to be desired.