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THE BEST AND HARDEST THING by Pat Brisson

THE BEST AND HARDEST THING

By Pat Brisson

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: May 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-670-01166-7
Publisher: Viking

A cautionary first-person novel in verse exploring teen pregnancy. While no stranger to difficult topics (I Remember Miss Perry, 2006, etc.), Brisson moves beyond the elementary audience with her first venture into YA, presenting 15-year-old Molly Biden as she makes a poor decision and faces the consequences. Having lost her mother at age ten and never having known her father, Molly lives with her grandmother and breaks from her nondescript, good-girl character—“too blah, too beige, too / blending-in-with-all-the-rest”—by offering herself to Grady, the mysterious new senior at school with “eyes the color of summer leaves.” Though the author sometimes appears to test various verse forms simply to condense themes—“Our song is done—a lesson learned. / No use to cry or blubber. / Remember, if you’re having sex, / To always use a rubber”—at others, as in the title piece, a villanelle, the poetic structure effectively enhances the narrative’s drama. An uneven but refreshingly neutral take on a controversial subject. (Fiction/poetry. 14 & up)