STRAIGHT TALK ABOUT TEENAGE PREGNANCY

An earnest addition to the Straight Talk series tackles the explosive issue of teen pregnancy. In an effort to be clear, fair, and evenhanded, the text is plodding and even dull in the descriptions of how pregnancy occurs. Edelson covers, in the same dutiful but lackluster manner, options of abortion, abstinence, and adoption; what it means to a teen’s life to keep and raise a child; and how society views teen parents. Both liberal and conservative points of view are laid out (if erroneously——partial birth” abortions were not outlawed by federal legislation in 1996). Among those viewpoints represented are teen couples who have had unprotected sex, those who have chosen not to have sex yet, and those who are already teen parents; the variety allows Edelson to present many options, nearly all of them difficult. Exercises for self-esteem, active listening, and decision-making are included. While some of the language is so clumsy as to be almost farcical——Like many things in life, sexual intercourse can be a lot of fun—and it can also have consequences that are not so much fun——the book will suffice for readers seeking out basic information, with helpful back matter on various organizations. (bibliography) (Nonfiction. 12-15)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-8160-3717-5

Page Count: 131

Publisher: Facts On File

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1998

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BURIED ONIONS

Eddie, a young Mexican-American scraping by in the mean streets of Fresno, California, counts four dead relatives and one dead friend in the opening, in-your-face lines of this new novel from Soto (Snapshots from the Wedding, p. 228, etc.). In bleak sentences of whispered beauty, Eddie tells how he dropped out of vocational college and is attempting to get by with odd jobs. His aunt and friends want him to avenge the recent murder of his cousin, but Eddie just wants to find a way out. Everything he tries turns soura stint doing yard work ends when his boss's truck is stolen on Eddie's watchand life is a daily battle for survival. This unrelenting portrait is unsparing in squalid details: The glue sniffers, gangs, bums, casual knifings, filth, and stench are in the forefront of a life without much hope``Laundry wept from the lines, the faded flags of poor, ignorant, unemployable people.'' Soto plays the tale straightthe only sign of a ``happy'' ending is in Eddie's joining the Navy. The result is a sort of Fresno Salaam Bombay without the pockets of humanity that gave the original its charm. A valuable tale, it's one that makes no concessions. (glossary) (Fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-15-201333-4

Page Count: 148

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1997

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WHAT THE MOON SAW

When Clara Luna, 14, visits rural Mexico for the summer to visit the paternal grandparents she has never met, she cannot know her trip will involve an emotional and spiritual journey into her family’s past and a deep connection to a rich heritage of which she was barely aware. Long estranged from his parents, Clara’s father had entered the U.S. illegally years before, subsequently becoming a successful business owner who never spoke about what he left behind. Clara’s journey into her grandmother’s history (told in alternating chapters with Clara’s own first-person narrative) and her discovery that she, like her grandmother and ancestors, has a gift for healing, awakens her to the simple, mystical joys of a rural lifestyle she comes to love and wholly embrace. Painfully aware of not fitting into suburban teen life in her native Maryland, Clara awakens to feeling alive in Mexico and realizes a sweet first love with Pedro, a charming goat herder. Beautifully written, this is filled with evocative language that is rich in imagery and nuance and speaks to the connections that bind us all. Add a thrilling adventure and all the makings of an entrancing read are here. (glossaries) (Fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2006

ISBN: 0-385-73343-7

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2006

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