A Forever-esque story for reproductive justice, this is a timely and vital book.

GIRLS ON THE VERGE

A teenage girl struggles to get an abortion in Texas.

White cisgender Texan Camille had her dream summer planned out, complete with a spot in a prestigious theater summer camp. After an underwhelming one-night stand (her first time having sex), however, Camille discovers she is pregnant and decides to get an abortion. Afraid to tell her parents, she secretly gives up her spot at camp and embarks on a road trip to the Mexican border to access an abortion-inducing drug. She’s joined by a liberal feminist acquaintance and, reluctantly, her conservative best friend (both white), and together they journey to battle shame and misogyny and to find themselves. Set a year after Sen. Wendy Davis’ historic 2013 filibuster, Camille’s first-person, present-tense narrative alternates between her road trip and flashbacks to her previous experiences, including visiting a Christian crisis pregnancy center and attempting to obtain a judicial bypass, in hopes of getting an abortion without her parents’ knowledge. While readers will come to care about the characters and their relationships to some degree, the important informational content takes precedence overall. Meant to “sound an alarm,” Waller’s (The Forbidden Orchid, 2016, etc.) book is highly informative, filled with frank, detailed descriptions of our nation’s restrictions on reproductive health as well as the emotional and physical experiences of abortion.

A Forever-esque story for reproductive justice, this is a timely and vital book. (author’s note, resources) (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: April 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-15169-8

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

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This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression.

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GIRL IN PIECES

After surviving a suicide attempt, a fragile teen isn't sure she can endure without cutting herself.

Seventeen-year-old Charlie Davis, a white girl living on the margins, thinks she has little reason to live: her father drowned himself; her bereft and abusive mother kicked her out; her best friend, Ellis, is nearly brain dead after cutting too deeply; and she's gone through unspeakable experiences living on the street. After spending time in treatment with other young women like her—who cut, burn, poke, and otherwise hurt themselves—Charlie is released and takes a bus from the Twin Cities to Tucson to be closer to Mikey, a boy she "like-likes" but who had pined for Ellis instead. But things don't go as planned in the Arizona desert, because sweet Mikey just wants to be friends. Feeling rejected, Charlie, an artist, is drawn into a destructive new relationship with her sexy older co-worker, a "semifamous" local musician who's obviously a junkie alcoholic. Through intense, diarylike chapters chronicling Charlie's journey, the author captures the brutal and heartbreaking way "girls who write their pain on their bodies" scar and mar themselves, either succumbing or surviving. Like most issue books, this is not an easy read, but it's poignant and transcendent as Charlie breaks more and more before piecing herself back together.

This grittily provocative debut explores the horrors of self-harm and the healing power of artistic expression. (author’s note) (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-101-93471-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

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This gripping page-turner will keep readers guessing until the final twist.

SHE'S GONE

Seventeen-year-old Hunter Gifford has no memories of the car accident he was in the night of the homecoming dance with Chloe Summers, his now-missing girlfriend.

In the small southern Kentucky city of Bentley, comments on social media condemn Hunter as responsible for Chloe’s disappearance. When he attends the community vigil for her, Chloe’s mother publicly accuses Hunter of obstructing the investigation. Hunter’s own mom died when he was 15 and his sister, Olivia, was 12. Their dad has awkwardly attempted to pull his weight as a solo parent, and Hunter has stepped in and nurtured Livvy. Small but mighty Livvy is an ardent defender of her brother and is fiercely in love with her girlfriend, Gabriela. To make things worse, childhood friend Daniel informs Hunter that he’s making a true-crime documentary about Chloe. Hunter is upset, especially since it makes him look like a prime suspect, and a subsequent dramatic event draws more attention to the video. Hunter and Chloe met in creative writing club, and he knew she kept a journal—but it’s missing. Enter the sleuthing team of Hunter, Livvy, and Gabriela, who hatch a plan to find it. The dynamics between Hunter and Livvy and Livvy and Gabriela are endearing and will charm readers, who will root for them to solve the well-executed mystery. Main characters default to White; Gabriela is Mexican American.

This gripping page-turner will keep readers guessing until the final twist. (Thriller. 14-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-72825-420-3

Page Count: 360

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2022

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