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The Best and Hardest Thing
     

The Best and Hardest Thing

by Pat Brisson
 

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Fifteen-year-old Molly Biden has always been studious, dependable, some might even say saintly. And she's sick of herself. So when she spots mysterious bad boy Grady Dillon, she devises a plan to make herself over into someone new, someone who will attract Grady's attention. She succeeds?but a little too well. When Molly discovers she's pregnant, she's forced to make

Overview

Fifteen-year-old Molly Biden has always been studious, dependable, some might even say saintly. And she's sick of herself. So when she spots mysterious bad boy Grady Dillon, she devises a plan to make herself over into someone new, someone who will attract Grady's attention. She succeeds?but a little too well. When Molly discovers she's pregnant, she's forced to make the hardest choice of her life.

This addictively readable portrayal of Molly's struggle to accept her pregnancy and the fact that her life will never be the same is told entirely in poetry, from sonnets to haiku.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Michele C. Hughes
Sophomore Molly Biden can't bear it when members of her English class attribute the word "saintly" to her, so she decides to change her image in a big way. She longs to leave behind the responsible girl who took care of household tasks while her mother was dying of cancer. Her best friend, Barb—one legged and feisty as heck—supports her in this endeavor, but unexpectedly moves away, leaving Molly alone to deal with her new self and the consequences of it. Grady, a mysterious and attractive senior at school, becomes the target of Molly's affection as she remakes herself as a willing and sexy girl, somewhere between "Boring Virgin" and "Easy Lay." Molly fights hard against another girl to win Grady's interest, but it isn't long after the deed is done that Molly regrets the loss of her virginity to this boy who does not really care about her and proves to be less than the upstanding citizen she would have wanted for a boyfriend. Her regret is magnified when she finds herself pregnant and facing serious choices about her future. Molly tells her story completely in poetry, some in free verse and some with specific structures, such as triolet, sonnet, tetrameter, villanelle and pastiche, to name a few. Especially poignant are "Her Virginity Speaks," in which her personified virginity protests at being cast away so carelessly, and "Things to Do When Others Laugh and Stare," in which she struggles with the shame of her pregnancy. The poetry is beautiful and evocative, moving along the story in creative ways. Molly's story is a satisfying read about the choices we make, the consequences of those choices and the healing we must find in order to go on. Reviewer: Michele C. Hughes
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Fifteen-year-old Molly Biden is finished with being the good girl. Armed with a new look, she targets the mysterious, hot new guy, Grady Dillon. Fearful that she might be outmaneuvered by an older girl in the scramble for his affections, Molly makes a quick and fateful decision to have unprotected sex with him. Predictably (a clearly pregnant teen girl graces the book's cover), Molly becomes pregnant. She tells her story in verse, a format ripe for the emotional immediacy of an unplanned teen pregnancy. In this case, however, the format's potential is left untapped. Molly's voice does not ring true to a teen, and her words often feel forced into the verse. This clunkiness is heightened when free verse turns into specific poetic forms, which often feel incongruous with the subject at hand. Ultimately, Molly's story skims the surface, but never deeply immerses readers in the loneliness and depth of her current situation. For a deeper, raw glimpse into teen pregnancy and a fall from grace, steer readers to Ellen Hopkins's Crank (S & S, 2004) or Linda Oatman High's Planet Pregnancy (Front St, 2008).—Jill Heritage Maza, Greenwich High School, CT
Kirkus Reviews
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)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781101404492
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
05/13/2010
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
240
File size:
280 KB
Age Range:
12 Years

Meet the Author

Pat Brisson lives in Phillipsburg, New Jersey.

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