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Contents Under Pressure

Contents Under Pressure

4.4 20
by Lara M. Zeises

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A fresh, honest look at the difficult choices and unexpected joys in a girl’s life under pressure.

Lucy Doyle is about to explode. She’s sure her name might as well be Loser because she‘s never, ever been kissed. To make matters worse, nearly all of her friends have left her behind for boys. Even Lucy’s favorite brother doesn’t


A fresh, honest look at the difficult choices and unexpected joys in a girl’s life under pressure.

Lucy Doyle is about to explode. She’s sure her name might as well be Loser because she‘s never, ever been kissed. To make matters worse, nearly all of her friends have left her behind for boys. Even Lucy’s favorite brother doesn’t seem to have time for her anymore. He’s just moved home from college with a distant new attitude and a big-haired girlfriend Lucy can’t stand. Freshman year is definitely not off to a good start.

So when Lucy attracts the attention of Tobin Scacheri, the junior everyone wants to date, she can barely believe her luck. Tobin’s cute and funny, and he might like Lucy as much as she likes him. But Lucy’s brother has a secret that will turn her already mixed-up world completely upside down. Now, Lucy must figure out how far she’s willing to take her relationship with Tobin—and how to deal with a brother who’s not as perfect as she thought.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
PW said, "Zeises's novel takes a mature approach to many issues surrounding young people and sex, managing at the same time to be both light-handed and earnest." Ages 12-up. (Nov.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Zeises' talented writing redeems a familiar plot from the wasteland of teen "chick lit" in this novel featuring yet another freshman girl who catches the eye of a gorgeous junior guy. Heroine Lucy feels left out as the girls in her crowd begin to date. But the tables are turned when a goofy event thrusts her into the arms of hot-guy Tobin. The aptly-titled novel captures the angst of shifting social groupings as teens mature at different rates and Lucy remains unkissed while her unconventional friend Tabitha anticipates intercourse with a boyfriend. In a subplot that supplies the real substance of the book, Lucy's big brother Jack drops out of music school and moves home with his girlfriend Hannah. Lucy idealizes Jack and at first resents Hannah, who moves into Lucy's bedroom and her business. But Hannah's acts of kindness and down-to-earth sincerity prove irresistible, cracking the barrier between them. When Lucy discovers that Hannah is pregnant and Jack is less than ready to be a father, Lucy's allegiance shifts. The book's humorous dialogue, fine pacing, and refreshing imagery buoy the conventional plot. "The roots of my hair buzz with pleasure," Lucy confesses as she experiences her first erotic yearnings. Once the reader is hooked, Zeises slips in a timely message about the emotional consequences of having sex with someone who is not worthy of this intimacy. Hannah's pregnancy and Tabitha's casual view of sex prompt Lucy to deliberate on her own timetable and to set boundaries with Tobin. Recommended. 2004, Delacorte Press/Random House, Ages 12 up.
—Ann Philips
Lucy Doyle's life is changing. At fourteen, she feels left behind by her tight-knit group of middle school girlfriends, three of whom began seriously dating after graduation. Now Allison, her best friend since kindergarten, confesses a crush on Brad Thomas who liked Lucy last year. Jack, her brother and advisor, moved to college two years ago, and they have not spoken since school opened. With homecoming next weekend and Halloween in two weeks, Lucy feels stuck in a middle school rut—flat chested and never been kissed—behind her maturing friends. Lucy experiences six whirlwind weeks during which Jack moves home to think, bringing his pregnant girlfriend Hannah, whom Lucy dislikes but gains as a roommate. And then Lucy literally collides—three times—with the most sought-after junior boy, Tobin Scacheri, and winds up as his girlfriend. A series of significant talks help her to figure out her complicated world. Sex is often mentioned but never seen, and both Mom's and Hannah's advice on setting boundaries help Lucy approach Tobin to define their still-chaste comfort zone. Fast-paced and funny, Zeises's engrossing book carries readers through a gamut of emotions while providing strong female role models. Every middle and junior high school girl and even some boys will want to read this novel. Librarians, parents, and classroom teachers in grades seven through ten should stock up on it. VOYA Codes 5Q 5P M J S (Hard to imagine it being any better written; Every YA (who reads) was dying to read it yesterday; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2004, Delacorte, 256p., and PLB Ages 11 to18.
—Cynthia Winfield
Zeises, author of Bringing up the Bones, another fine YA novel, writes here about a loving family trying their best, but under pressure. The narrator, Lucy, is a freshman in high school, and her older brother Jack is the person she most admires. He is a musician, a student in Boston, and everything changes when he quits school to come back home with his girlfriend, who is pregnant with his child. Lucy is furious that she has to somehow accept the girlfriend, Hannah. Later, when she knows more about the situation and comes to care for Hannah, she is shocked at Jack's selfish behavior. Zeises presents these people and this situation without stereotypes. Each character, including Lucy's younger brother, is believably confused, with complicated emotions and responses. Above all, they are supportive and loving—even while being at times angry and judgmental. In the midst of the family drama, Lucy is involved with her first boyfriend, a slightly older guy named Tobin, who has an incredibly ghastly car named "Vomit." Lucy's excitement about Tobin is disturbing her best friend, who is feeling left behind. But it brings her closer to Tabitha, who has much more sexual experience than Lucy—too much, probably. While character is predominant here, there are some themes of sexual responsibility, from the unwanted pregnancy of Jack and Hannah to Tabitha's reckless experimentation and Lucy and Tobin working out the sexual boundaries of their relationship. There is comic relief in the antics of Lucy younger brother, who loves to gross them all out. Teenagers, especially those in the middle—of their families, of the teen years—will find this novel both amusing and moving. KLIATTCodes: JS*—Exceptional book, recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2004, Random House, Delacorte, 244p., Ages 12 to 18.
—Claire Rosser
School Library Journal
Gr 7-10-Freshman year isn't quite what Lucy Doyle expects. First, nearly all of her friends leave her behind when they discover boys. Then, the only boy that Lucy is interested in, her perfect older brother Jack, unexpectedly moves back home from college with his girlfriend in tow. Lucy can't stand Hannah, and Jack is mysteriously distant. Then she runs into junior Tobin Scacheri-literally-and is swept off her feet. As they start dating, she starts to wonder about sex and, surprisingly, it's Hannah who helps her sort out the scary issues of first boyfriends. Then Lucy finds out that Hannah is pregnant. When the perfect Jack becomes perfectly selfish in his reluctance to become a responsible parent, Lucy must face her disappointment, but unexpectedly finds love in Hannah and Tobin and the girlfriends she's determined not to leave behind. Zeises paints a convincing picture of a family facing tough decisions and a fully realistic heroine who's confused and scared. Even secondary characters have depth and add sparkle to an already absorbing plot. A winning family drama.-Linda Bindner, Truman State University, Kirksville, MO Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Fourteen-year-old Lucy comes to terms with change in a conventional but likable coming-of-ager. A year ago, she had four close friends who spent their weekends eating popcorn and watching Grease. Now three of her former friends have moved on to cheerleading, hockey, punk styles, and-most important-boys. Even good old Allison has at least been kissed. Only Lucy mourns nostalgically for the traditions of her childhood (though she wouldn't mind a boyfriend). When Lucy's brother Jack returns home from college, she's thrilled that everything will be just like it used to be. But Jack arrives with his girlfriend Hannah, whom he abandons alone-and pregnant!-at home while he travels. How can perfect Jack have turned so obnoxious? Even more confusing, cute junior Tobin wants to date Lucy. Judy Blume-style made modern comes skillfully to the expected conclusion. (Fiction. 11-14)

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Sold by:
Random House
File size:
348 KB
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

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Contents Under Pressure 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is so cute! You'll fall in love with Tobin. I found that I could relate to Lucy in a lot of differetn ways.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Haha to bad just to bad
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was absolutely amazing. Great for teens
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Guest More than 1 year ago
this is a really good book for u girls i dk guys would be like umm dumb i wanted the ending to go on and on i couldnt put it down!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The first time I read this book was last year and I related so much to this book and since then Ive read this book about 7 or 8 times. But I think Lara Zeises is a very outstanding author and Im so happy she came up with this book. But I wonder was it really a true story.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Contents Under Pressure by Lara M. Zeises is one of the best books I have read all year. I would defiantly recommend this book to any girl that loves reading teen fiction books. In the past, I have read other teen fiction books but only a few of them were as good as Contents Under Pressure. This book is very easy to read and follow. While I was reading I found myself feeling like I was actually there instead of just being in my room with a book in front of me. Also as I was reading I could related to some of the things that Lucy was going through and the ones I couldn¿t relate to kind of gave me a new prospective on how some other teens live. Zeises should really think about doing a sequel to this book. If she did I don¿t think she could top her first one though. If you are looking for something to read, pick up this book. Trust me, you won¿t want to put it down!
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book was the best book i have red in my enitre life. ive read alot of books. it was really good and i wish she would make a #2! COMPLETELY RECOMEND THIS BOOK!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really love Contents Under Pressure. It has so much to offer. There's times when you feel really sad, times when you want to jump up in the air, and times that you're so jealous of the main character you can barely stand it. Contents Under Pressure has great imagery and you feel as though you're a fly on the wall watching the whole thing happen. The plot of the story is easy to keep up with so you never get lost and you never get bored. If you're a big teen person who just likes to hear stories about average teen stuff like love, and scandal, and friends then this book is definitely a good one for you. The main character is so fun and you can really relate to her. The story is a classic and is a totally easy read. This is definitely one of my favorites.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you are a teenage girl and you love reading about school and family problems this is the write book for you! This is the best book that I have read all through middle school. This book keeps you reading all day because it has so much going on you don't want to stop. I never like reading but when I picked this book up I wished it would never end. Almost every girl can relate to this book during middle and high school, it has family, school, and boy problems. Even I relate to this book alot. If you are required to read a book during the school year in a certian period of time you should read this becasue it is a book that you can read really fast. I recomend this book to any girl, even if they like to read or don't like to read, because they all will love it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was amazing. It was most definately one of the best books I read my freshman year of highschool. You can relate to Lucy on alot of subjects, like how annoying a little brother can be, that feeling you get when the guy you practically idolize over actually likes you back...... ALOT!, and how the person you thought you could always depend on to be forever perfect can be as screwed up and unsure about everything as you are. The story is an eye-opener for Lucy and a realization for anyone who can relate to her that you're not the only one out there.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was great. I dont read that mutch because I cant find ANY books I like. But this book had it all, the drama, the fun, the romance, and just a story that you can almost relate to. If your having trouble finding a good read......read this!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Contents Under Pressure is a great book if youre looking for drama and laughs. This is a great teen book about love and life.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Contents Under Pressure is the best book for teens. Adults and teens of all ages really should read this book. Zeises allows you to become a character in the book because there is one for every type of click in high school. If you read one book this summer it should be this one!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I found this book very predictable and cliche. I couldn't set it apart from every other plot in a teenage story. It had no originality whatsoever it seemed the author was copying from other teenage books and squeezing them together in this one.