4.0 8
by Kelly McWilliams

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WHAT WOULD YOU DO if your best friend got pregnant?

Fourteen-year-old Jaime is used to her best friend, Melissa, being the center of attention. Melissa wants to be a model—she’s beautiful, popular, and talented. There’s just one small problem—Melissa thinks she’s pregnant, and she wants Jaime’s help. But there’s not


WHAT WOULD YOU DO if your best friend got pregnant?

Fourteen-year-old Jaime is used to her best friend, Melissa, being the center of attention. Melissa wants to be a model—she’s beautiful, popular, and talented. There’s just one small problem—Melissa thinks she’s pregnant, and she wants Jaime’s help. But there’s not much Jaime can do. Melissa refuses to tell her parents; Jaime refuses to be the same old reliable doormat. She’s got a lead in the school play and a new friendship with Zach. Jaime is changing, too. And she’s sick of being stepped on!

Fifteen-year-old Kelly McWilliams’s debut novel is an inspiring story about friendship, choices, and learning how to shine.

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The likable 15-year-old narrator, a self-described "pitiful little muddy-foot doormat," stops feeling invisible in what PW called an "amiable, often insightful" first novel. Ages 12-up. (July) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
McWilliams is 15 years old and tells a believable story about 14 year olds. She nails the relationships her narrator, "the doormat" Jaime, describes. It's a brief story, told in short chapters that are like vignettes. From the first page we learn the dilemma: Jaime's best friend Melissa worries that she is pregnant. Melissa is a bit of a princess, used to having life break her way; she warns Jaime not to tell anyone. Jaime must somehow have the strength to help her friend, and not destroy their friendship. As she struggles with Melissa's problems, she befriends a wonderful guy, Zach—just the boyfriend every girl would love to have. Zach is supportive, uncritical, and smart. He helps Jaime become someone she herself can respect—the doormat disappears. In fact, Melissa is pregnant and has to decide what she will do. Jaime and Zach help her face up to the reality of the baby, and in the end Melissa's mother is supportive. Younger YAs will love this story and be amazed that it is written by a teenager, and that McWilliams is so talented. KLIATT Codes: J—Recommended for junior high school students. 2004, Random House, Delacorte, 132p., Ages 12 to 15.
—Claire Rosser
Children's Literature
This quick read is notable for its 15-year-old author, clever internal monologue, and short breathless chapters. Jaime is a drab ninth-grade doormat rising to the occasion when her vain best friend Melissa announces that she's pregnant and needs help. But Jaime accomplishes little until nice-guy Zach, in a clever literary ploy, steps in to explain morning sickness to the girls and give focus to their handwringing. Unfortunately, Zach and Melissa are rather faint pencil characters. A robust Melissa could more vividly convey the distress facing the 900,000 teenage girls in the U.S. who become pregnant every year. The characters never consult the Internet, send instant messages, or think of calling a teen hotline, but eventually the band of three make it to Planned Parenthood. In the novel's most poignant scene, Jaime impulsively calls her runaway father to ask why he abandoned her. Retaliating against the injury he has caused, Jaime tells her father that she is pregnant. In the end, Melissa's demanding life, coping with disappointed parents and a baby, contrasts starkly with Jaime's widening, accelerating world, dating Zach and launching into writing plays. McWilliams is talented and will soon find stauncher characters. Meanwhile, teens will enjoy this breezy flirtation with serious life issues. 2004, Delacorte/Random House, Ages 12 up.
—Ann Philips
School Library Journal
Gr 6 Up-Jaime's drama-queen best friend is used to getting all the attention until she discovers she's pregnant and tries to conceal it, and that's when quiet Jamie learns to be a friend instead of just a doormat. The story is thin, the plot is stale, and the connection between Melissa's pregnancy and Jaime's growth is tenuous. More than anything, the pregnancy serves to contrast the differences between the teens' personalities. Nonetheless, Jaime learns to take charge of her life and gets a lead in the school play and even a boyfriend. Due to the theme and the ease in reading, reluctant readers will find the story interesting. While there is room for her plotting abilities to develop, the 15-year-old first novelist's understanding of human motivation is strong, and her ability to use metaphor to describe it is fresh and appealing.-Catherine Ensley, Latah County Free Library District, Moscow, ID Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In a slight twist on the teen pregnancy story, it's not freshman Jaime who's pregnant, but her best friend, Melissa. Why should Jaime care so much when the girl who's having the baby is sometimes more distressed about her ruined chances of a modeling career than telling her parents? Because Jaime, as the title suggests, is a doormat, ready to let the world, especially Melissa and her divorced parents, walk all over her. When she scores a part in the school play; discovers Zach is interested in her, not Melissa; and befriends Alyssa, a girl from the opposite social clique, Jaime begins to put her own needs first. Although the story's resolution comes too quickly and characters take on stereotypical or implausible roles (e.g., the health teacher who openly advocates abortion in the classroom), first-time novelist McWilliams reflects on the grim realities of teen pregnancy without being too preachy and has a knack for capturing teen style and voice-perhaps because she is one herself. (Fiction. YA)

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
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Age Range:
12 Years

Read an Excerpt


My best friend thinks she's pregnant.

Personally, I think Melissa's wrong, but it's not my body. Teen pregnancy is so melodramatic: lonely, living off the streets and welfare, dragging your baby from city to city and everywhere but on your acid trips. No, fourteen-year-olds don't get pregnant anywhere except in the newspaper and on TV. I mean, what would Aunt Sheila say?

"Oh, drama," she'd sigh, and flip her curly hair.

So why am I so worried about this? Because worry is contagious, I guess. Melissa is having a heart attack about it:

"What should I do, Jaime? Should I ask my mother? Will she hate me?"

Or worse: "What about my modeling career?"

And then she'll cry, and the contagion has spread.

Now, here's the truth about Melissa's modeling career--she doesn't have one, and though I love her dearly, I doubt she ever will. And that's not to say she's not beautiful; who am I to talk? It's her attitude that's the problem. She expects life on a silver platter with oysters and an Amex, and her god-awful parents hate the very idea of her doing anything so superficial and are working with all their authoritative might to stop that career before it begins. I remember discussing this with her over the summer in depth:

"I want to be a model," she said.

"Okay. But why?"

"Because I want to be beautiful!"

"Don't you think there's more to life than that?" Even to me it sounded half-baked. I knew Melissa wouldn't go for it.

"Who are you, Gandhi? Give me a break! I want to be a model. Who says there even has to be a reason? The point is I need your help because my parents aren't going for it."

"What do you mean, not going for it?"

"Oh, you know my mother."

Translation--they'd be shopping at Target for new china any day now, and they'd need the carpets professionally cleaned.

Melissa is under the impression that she hates her mother. She tends to get stuck in a swamp of pity at the mention of the M-word, and that makes for uncomfortable silences. I don't think I hate my mother, myself. But I can't be completely sure; I haven't really thought about it since sometime around the fourth grade.

"Well, what do you think I can do about it?" I asked.

"Get me engagements! Jobs!" she said. Shouted, if you want to know the truth.


"Yeah, you know, photo shoots at clothing stores and places, obviously. You can be my agent! Agents get half the money, you know. And we could go all sorts of places together and meet all sorts of famous people. . . ."

"Melissa . . ."

"Just ask around at the malls and stuff, okay?"


Okay, let me start from the very beginning. I was sitting alone in the cafeteria at lunchtime Friday, minding my own business. Mostly I was pretending to be invisible, because, believe it or not, it's not easy to sit alone in the hostile environment of a school cafeteria. In spite of my best efforts to make it look like I was waiting for someone (foot on chair, checking my watch periodically) and thus increase my chances for survival, I could tell that no one was quite buying it.

Yeah, sure, their eyebrows said.

If there's one thing I hate, it's sassy eyebrows.

To top it all off, I'd been disturbed all day because of an unsettling event that occurred during second period. We filled out one of those career planning sheets in health class, but it wasn't the usual What's Your Favorite Subject type survey. Instead, I found myself answering questions like "What are you passionate about?" "What do you love?" "What is your most powerful dream?" What disturbed me was the number of questions that I had to leave blank.

Before I could think on it too heavily, however, Melissa ambled in at the back of the cafeteria food line. She looked over the serving counter doubtfully, kind of sniffed at it, and to my relief got out of line and walked straight over to me without stopping to pick up the apparently unsatisfactory chicken nuggets.

"Finally!" I said when she sat down. "What took you?"

"Nothing," she said absently.

I rolled my eyes. She wanted me to ask. I ate in silence for a minute, deciding whether or not to play along with her.

"So what's wrong?" I finally asked. Don't say I never do anything for her.

"Do I look fat to you?" she asked.


"Not just a little?"


"What about my cheeks? Are they puffy?"


"My legs?"


"You're sure?"




"Have I been eating more lately?"

"Melissa, what is it?"


"I think I'm pregnant. Can you help me?"

So that's the story. Girl tells best friend she's pregnant. Best friend saves the world.

Under normal circumstances, I would simply notify the nearest adult as quickly as possible and let him or her handle it. Unfortunately, Melissa's last words have been stuck in my brain for the past six hours of my life, like a sappy song you hear on the radio.

"Can you help me?"

Why me? What can I do? I'm fourteen years old, for Christ's sakes! I don't know or care what I'm passionate about, I don't have any dreams, and I sure as hell don't know what to do about a baby.

After school, it took all my willpower to pick up the phone and dial her number.

I get the answering machine. I hang up.

From the Hardcover edition.

Meet the Author

Kelly McWilliams attends high school, studies Aikido, plays piano, and is at work on a second novel. She lives in Arizona, where she shares a room with her semi-tame cat, Griffin.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Doormat 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My Friend showed me this book and said 'wow! You have to read this!!' So i did, and i could not put it down!!! I finished it in about a day. Very Good!!! Recommended by me!!! :]
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
i love this book so much and it is a book u can read more then once my friend recommended it so i gave it a try and i fell in love with it i am a picky reader if it doesn't grab me right away i don't read it, so i loved it,it is a must read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Jaimie considers herself a doormat, letting everyone including her best friends and divorced mother walk all over here. Then it turns out that her best friends, Melissa is pregnant. Jaimie is trying to decide how to handle this situation and rid herself of her 'doormat' status. This book is an excellent first novel, especially since it is written by a teenager. The book also gives you real characters and shows you the feelings of the friend of teen who is pregnant. It just shouldn't have started so slow and then jumped to the conclusion in an instant. Reccomended for 12-17 year olds.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think that for a 15 year old writer, McWilliams does a good job of writing this novel. Some of the problems in the story are irrelevant and really don't seem to become solved. But it's an easy quick read and gives an insightful look at teenage preganacy and what it's like to be a real friend
Guest More than 1 year ago
I just finished reading 'Doormat' by Kelly McWilliams and it's a pretty good book. It's about Jaime and her best friend Melissa who gets pregnant and asks Jaime for her help. Melissa won't tell her parents so Jaime and their new friend Zach come up with some ideas. It's an easy but enjoyable read. I recommend it to all teenage girls.