School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up—Thea Galehouse, a junior at New York City's prestigious Stuyvesant High School, knows she should focus on grades and college options. Then she meets senior Will Weston and quickly becomes hooked on him. When she skips a birth-control pill and becomes pregnant, she schedules an abortion but opts out at the last minute. Though angry and disappointed, her parents support her decision to put college on hold, get an apartment with Will, and raise their son, Ian. At this point, teen readers may want to shake Thea. She asserts her independence by claiming that life with Will "feels real," even as she clings to childhood by crocheting a replica of a bikini she wore as a young girl. This hobby provides an escape—and potential income—and lends the title its double meaning. After Thea accidentally scalds the infant with some boiling water, Will begins to distrust her and eventually pushes her to give him up for adoption. Here Thea finally comes into her own, both as a character and as a young mother. Oddly, there is little mention of her physical experience of pregnancy, and her labor and delivery take less than one page. Greenman's pacing is sometimes off, and, in many scenes, the timing doesn't jibe. The rags-to-riches ending strains believability, with Thea poised to launch a luxury crocheted accessories line. Her transition from arrogantly naive teen to devoted young mom learning to balance her life may hook a few readers, but this is an additional purchase.—Amy Pickett, Ridley High School, Folsom, PA
In this debut effort, Greenman avoids allowing her story to become an issue novel, but unfortunately it comes across as more of a teen pregnancy fantasia. It begins when 17-year-old Thea falls in love with Will, a senior at their elite New York City public school. After Thea becomes pregnant, she initially plans to have an abortion, but changes her mind at the last minute. Despite her first-person narrative, Thea's motivations, along with those of most of Greenman's characters, are frequently opaque. Thea and Will move in together in a rent-controlled sublet (she's gotten into NYU in the meantime) and are given ,000 by their parents; even after a traumatic accident turns Will and Thea against each other and forces Thea to move in with her father, there's little sense of the enormity of the path Thea has embarked upon or even her feelings toward the son she is so desperate to keep. Despite setbacks, Thea's life feels rather charmed—perhaps most of all when her crocheting hobby leads to a business selling bikinis—sapping the story of authenticity. Ages 14–up. (Aug.)
VOYA - Mary Ann Harlan
When Thea meets Will during a fire drill on a cold winter day she is instantly "hooked." Less than a year later, Thea finds herself pregnant with Will's child. At this point the trajectory of Thea and Will's relationship will be familiar to anyone who watches 16 and Pregnant and/or Teen Mom on MTV. With support, however nominal, from their parents, Thea and Will move in together and Ian is born. Thea finds herself isolated, jealous of Will's time, and when an accident provides Will the excuse to suggest adoption, Thea leaves to raise Ian on her own with the help of her somewhat estranged father. While this book will generate interest given the aforementioned television shows, the fundamental flaw is that the relationshipsbetween Thea and Will, Thea and her father, and to some extent, Thea and her motherseem two-dimensional, lacking a richness of detail and motivation. It is a case of being told that Thea is "hooked" on Will or that she is awkward with her father, rather than having the intensity shown through action and interaction. The early scenes between Will, Thea, and her father are particularly confusing as Thea is made uncomfortable by Will's actions, unwilling to address it and yet critical of Will in her thoughts. It appears inconsistent with her assertions of love for Will and fear of his loss. Overall, there will be interest in the title but discerning readers might prefer Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen (Viking, 1998/VOYA August 1998). Reviewer: Mary Ann Harlan
Children's Literature - Laura J. Brown
Thea Galehouse is use to taking care of herself. At seventeen she has to. Her parents are divorced and both in their own worlds. Her mom is always on some personal quest or adventure rediscovering and redefining herself with little time for Thea. Her father is stuck in the past and has Thea's future all planned out without any input from her. He is a recovering alcoholic and just doesn't know how to connect with her in any meaningful way. Then Thea meets Will, a charming and handsome senior at her school. Will is a different than the other boys at their school. Thea is delighted that he likes her. She is so blown away by him that she is hooked and more focused him and their relationship than anything else in her life. Thea is thrilled that their relationship survives Will graduating from high school and going to college. In the midst of preparing to take the SAT and college herself, Thea discovers that she is pregnant and once again is scared to death that she will lose Will. Thea and Will, and both their families have many decisions to make and challenges to overcome, and at times it is not easy, and almost impossible, and Thea wonders if she has what it takes to keep going. This is the first novel by Catherine Greenman and in it she gets to the heart of what many teens and their families face today. Reviewer: Laura J. Brown
Read an Excerpt
I met Will Weston during a fire drill on a gray, freezing February Monday, a few days after I turned seventeen. I was in metal shop when the bells went off, and had to go outside in my smock. Why didn't they have fire drills during homeroom, when we still had our coats? I hid behind a tree to block the wind, and as I studied the gloomy, red-bricked façade of the school for any signs of real fire, I spotted him. Will was leaning against the stone wall, hugging himself in a thin, black sweater. He was tall and he had large, square, hulking shoulders that reminded me of Frankenstein--an aberration in a sea of boys with shoulders so narrow you could lift them off the ground by grabbing their knapsack straps together in one hand. This guy looked too old for high school. His chin was ducked toward his chest and he stared at me forever, and it was clear that he didn't care that I noticed. I remember looking around, wishing there was someone to talk to, but I was surrounded by the dicks from metal shop. Metal shop was the great dick-alizer--we all behaved like we were in preschool, cutting each other in the soldering lines, hogging the drying shelves, all for the easy As Mr. Blake was famous for doling out. It was not lost on me that an A from Blake would finally kick my average up to an A-minus, a longtime hurdle. Anyway, one minute Will was undressing me from afar, and then he just appeared, as if in a blink.
"Blake or Dolan?" he asked, peering into my face.
"Uh . . . Blake," I said, cursing my telltale gingham smock.
"I had him. A girl in my class lost her eye."
"You were in Lisa Kwan's class?" I asked, marveling.
"I was." He nodded modestly.
"What happened? He told us she poked it out."
"Her vise was loose," he said. We both tried not to smile. "You don't use them anymore, vises. Right?"
"No, everything's on the table," I explained. "He helps you when you need to make a cut. He's sick of me. I'm always recutting." I realized then that there was something weird about his eyes: the left eye was looking at me, but the right eye drifted off toward the Hudson River. It was both off-putting and death-defyingly hot. It also somehow made him seem too smart for me. I wondered if he was a brainiac, like everyone else at Stuyvesant High School, where I'd somehow landed like an alien on the wrong planet. In math and science, at least, which Stuy held sacred above all else, I was the opposite of a brainiac. Not quite a dumbass, but close. I felt like I was working twice as hard to do half as well as anyone else.
"You'll get an A," he said, rubbing his forearms for warmth. "Don't worry. Has he shown you his oliver?"
"His what?" I asked, thinking, He has the most beautiful hair: brown, wavy, and longer than I initially thought.
"Oh God. Don't tell me. Another pervy--"
"Go on, ask him to see the oliver," he said. "He'll love you if you ask him."
"What is it?"
"You don't want to be surprised?" he teased.
Part of me did, but I shook my head.
"It's his silver tin of green olives," he whispered, so that the metal-shop dicks couldn't hear. "He keeps it in his pocket for martinis. 'Always keep your oliver on your person.' That's what he used to say. You're a junior?"
"I had him freshman year. He's toned it down since then. I think he's a less-happy drunk these days."
"Aren't we all," I said.
"Settle down there, Dorothy Parker." He held out his hand. "I'm Will Weston."
"Thea Galehouse," I said.
"I know." He smiled proudly.
"How do you know?"
"That yearbook picture of you, sleeping on the desk. Your name was in the caption. 'Thea takes a breather' or something stupid like that. Was that during a class? Or homeroom?"
"Homeroom, I think. I was tired."
"No shit. I could never sleep like that. In the middle of everyone. I wish I could. You have the same hair still. Like wet grass stuck to your face." He pushed a clump of loose hair into my cheek with his thumb as people started to stream back into the building. "Anyway, don't stress about Blake." Will took the steps two at a time, so I did too. "He skews it to the pretty ones."
We got inside the double doors and I faced him. "Do I look stressed out?"
I hate offhand comments about my moods. My mother still makes them constantly. But the way he said it made me think, Maybe I am stressing out about stupid freaking metal shop.
"You know," Will said, "ever since I saw that picture of you, all schlumped out all over that desk, I've wanted to meet you. Do you like burgers?"
"Love 'em," I said.
"Have a burger with me, then."
He said it in the nicest way. It was one of the shining moments of my life. A total shock and yet right as rain.
The huge oil painting of peg-legged Peter Stuyvesant, our school's namesake, loomed over Will by the staircase. School, the place where we spent so much of our time, was so deathly dreary at that moment. It was like Will put it all--the gray walls pockmarked with painted-over thumbtack holes, the gummy stair railings that made your hands smell like spit--into relief. He glanced at a short girl in clogs walking by. She almost stopped to talk, then didn't. He looked back at me and I got the first jolt. The first java jolt. The first whiff of desire for his big, scary, manly-man body. And the desperation to be included in his thoughts. Me, Thea.
From the Hardcover edition.