Just as he is leaving his mother's house to spend Christmas with his dad, 16-year-old Nick receives a surprise visit from his ex-girlfriend, Sasha: she's pregnant. Still hurt from their recent breakup, Nick has no idea how to respond. Debut novelist Martin displays uncanny insight, replacing the issue-driven engine common to most pregnant-teen stories with an emotionally complex and disarmingly frank coming-of-age tale. As narrator, Nick reviews his relationships, and confronts his drives and how he controls them-and how his friends and his father control, or fail to control, theirs. Martin is especially good at writing about sex: Nick is believably awkward, Sasha more mature (especially as viewed by Nick), and it takes the couple more than one try to get it right ("You'd think sex would make you feel less innocent. It didn't work that way for me," Nick ruminates. "I felt new"). In describing Nick's struggle to do the right thing by Sasha, the author defines each feeling, coloring in Nick's momentary failures as well as the full pain of his realization, as Sasha recuperates from an abortion: "We're at the very end.... All I have to do is walk out the door." Ages 14-up. (Sept.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
I Know It's Overby C. K. Kelly Martin
PURE. UNPLANNED. PERFECT. Those were Nick’s summer plans before Sasha stepped into the picture. With the collateral damage from his parents’ divorce still settling and Dani (his girl of the moment) up for nearly anything, complications are the last thing he needs. All that changes, though, when Nick runs into Sasha at the beach in July. Suddenly he’s… See more details below
PURE. UNPLANNED. PERFECT. Those were Nick’s summer plans before Sasha stepped into the picture. With the collateral damage from his parents’ divorce still settling and Dani (his girl of the moment) up for nearly anything, complications are the last thing he needs. All that changes, though, when Nick runs into Sasha at the beach in July. Suddenly he’s neck-deep in a relationship and surprised to find he doesn’t mind in the least. But Nick’s world shifts again when Sasha breaks up with him. Then, weeks later, while Nick’s still reeling from the breakup, she turns up at his doorstep and tells him she’s pregnant. Nick finds himself struggling once more to understand the girl he can’t stop caring for, the girl who insists that it’s still over.
From the Hardcover edition.
Gr 9 Up
With heartbreaking honesty, Martin's debut novel gets into the mind of 16-year-old Nick Severson. Still dealing with the effects of his parents' divorce, he plans to have a vacation with no commitments. However, the summer takes an interesting turn when Sasha Jasinski enters the picture. Nick is intrigued by the connection they seem to share but also put off by Sasha's initial disappointment with his behavior. To the shock of his friends, Nick stops seeing Dani to pursue Sasha. They grow closer both emotionally and physically. When things start to get too complicated for her, she breaks off the relationship only to discover a few weeks later that she is pregnant. What raises this novel above the many other teen titles dealing with sex and pregnancy is the authentic voice and emotion of the protagonist. Readers struggle with Nick as he deals with the loss of his first love and the decisions related to Sasha's pregnancy. His story challenges stereotypical notions of reckless teen sex and careless abortions; teen boys will especially applaud this portrayal of a devastated and conflicted young man who makes the right decisions, but still finds that his mistakes have repercussions. Sex, drugs, alcohol, and abortion are each portrayed realistically, and the novel gives invaluable insight into the adolescent mind and the world in which teens live.-Lynn Rashid, Marriots Ridge High School, Marriotsville, MD
“A great read. This one will appeal to fans of Sarah Dessen and John Green.”—Lara Zeises, author of Bringing Up the Bones
Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, August 1, 2008:
"Authentic and sophisticated."
Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, August 18, 2008:
"Debut novelist Martin displays uncanny insight, replacing the issue-driven engine common to most pregnant-teen stories with an emotionally complex and disarmingly frank coming-of-age tale."
- Random House Children's Books
- Publication date:
- Sold by:
- Random House
- NOOK Book
- Sales rank:
- File size:
- 236 KB
- Age Range:
- 14 Years
Read an Excerpt
The first time Sasha lay spread across my bed, I felt like the world had changed. She was wearing cutoff jean shorts and a plain white T-shirt, not the tiny, cropped kind lots of girls wear—Sasha never wears that kind of stuff. “So it has to be my rules,” she repeated, propping her head up and peering steadily into my eyes. I stared at her long, tan legs and thought: Don’t screw this up now, Nick.
“Your rules,” I agreed, and I didn’t screw it up, not then anyway. We went on like that for nearly five months, stretching her rules, rewriting them together, until she told me we were getting too serious, that I was too much of a distraction and she had her whole future to think about.
“I want to worry about school,” she said, crossing her arms and frowning like only Sasha can—like the world was coming to an end. “Not about trying to get on the pill.”
Now I know she was wrong about the world, though—either wrong or early—because I can live without Sasha. The past month has proven that. But I don’t know how to deal with what she’s telling me now.
“Say something,” she says urgently, grabbing my arm and squeezing hard. “Don’t do this to me, Nick.”
I glance up the driveway towards my house, at the icicle lights everyone but my mom continually forgets to switch on, and wrench my arm away. Dad will be here to pick me up in less than an hour. Christmas at his place with Bridgette—that was my big problem until thirty seconds ago.
“Nick,” Sasha repeats. Snow is falling on her hair and she’s wearing the leather gloves her mom bought her at the end of October. She still looks beautiful to me, or at least I know she would if I could feel anything.
I run a hand through my snow-crowned hair and say, “This has to be a mistake.” It’s what everybody says and now I know why.
“Don’t you think I checked?” Her hands close into fists. “You think I’d come over here to tell you if I didn’t know for sure?”
“I don’t know what you’d do, Sasha.” I squint in her direction. The sky is filled with white as bright as sunshine. “I don’t know you anymore, remember?”
Sasha laughs like she hates me. She turns in the direction of the road and stands there, motionless. She’s prepared to wait, to become some kind of ice princess at the edge of my lawn. Not a nice fairy tale—the pregnant ex-girlfriend—but then I guess most of them aren’t. Not in the beginning anyway. I glance at the dark hair spilling down the back of Sasha’s coat and shiver. My heart stopped beating at the beginning of this conversation.
“So what do you want me to say?” I snap, taking a step back. Sasha laughs again, shakes her head, and stares down my street. What has she done to deserve this, that’s what she’s thinking, no doubt. There’s snow on her lashes, her cheeks are red from the cold, and suddenly I feel like a complete asshole.
“Does anyone else know?”
“Lindsay was there when I took the test.” She swivels to watch me from the corner of her eyes. It’s not safe to look at me yet. She doesn’t know who I’ll be.
“What about your parents?”
Sasha doesn’t laugh this time. Her parents aren’t a joke to either of us. We spent five months arranging meetings behind their backs and coaching Lindsay and Sasha’s other friends on alibis. We never even came close to getting caught. Or so I thought.
So what happened? Okay, I know what happened, but it barely qualified as a mistake. And it was once, that’s all. I reach out and touch Sasha’s arm—she doesn’t pull away. She’s more mature than I am maybe, at the very least she’s had more time to think. “We should’ve gone—” I begin, but Sasha’s way ahead of me.
“I know we should’ve.” Her cheeks hollow out as the cold steals the word from her lips. “I wish we did. It’s too late now.” Our eyes lock. Freeze. Dart away. “Shit!” Sasha exclaims, her eyes on the road.
Mom is motoring up the street towards us, waving, with her extreme happy face fixed firmly in place. If there’s one thing I can’t deal with now, it’s that lame happy holiday face. The real thing is bad enough, but Mom’s imitation sucks any real life out of the holidays and reminds me of a time when they used to mean something besides trying too hard. Or maybe back then I was too impressed by stuff like company Christmas parties where the boss would dress up as a skinny Santa Claus and dole out cheap board games and action figure knockoffs. I mean, I know it wasn’t perfect. I remember the arguments as well as anyone, but I also remember the four of us driving around looking at Christmas lights for weeks beforehand and my parents taking turns bringing my sister, Holland, and me shopping for each other’s presents. Some of that was real. I can feel the difference.
“Sasha, I have to go,” I say. “My dad’s picking me up soon.”
Sasha shoots me an incredulous glare. “This is important.”
“Yeah, I know.” I take a step back as Mom pulls into the drive. “I’ll call you when I get there, okay?”
Sasha doesn’t wait for my mom to get out of the car. She storms off, kicking up snow and folding her arms in front of her. I know that’s a shitty thing to do—just let her go like that—but I can’t help it. Well, I could, but I don’t want to have to try. I keep thinking maybe she’s wrong about the whole thing. Those tests can’t be a hundred percent accurate—nothing is.
Mom opens the car door, ducks down in front of the passenger seat, and emerges with a collection of bags. “Nicholas, give me a hand,” she says, handing me half her stash. That stupid stale smile is stretched across her face so tight she’s practically mummified. “Get the door, please,” she sings, all nursery rhyme–like. I’m glad I’m not going to be here for Christmas, if you want to know the truth. All the pretending gives me a massive headache, but whenever Holland or I decide to stop, Mom withdraws into a catatonic state.
From the Hardcover edition.
and post it to your social network
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews >