"Exhibits a marked development in the author's style and exploration of character."
This story takes place over the nine months of 16-year-old Kia's pregnancy. She loses her virginity with her boyfriend, and though they use a condom, Derek and Kia "must be that lucky one percent or whatever it is." Kia's father pressures her to have an abortion, but she decides to go through with the pregnancy and adoption with the help of her church. Derek immediately breaks up with her, so she leans on Justin, the leader of her church youth group. The moral role is taken by Kia's "kind of liberal" Unitarian church. As her minister says, "Society is so hypocritical, isn't it?... Our own Sex Education course encourages abstinence... but also teaches that sexuality is a wonderful human experience. How can we expect teens to choose to abstain when these powerful messages are everywhere?" Kia's journey, shown in e-mail and journal entries as well as through standard narration, will prove a useful one for readers who want to see an exploration of some choices a pregnant teen may face. Human interaction and spiritual musings are all narrowly focused on Kia's understanding of her pregnancy. The only characters that are condemned by the novel are those who see only one possible option for Kia and refuse to consider others. KLIATT Codes: S—Recommended for senior high school students. 2001, Orca, 250p.,
Kia is a typical sixteen-year-old girl involved with friends at school, her youth group, and community service at a local seniors' home. When she discovers that she is pregnant after her first sexual experience, however, she immediately feels isolated. Her pregnancy ends her relationship with Derek, although he accompanies her to an abortion clinic to ensure that she erases the evidence. At the last moment, Kia realizes she cannot go through with the abortion and the rest of the book deals with the consequences of her decision. Hrdlitschka carries the reader through Kia's pregnancy, titling chapters with the week of pregnancy plus a description of the baby's development. Kia faces the reactions and judgments of her parents, little sister, Derek, friends, and ultimately, herself. The reader follows Kia's journey through narrative, personal journal entries, dialogue, and Kia's e-mail correspondence with her youth group leader, Justin. Hrdlitschka's writing weaves these elements together to provide the reader with a well-rounded sense of Kia's experience. The e-mail letters are particularly realistic and often poignant. Justin is a central figure, playing a role in Kia's life that is alternately father, confidante, and surrogate partner. Justin's characterization, like the book itself, is complex, rich, and unpredictable. Hrdlitschka manages to cover several sensitive topics with grace, care, and insight with a cast of fully realized characters. Although Kia has many sources of support, this book ultimately is about the journey of self-reliance and is a recommended purchase for all libraries serving young adults. VOYA CODES: 4Q 3P J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Willappeal with pushing; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2001, Orca, 250p,
Sixteen-year-old Kia thought she had found the right guy when she met Derek. He had something she couldn't explain — something that made her forget everything and everyone else. Once she got pregnant, however, her image of "perfect" Derek faded. Derek proves to be a non-supportive teen father, and suddenly, she is forced to make a decision that will change her life forever. The only fully supportive friend she has is youth group leader Justin, but she will find out, while she is grappling with her unplanned pregnancy, that Justin is hiding a secret of his very own. This book chronicles the arduous journey of a young girl who has to stand up for what she believes in when everyone else is against her. Author Hrdlitschka gives us a real-life look at the fears, hopes, disappointments, and pain associated with teen pregnancy. This book is a good starting point to open up the communication in classrooms about pregnancy, birth control, and abortion, among other controversial issues. It shows how a child's life can change when they are forced to make very adult decisions. 2001, Orca Book Publishers, 250 pp.,
Gr 8 Up-A heart-wrenching story about 16-year-old Kia, whose life is about to change forever as she learns she is pregnant. She must then confront not only her own fears but also the feelings of her parents and her friends from her church youth group. She is talked into going for an abortion by her irresponsible boyfriend, but quickly realizes that pressure is not a reason to end a life. The story takes readers through her pregnancy, week-by-week, through third-person narrative and e-mails between Kia and her good friend and youth counselor, Justin. She becomes predictably attracted to this 23-year-old young man, but he is gay, and she must come to terms with the fact that they will never materialize into a couple and raise her baby, which Kia often dreams about. Throughout the book, the teen matures and begins to understand that giving birth and raising a baby are two different things. She struggles with the decision of whether to keep the baby or to choose loving parents who can give the infant a life it deserves. In the end, she is able to make the choice that best suits her and provides her child with options. The story is similar in scope to Marilyn Reynolds's Detour for Emmy (Morning Glory, 1993) and Beatrice Sparks's Annie's Baby: The Diary of Anonymous, a Pregnant Teenager (Avon, 1998), complete with the unsupportive boyfriend who does not understand and is in denial, and the family members who try to be supportive. It's thought-provoking and competently done.-Nicole M. Marcuccilli, Glenview Public Library, IL Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.