$16.99 / 14 +
Release date: September 20, 2011
Eleanor Crowe is 16, rebellious, and pregnant. Faced with the option of following her missionary parents back to Kenya and allowing her older sister to adopt her child or marrying her underachieving boyfriend, Lam, she chooses the latter. The newlyweds set up house for the summer at Lam’s parents’ summer camp for overweight kids. In exchange for room and board, the two are required to help out. Eleanor approaches the situation with a negative attitude. She’s not thrilled about living in a cabin in the middle of the woods, having to put her bathrobe on to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, or working with the campers. She’s also convinced that her in-laws are out to get her, as they are less than thrilled with the recent turn of events in their son’s life.
As expected, Eleanor’s new husband isn’t a shoo-in for father of the year. Between his choosing to go out drinking with friends on their wedding night and cheating on Eleanor with another counselor, Eleanor quickly realizes she married a loser. Fortunately, she develops friendships with some of her fellow counselors and even becomes close to one of her campers, a girl named Banner. The time Eleanor spends leading dance classes and helping out in the crafts cabin helps her to realize that she actually does like kids and is, in fact, pretty good with them. Eleanor vacillates between wanting to keep her child and knowing she doesn’t have all the resources to provide for it, particularly with Lam being the way he is.
A tragic accident on the day of Eleanor’s scheduled c-section is the catalyst for a series of disappointments that force Eleanor to stand up for herself and her baby and make her own (unexpected) way in life.
This book almost has a little bit too much going on (unplanned pregnancy + loser boyfriend + absent parents + accident + special needs baby) for me. I really hated Eleanor’s parents. Who goes back to Kenya (twice!) when your 16-year-old daughter clearly needs you?! Lam’s parents weren’t much better, but seemed to have a better understanding of the situation. I did like that Eleanor had such a strong personality. It was easy to see how that got her into trouble but in the end it was also the thing that saved her. I was glad she could pull through numerous disappointments without completely breaking down. While this is more a middle of the road offering for me (I wish one or two of the dramatic elements at the end had been cut; it would have made the story more believable), I think teens who like their contemporary fiction with a side of drama will eat this up with a spoon. And hopefully stay away from loser boys afterwards.
Source: Reviewed from ARC provided by publisher/ NetGalley