Goodreads Synopsis: A thought-provoking and courageous new novel by National Book Award winner Han Nolan. Nobody gets away with telling Eleanor Crowe what to do. But as a pregnant sixteenyear-old, her options are limited: move to Kenya with her missionary parents or marry the baby’s father and work at his family’s summer camp for overweight kids. Despite her initial reluctance to help out, Elly is surprised that she actually enjoys working with the campers. But a tragedy on the very day her baby is born starts a series of events that overwhelms Elly with unexpected emotions and difficult choices. Somehow, she must turn her usual obstinance in a direction that can ensure a future for herself—and for the new life she has created.
3.74 average rating on Goodreads
Genre: YA, Fiction, Drug Abuse, Teen Pregnancy, Family Drama
May I just start by saying that I find the topic of teenage pregnancy and the associated trials and tribulations fascinating to read about, so I was semi-sold on this book just by reading the synopsis.
Eleanor Crowe is the sixteen year old daughter of two missionaries who seem to favor taking care of the AIDS babies in Africa instead of Eleanor. Eleanor is defiant, stubborn, pregnant, and married to the dope-head father of her child, Lam. Lam's parents own and run a summer camp for overweight children, and Eleanor begrudgingly lives and works there during the summer of her pregnancy. Her marriage, her relationship with the campers and with the other counsellors experience many ups and downs, and on the day Eleanor delivers her baby, a tragedy back at camp leaves her reeling. Suddenly Eleanor is faced with a dozen adult decisions that could be life changing for her and her baby.
I really enjoyed this plot as it had a lot of different aspects that worked nicely together. Eleanor and Lam seemed like two typical teenagers, and many of the emotions and thoughts that Eleanor had were very realistic in my opinion. Lam's parents, whom Eleanor refers to as the MIL and FIL are quite harsh and hard to like, as are Eleanor's parents and sister, Sarah.
Eleanor's experiences as a young married teen at a camp surrounded by many more normal teenagers were interesting to read about: her feelings for someone other than her husband, her husband cheating on her, etc. I also liked reading about how Eleanor felt about the baby growing inside her, as she was deciding what to do with the baby once it was born.
I was very pleased with the ending of this book because though the climax was dramatic and the ending unexpected, everything seemed to work out for the best.
Overall I give this book a 5/5 stars, because I can find no fault with this book and would definitely recommend it to anyone.