Berlie Doherty really got it right with this one (a 1992 Carnegie Medal Winner). Not that I, personally, had a baby in high school. But this story sounds very familiar, based on what I have been told by pregnant teenagers (in the district where I used to substitute teach). The denial a girl goes through before she takes a pregnancy test. The desperation she feels when she finds out for sure. How helpless she feels when she has to tell the baby’s father — and her own parents. Wishing that she could turn back time. Wanting to end the pregnancy, but not being sure if that is really the right way out. Or wanting to keep the baby and not knowing how to make things work…
This book is unique because it gives both sides of the story — from the girl, Helen, and her boyfriend, Chris. Sections alternate between Chris’s narrations and Helen’s letters to “Nobody” (the unborn baby), allowing the reader to see how each of them is reacting and feeling. While it is heartbreaking to see how the lack of communication affects them in some parts, this is a reality of life. People do not know exactly how other people feel unless they talk about it, and many people feel too awkward to be completely honest — especially in such a tense situation.
I will not tell you whether Helen and Chris stay together or split; nor will I tell you if Helen decides to keep the baby. I think that knowing either of these facts would ruin the “journey” of this book. What I will tell you, though, is that this book is neither graphic about how the couple ended up “in this situation” nor is it preachy about a “right” choice. I think this book is a great way to give teens some insight into the realities and possible repercussions of unprotected sex. It think it could even serve as a conversation starter for teenagers and their parents. Whatever the reason you choose this book, though, I think you will enjoy it.