Thursday, September 8, 2011


In Trouble

Written by: Ellen Levine

Released: September 28, 2011 by Carolrhoda Books

Summary: Jamie and Elaine have been best friends forever, and now they’re finally juniors in high school. Elaine has a steady boyfriend, and Jamie could have one—if she'd just open her eyes and see Paul. But Jamie has a bigger problem to worry about.

Then Elaine gets "in trouble"—something they thought only happened to "other" girls. Are there any good choices for a girl in trouble?

In Trouble is a novel born of author Ellen Levine’s interviews with women who came of age in the late 1950s and early 1960s, including those who knew what it was like to be a teen facing a horrible choice.

In the decades before Roe v. Wade, a young woman "in trouble" had very few options—and all of them meant shame, isolation, and maybe much worse.

Jamie and Elaine's stories are just two among the thousands of stories of teenagers facing unplanned pregnancies.

I love reading novels with subject matter like this one because it’s so entrenched in real life that I can’t help but imagine it being true. Plus, while I’m pro-choice in matters such as these, I’m fascinated on the process that other people go through in order to make their own decision.

Both Jamie and Elaine’s stories are ones which I know have happened to so many different girls all over the world. With one pregnancy resulting from false declarations of love and pressure and the other from unfortunate circumstances, this story covers a wide spectrum pertaining to pregnancy. They also cover the different choices that a girl has – which in the set time period of this novel isn’t necessarily as many as there are today – and the turmoil that those choices can cause within a person’s life.

What I didn’t like about this novel was the way it was written. The story, I loved, but I could have done without the secondary plot line of Jamie’s father and the annoying jumps to a script-like narrative. It was choppy and made it hard to really get into and stay into the story. The only place where the script-thing even worked well in my mind was when Jamie was remembering her attack and the events leading up to it. But even the attack itself was awkward from the very beginning; the way that it was first hinted at, the almost pointless build-up (since the reader knew about it anyways so long as they could put two and two together and get four), and how nothing seemed to be done afterwards.

This novel deals with heavy subject matter and might not be for all people. Aside from pregnancy, it deals with religion and politics and while I liked the novel well enough, it just wasn’t enough. I’m giving it a 4/10.

I was graciously provided this eARC though netGalley by Carolrhoda Books.

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