Author: Laurie Plissner
Publisher: Merit Press
Publication Date: May 18, 2013
Source: I received a finished copy in exchange for a honest review.
Flattered by the attentions of Nick, the cutest guy in school, seventeen-year-old Grace Warren, captain of the math team, lets down her guard and gets pregnant the night she loses her virginity. Hopeful that Nick will drop to one knee and propose when she breaks the baby news to him, Grace is heartbroken - Nick wants nothing to do with her. Her best friend, Jennifer, thinks she should get an abortion, but Grace is certain that her morally upright parents will insist that she keep the baby. After she comes clean to her super-religious, strait-laced parents, they surprise her by insisting that she terminate the pregnancy to avoid humiliating the family. But when she sees the fetus on the ultrasound, she decides she can't get rid of it. Deciding to save the tiny life growing inside of her, Grace must face the consequences of being that girl - the good girl who got knocked up.
Urgh, this is such a hard book to review. I actually enjoyed the first half, but then during the second half I felt like everything crumbled and I ended up hating Grace. Also, I wanted to include a small disclaimer: This is a book about teen pregnancy and therefore my review will mention pregnancy and the stuff that precedes and follows it (aka. sex). If that's something that may offend you, please skip this review.
Since this is a book about a teen who gets pregnant and is kicked out of the house by her parents (it's not a spoiler if it's in the synopsis), I expected it to be very gritty. Look the cover, a teenage girl with a backpack on the side of a highway. It's not. Grace is homeless for probably a grand total of one hour, which she spends napping in a hammock before being rescued by an elderly neighbour. Who also happens to be completely loaded AND have a cute great-nephew staying with her. Not to say Grace's situation is a picnic, but I think considering the circumstances, she was Disney movie lucky. While her parents were truly insane and she did have a pretty major fall from grace (see what I did there?), Grace's situation could have been a hundred times worse without her unbelievable rescue by Helen.
And what about Charlie? How convenient is it that Grace's rescuer, who is a childless senior citizen, just happens to have her super cute, incredibly nice, painfully perfect great-nephew staying with her for the school year? And that he is the kind of boy who is turned on by pregnant girls? I just found this part of the book to be super unrealistic and I think the book would have been much stronger if Charlie had not been included.
I did enjoy watching Grace as she came to terms with what was happening to her and was forced to make a decision that would impact multiple lives. These parts of the story were my favourite by far and I wish they hadn't been combined with an awkward love story.
*** SPOILER ALERT *** Please don't read these 2 paragraphs if you don't want spoilers!
Finally, I need to have a little rant about Grace herself. For the first half of the book I liked her and could usually see where she was coming from and why, but about halfway through, I started to get annoyed by her and for the final 50 pages I couldn't stand her. Despite everything she had been through (or I guess because of it), she still acted like having sex at 17 was the absolutely worst thing should could have ever done. She was constantly calling it her cardinal sin and even forced herself to give birth with not painkillers as a sort of penance for this terrible thing she had done. Seriously, you would have thought that she had been going door-to-door killing babies for how much she was punishing herself for having sex one time and getting majorly unlucky. Eventually, this all started to sound very preachy and I felt like the author was trying to make it clear that teens should never have sex ever until they meet their soul mate. Personally, I found this annoying and unrealistic. Teens are so pumped full of hormones that abstinence is unrealistic. Not to mention that when you're a teen, every relationship feels like soul mates (at least for me it did). So while I'm definitely not advocating that teens go around having sex willy-nilly, I got super annoyed at how sex was pained at this terrible sin.
Secondly, Grace turned completely crazy after the baby was born and started playing these really weird mind games with poor Charlie. You know the ones where you want someone to do something, but you tell them not to as some find of deranged test and then when they respect your wishes, you get all disappointed. What? I have absolutely no patience for people who pull crap like this. In any sort of relationship, especially when you think you're in love with someone, be straight with them!
*** END SPOILER ***
Overall, Screwed started off very promising, but when steadily downhill from the halfway mark. The characters were either annoying or unrealistically perfect and everything was wrapped up too neatly in the end. Things got a little preachy for my taste and a weird fairytale romance didn't fit well into what should have been a much grittier story.
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