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As Far as You'll Take Me by Phil Stamper
Belly Up by Eva Darrows
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Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett
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Restaurant to Another World Volume 3 by Junpei Inuzuka and Katsumi Enami (Illustrations)
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These Unlucky Stars by Gillian McDunn
Tin by Candace Robinson and Amber R. Duell
Victor and Nora: A Gotham Love Story by Lauren Myracle and Isaac Goodhart
We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
Wicked Weaves by Joyce Lavene and Jim Lavene
The Year Shakespeare Ruined My Life by Dani Jansen

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These Unlucky Stars: 03/28/21

These Unlucky Stars

Belly Up by Eva Darrows is a frank and funny book about teenage pregnancy. Sara has consensual break-up sex with a hot boy she's only just met at this summer party. It's also a last fling before she and her mother move in with her grandmother. They don't use protection and she ends up pregnant.

This book isn't about family drama or shaming over her situation. Instead, mother and grandmother put aside their differences (for the most part) and fully support Sara.

More importantly they share the messy parts of pregnancy, birth, and postpartum recovery with her. And thus, Sara, in her frank, humorous voice, shares the gross parts with the reader.

It's not, though, just a book about being a pregnant teen. Sara also makes new friends in her new school, and even falls in love. Leaf, her new boyfriend, is Romani and the book explores a lot of the stereotypes. Leaf, throughout, is presented as a human being. He and his father are individuals.

After so many teen pregnancy books where the pregnant teen is often absent from the narrative, Belly Up was delightfully refreshing. In the middle grade books I've read, the teen mother is the older sister and ends up being a huge burden/disruption to the family. If she's not banished to the heartbreak of the sibling protagonist, her baby ends up being the responsibility of the younger sister. As Sara is an only child, none of that can happen, giving room for her to go through character development instead.

Five stars

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