Thursday, May 2, 2013

Book Review: Freshman Forty

Freshman Forty
Published By: Amazon
Publication Date: February 21, 2013
Page Count: 185
Buy it at Amazon 
Source: Kindly Provided by Author
Audience: New Adult - Contemporary

Freshman Forty is pretty much the story I expected it to be; a girl in college finds out she is pregnant and has to cope with it. Laurel is the girl in question, and she has a track record of doing the easy thing; she is at the college her father wanted, rather than the one she wanted, she is taking a course she has no interest in just to please him, and she hasn't really confronted the fact that they barely have a function relationship since the death of her mother 8 years previously. I can’t say I agreed at all with many of Laurel’s decisions about her pregnancy, but I came to like her a lot in the end as she gained a little backbone and did what she wanted.

Laurel becomes a driven and determined young woman, and she has the good fortune to meet some lovely people to help her out during her pregnancy. From the nurse at the initial care clinic who took a keen interest in how she was doing, and tried to help guide her through the initial worries about what to do, to the kindly pediatrician with an unclear connection to her mother. Laurel stared down the face of an abortion for a while, but as the title would suggest, she decides to keep the baby and see what happens. She somehow ends up with a great support network, despite the fact that she can’t bring herself to tell either her own father or the father of her child about her state. I found her to be quite courageous, which is what made me warm to her. She tries to cope with the huge changes her life will go through, and although she lacks the courage to speak up to the people that really need to know, she is somehow all the braver for making it so far by herself.

I was pretty disappointed by her “friend” Mike’s reaction to her news; he so obviously likes Laurel at the start of the book, but he just can’t deal with such a big thing with a girl he only just met, and rather than acting like a man, he chooses the exact same response as Laurel – to hide away and avoid the problem as much as possible. It was also disappointing just how oblivious her mostly-absent father was, and how selfish he was. He didn't give Laurel a chance, and she didn't push her case with him far enough. The resolution between them was not entirely surprising, but still very heart warming.

Fortunately for Laurel, this turned out to be a happy story. It could have gone wrong so easily, and those worries kept me glued to my Kindle, so much so that I read the whole book in a single sitting. I did genuinely really enjoy reading this fresh little story, and I think that anyone who has ever worried about getting pregnant while young would benefit from reading this. It isn't so much of a cautionary tale as an interesting exercise in ‘what if’. I think that many stories out there wouldn't have ended so happily, but I probably wouldn't have enjoyed those stories as much.

When eighteen-year-old Laurel Harris discovers she’s pregnant four weeks into the start of her freshman year at prestigious Colman College, she has all intentions of telling her father. But being away at school makes it too easy to hide. And while she can’t explain to her friends, or to herself even, the reasons why she doesn’t want the baby’s father to find out about the pregnancy, the rest of her world begins to unravel. 

Freshman year is hard enough. Most girls get through by forming close friendships, finding new boys and a phone call from mom or dad on Sunday. Laurel has to navigate all of it while hiding an unplanned pregnancy from a summer fling... 

An imperfect heroine plagued by bad choices and haunted by the memory of her deceased mother and grandparents, readers are sure to identify with Laurel as she navigates teen pregnancy, in secret, in a remote college setting.

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