Click here to see all of the current Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.
UNpregnant by Jenni Hendriks and Ted Caplan
Harper Teen / Harper Collins Publisher
Publication Date: September 10, 2019
Veronica has everything: a great boyfriend, popularity, Ivy League college acceptance. She finds out she’s pregnant after her boyfriend poked holes in a condom without her knowledge. She decides to have an abortion, and must travel nearly 1000 miles from Missouri to New Mexico for the procedure. With her besties away for a study weekend, and her boyfriend/stalker now an unreliable option, Veronica asks former friend Bailey to drive her and nothing goes as planned.
This is a quick read, moving along with short chapters, comedic dialogue, and absurd adventures. The story focuses not so much on Veronica’s decision, which she is firm in, (though the details of her research, decision-making, and visit to Planned Parenthood will likely be eye-opening for young adult readers) but the challenges she faces along the way. Veronica and Bailey’s friendship rekindles, and hopefully readers will relate to having someone in their own lives who will support them during difficult times. The insane stalker boyfriend adds humor to a heavy topic.
Aftercare Instructions: A Novel by Bonnie Pipkin, As Many Nows As I Can Get by Shana Youngdahl and Belly Up by Eve Darrows are similar in topic, featuring female teenage protagonists facing decisions about unexpected pregnancy. Readers interested in viewing how the issue of abortion is portrayed in film and television can use the online database from the program Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health.