Christian Teen Fiction About Teenage Pregnancy

17 -year-old Sophie is starting her senior year with a big secret.  She’s pregnant.  This would be difficult enough, but she and all her friends are conservative Christians.  She is terrified of what they will think of her.  The father, a college boy who also goes to her church, had a fling with her while they were both counselors at a Christian summer camp.  To make things worse, her best friend, her minister’s daughter, has a huge crush on him.  Sophie is terrified.  She is now the editor of her school paper.  She uses her journalistic skills to investigate a center at her high school for pregnant teens.  This experience helps her make her own decisions.

Sophie’s story is compelling but not preachy.  The values the author wants to convey are there, but I didn’t feel pounded over the head with them.  Sophie feels ashamed because of what her family and friends will think of her situation, but also of what God will think.  Her relationship with God is very tender and real and her need to distince herself from him during her stuggle is very painful for her.  It is a very quick read.

Discussing with teens may be difficult because of the religious nature of the book.  I wouldn’t recommend using this in a public library or public school setting.  If you do feel this book is appropriate for your teens, here are a few discussion ideas.

Sophie takes an absinence pledge.  Do you feel this kind of pledge is effective for teens?

What is the best way to handle teen pregnancy?  Should more be taught in the schools?  Birth control education?

Sophie felt duped by Dylan.  She trusted him and thought he loved her.  How should she handle that situation?

Teenage pregnancy is in the media a lot lately.  Some examples, Bristol Palin, the character of Quinn on the TV Glee and the movie Juno.  How are these situations different (besides Bristol being the only real person mentioned?)  What message do they convey to teens today?

How does Sophie’s religion influence her choices?

Talk about the teens at the pregnancy center.  How do they differ with Sophie?  Do they differ at all?

I hope everyone reads Marcelo In The Real World

I am fascinated by fiction for young people where the main character is a person on the Autism Spectrum. I couldn’t wait to read Francisco X. Stork’s Marcelo In The Real World. Marcelo goes to a school for special needs children. He loves it. He feels safe there. His father, Arturo, wants him to spend his senior year at a public high school. He makes a deal with Marcelo. Marcelo must work at his law firm for the summer to be exposed to what he calls “the real world.” If Marcelo does well at the law firm, he will get to go back to finish high school at the school of his choice. At the law firm Marcelo becomes friends with Jasmine, the girl who runs the mail room. Arturo would rather Marcelo become friends with Wendell, the snobby son of his law partner. When Marcelo comes across a photo of a girl who was hurt by a client of his father’s, he must decide whether to do what is right, knowing that it will get him in big trouble. Wendell also wants Marcelo to put Jasmine in a compromising position for him. Saying no might mean Marcelo won’t get what he wants.

Reading how Marcelo views the world is fascinating. Many children on the spectrum have a particular interest that occupies much of their thoughts. For Marcelo, it is religion. He has wonderful conversations with the Rabbi which I really enjoyed reading. I loved how slowly people began to see the beauty of the way Marcelo’s mind worked. I will say this… what jerky parent would consider changing their child’s school right before the senior year of high school? His friendship with Jasmine is beautiful. The story is interesting and engaging and I hope tons of people read this book!

Some ideas for discussing with teens:

Talk about how Marcelo views friendships. Wendell, Jasmine and the Rabbi.

Talk about Asperger’s Syndrome. How much do teens know about Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Jasmine and Marcelo talk about the simpler life in the country… the quiet. How do you see it. Is it better or would Jasmine just be hiding? Is Marcelo hiding at Paterson?

Marcelo and the Rabbi discuss urges and urgency. How does that impact your own lives?

Would you do what Marcelo did, even knowing he would hurt his father’s law practice?

Would you want to live in a tree house?