Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Girl Mans Up

Girl Mans Up  by M-E Girard

Pen doesn't want to be a boy.  And she isn't.  So why does everybody have these weird ideas about her?

Pen likes to dress in baggy jeans and her brother Jimmy's t-shirts.  She doesn't want to be her mom's "princesa."  She doesn't want to get married to some guy and go to nursing school. She wants to hang out with her buddies--guys like Colby, who plays first-person shooter video games almost as well as Pen, and who totally has her back.  

Or...does he?

Readers will see that Colby lacks the loyalty and respect Pen craves long before Pen catches on.  But when Colby tries to sexually assault her, even Pen can see what a ratbag her "friend" really is.  At that point, Pen has to make some changes.  And none of the choices she might make will be easy.

This book features some fabulous allies, including an older brother and (to Pen's surprise) a couple of girls.  

Three cheers for a strong gender-fluid protagonist, a teen romance that does not fly apart at the seams by the end of the book, and a sibling who is friend, brother, and parent to Pen.

Recommended for readers ages 12 and up.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Aftercare Instructions

Aftercare Instructions  by Bonnie Pipkin

17-year-old Genesis Johnson walks out into the waiting room at the Planned Parenthood clinic and discovers that Peter, her boyfriend and one true love, is gone.  Cramping and bleeding after the abortion she has just endured, Gen can't believe he has abandoned her.  But he isn't waiting for her, and he won't answer her calls or texts.  What else could it mean?

Events are revealed in alternating formats:  the present day episodes are a straightforward narration, but flashbacks to the past are written as a stage play starring Gen, Peter, and a few important supporting characters.  The details revealed build a story that will surprise readers almost as much as it surprises Genesis herself.

The chapters are titled with excerpts from the aftercare instructions booklet provided by the abortion clinic, which serves as an anchor point for the story and also offers insight into events as they unfold. 

Recommended for readers ages 14 to adult.