Buy Unpregnant (Unpregnant, #1)
Special price $17.99 Regular price: $21.99
Publisher: Harper Teen
Reviewer: Melissa on January 28, 2020
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Seventeen-year-old Veronica Clarke never wished she had failed a test until she finds herself starting at two solid pink lines on a pregnancy test. Despite consistently using condoms, Veronica couldn’t foresee that her boyfriend would secretly poke holes in them to keep her from going out-of-state for college. In Unpregnant, debut authors Jenni Hendriks and Ted Caplan deliver a story that is not only hilarious and heart warming, but also very timely. Veronica needs an abortion, but the closest place she can legally get one is more than nine hundred miles away and she doesn’t have a car. Too ashamed of the state she’s in to rely on her friends and family, she turns to the one person who won’t judge her: Bailey Butler—her ex-best friend and their school’s black cloud of anger and snark. Once they’re on the road it becomes clear that nothing with Bailey is ever simple, and Veronica settles into two days of expecting the unexpected. And fighting about this and the issues in their past leads to Bailey abandoning Veronica before they’ve fulfilled their mission. Now Veronica must risk everything to repair the pain she’s caused.
When I first heard about Unpregnant, I wasn’t sure what to think. A part of me was drawn to it because a woman’s right to choose is being threatened across North America, especially in the US where this book takes place. However, another part of me hesitated because I wasn’t sure if I could handle what I thought would be a very emotional read. (Those who know me well know that I don’t read the synopsis just before picking up a book, so I wasn’t expecting to laugh as much as I did while reading.) If I had read the three author blurbs on the back of the book, I might have realized that Unpregnant was going to be funny as hell…even when Veronica and Bailey come face-to-face with people who have pro-life agendas. How do they make an abortion story funny? You’ll have to pick up this book yourself to find out because I don’t want to spoil any of these humorous situations and laugh-out-loud moments. I might’ve also realized that the focus of the book would be a story about REAL, true-blue friendships vs. the shallow friendships some people, like Veronica, settle for when they’re growing up and afraid about what everyone else thinks about who you are and the choices you’re making. With it’s hilarious situations and “abortion friend” story line, I really enjoyed this unique road trip novel.
Beyond the comical elements and the important friendship epiphany that Veronica has during the journey, I know readers will appreciate what the authors get right. I can’t say that I’m an expert about teen abortion in the US since, let’s be honest, I don’t live there, and the laws are complicated. However, I don’t doubt that the only way Veronica could get a safe, legal abortion without her parents knowing about the pregnancy would be to drive around 1000 miles there and back from her town in Missouri to Albuquerque, New Mexico. Even if she was an adult and didn’t need parental approval to get an abortion in her state, there’s still a high chance that she might’ve needed to drive a considerable distance to find a clinic simply because access to a legal abortions are limited in many states. In addition, the overall process once Veronica arrived at the clinic, such as filling out the forms, having conversations with clinic staff, and having a surgical abortion and physically recovering from it, seemed well researched and plausible.
That said, possibly from some of the constraints of the novel—from the geographical distant and the time limits of Veronica and Bailey’s trip—I ended up feeling that not everything about Veronica’s experience was realistic. I really doubt that she would’ve been able to get a firm appointment for the following day when she had Bailey call in the middle of the night somewhere along the way to Albuquerque. Possible openings might be reserved for those coming without an appointment on a first-come-first-serve basis, but that’s not what happened here. Rather, she got an appointment at the last minute without much trouble at all. I also doubt that the clinic would have a 24 hour hotline through which people could book next day appointments. And just like at a family doctor or other medical specialist, one doesn’t just decide to leave their appointment and expect to get another one later the same day. Again, I do think some of these choices were made because of the geographical distance and the limited amount of time allocated by Veronica for her’s and Bailey’s trip, but I fell like it’s important to point out these liberties because I wouldn’t want a teen reader to assume that these things would work in exactly this way IRL.
Overall, I think that Hendriks and Caplan have made a great effort to share with readers not only that it’s okay for women of all ages to make the best choice for themselves, but also to set pretty realistic expectations for what having either a medical or surgical abortion would be like, particularly for US teens. I can only imagine that when this book becomes a Hollywood movie that it will have an even greater impact on young people and the parents of teens.
If you’re looking for a great, realistic YA that isn’t primarily focused on romance, then pick up Unpregnant and get ready to experience a road trip friendship book that you won’t soon forget.
Buy Unpregnant today and benefit from 18% off the regular price!