Saturday, July 14, 2012

YA Fiction: Holding on to Zoe by George Ella Lyon

Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
Date: July 17, 2012
Format: ARC (not cover pictured)
Source: publisher's Twitter
Read: for review (disclaimer: I received my copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)
Pages: 160
Reading time: 90 minutes

From GoodReads: After sixteen-year-old Jules has her baby, Zoe, it doesn’t matter anymore that her mother thinks she’s a drama queen, or that her father left them years ago, or even that Zoe’s father is gone, too. She and her baby make a family now; she doesn’t need anyone else in the world except Zoe. Though it's tough being a new mom, balancing Zoe’s needs with working at the Toyota factory and thinking about how to finish school, Jules is sure she’ll figure it out. Still, she wonders, why can’t anyone be happy for her and Zoe? And why does her mom refuse to believe that Zoe's real?

My review: Holding on to Zoe is a very different look at teen pregnancy and other issues. Jules' story is both engaging and, at times, emotional and completely heartbreaking. The only problem with the novel is development. There's very little backstory given, so Jules' state of mind and situation seem rather sudden and hard to connect with a character who, beforehand, came off as mild and intelligent. I found the ending a bit unsatisfactory, focusing surprisingly little on the aftermath and not delving very deep into the underlying causes of Jules' situation. The book is a nice, quick read, touching on several important teen issues, but the reader is left wanting just a little bit more.

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