Okay, well, here goes my first negative review --
Angel's Choice by Lauren Baratz-Logsted tells the story of Angel, a high school senior who loses her virginity at an end-of-summer party and becomes pregnant. She struggles with the choices any pregnant teen would face -- abortion, giving the baby up for adoption, or keeping the baby to raise on her own.
While Baratz-Logsted tells Angel's story well, and I enjoyed it while I was reading it -- I just have issues with the whole thing. As Angel herself says near the end of the novel. "My story should come with a warning, and that warning should say, in big letters, 'HEY, KIDS, DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME" [note: this is a review copy -- so the text could change in the final copy] -- But the whole novel reads like a warning to teenage girls -- and this just bothers me.
First of all -- we never really know how Angel gets pregnant in the first place. We are led to believe that Tim (the boy she loses her virginity to) uses a condom. He takes one out of his pocket, at the very least. But condoms are 85% effective (98% when used correctly), so either the condom broke (which we don't know because Angel conveniently remembers very little), or he did not actually put it on in the first place. It would have been better if Baratz-Logsted had not mentioned the condom at all, and then the reader could just assume that they made the mistake of not using one.
[Condoms do not break easily -- trust me on this -- my third grade teacher demonstrated this fact by filling one up with water until it was like two feet long! At least, I think that's what she was trying to prove -- I was a very innocent 8-year-old at the time!]
Baratz-Logsted seems to be trying to scare teenagers out of having sex -- and while I don't necessarily think they should be -- I do think that they should be given correct facts and information, so that they can make a logical choice, rather than just being scared. [See this article by Tanya Lee Stone -- she discusses this much more eloquently than I could -- she's also the author of A Bad Boy Can Be Good For a Girl -- which is sitting at home on my bedroom floor waiting patiently to be read]*
I also have a problem with Danny -- one of the main characters. Angel has had a crush on him for years, and they have "fooled around" many times. The author portrays him as a complete jerk for the first half of the novel, and then suddenly, he shows up on her doorstep with flowers and starts going to Lamaze classes with her. His sudden transformation just seems way too good to be true.
The novel does have its redeeming qualities, such as Angel's realization that she has simply been reacting to everything in her life, and that she has to make choices for herself -- and that is an empowering message for teenage girls. It really is not a bad book -- just one that could have been so much better.
*This article on sex in YA lit is also very interesting!