Review: Unpregnant by Jenni Hendriks and Ted Caplan

Blurb: Ronnie never thought she’d want to fail a test – until she finds herself staring at a plastic stick with two solid pink lines. She’s pregnant. With her college future fading before her eyes, Ronnie has to make a tough choice – an abortion. But the closest clinic is over nine hundred miles away. Faced with a treacherous boyfriend and no car, Ronnie turns to the one person who won’t judge her: her ex-best friend Bailey. What could go wrong? Not much, apart from stolen cars, crazed ex-boyfriends, aliens, and the pain and heartbreak of a broken relationship…

Title: Unpregnant

Author: Jenni Hendriks and Ted Caplan

Publisher: Chicken House

Genre: Fiction, YA, Contemporary

Review:

When your life seems perfect – gorgeous boyfriend, big plans for the future, a tight group of friends and the position of valedictorian for your graduating high school class in the bag – all it takes is one little thing to throw everything off track. When Veronica finds out that she’s pregnant, she knows that she can’t keep it. But the only abortion clinic she could get to is over nine hundred miles away…

This book was recommended to me by a friend as a fun, summery read and for that it’s ideal! There’s everything that you’d expect to see in a YA novel – a road trip, some sort of dilemma and two people rekindling a friendship – and it’s told in a fairly light, upbeat way. Despite the obvious main theme of teenage pregnancy, this book wasn’t heavy or preachy which I liked. The road trip is kept interesting by a whole host of kooky characters and sticky situations which the girls manage to navigate with very little long lasting issues. Character-wise, there’s a hint at the characters being more than just their stereotypes but I would have liked to go a bit deeper.

I’d also like to touch on the main theme of this book, teenage pregnancy and abortion. I can understand that this might not be for everyone but I do feel that it’s important, particularly for the age demographic that the book is aimed at, for them to know that there are always options. In this story, [SPOILER] Veronica is set up by her boyfriend who pokes holes in their condoms and I feel that this should spark discussion amongst all ages in regards of consent and honesty in relationships. Another positive thing about this is that this story highlights just how easy it can be to find yourself in this kind of situation and also just how difficult it can be due to lack of resources/funding/help to get yourself out of it, should that be the route you choose. Here we see an excellent display of Veronica’s bodily autonomy – she makes a decision that suits her and doesn’t let anyone else’s opinion sway her.

As for what I disliked, I will note that despite the interesting subject matter, parts definitely had me cringing. When we’re first introduced to Bailey, she comes across as particularly odd. Just as an example, when she finds Veronica’s pregnancy test, she makes a big show of smelling it, not knowing who it belongs to. Now, I can appreciate that we’re supposed to be seeing the difference between her and Veronica to highlight that they’re not friends any more, but it made me put the book down for a while and it was only being in quarantine that made me pick it back up! Additionally, I was disappointed that Kevin’s actions never really see any consequence for him. By poking holes in condoms to trap Veronica, all he gets is a punch in the face. I wanted there to be more repercussions for him to show readers just how wrong those actions were.

Overall, I would recommend this book if you’re after a quick, fairly uncomplicated read that touches on some important themes that could spark some interesting conversation!

Rating: 3.5/5

Recommend?: Yes


Have you read this book? Or maybe you’ve read something similar? What did you think? I’d love to know!

You can always find me over on Instagram and Twitter if you’d like to discuss this book (or any others that I’ve featured) in more detail 😌

3 thoughts on “Review: Unpregnant by Jenni Hendriks and Ted Caplan

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