Thursday, May 16, 2013

Wild @ Heart with YA Lit

Screwed by Laurie Plissner, is a young adult novel about a 17 year old girl named Grace, who in a moment of weakness, gets pregnant at the same time she loses her virginity. The tragedy of the pregnancy comes from the fact that she is an honor student, a self-proclaimed geek, and daughter to uber Christian parents who lead the local abstinence only chapter at their church. Grace’s parents have high expectations of her, including Ivy League college and saving herself for marriage. Although she is aware that her parents will not be happy with her pregnancy, she is unprepared when her parents not only try to force her into getting an abortion, but kick her out of the house when she decides not to go through with it. Lucky for Grace, she has a mega-rich, 80 year old heiress named Helen for a neighbor who likes trying to help outcasts of society, so takes it upon herself to invite Grace to live in her mansion while she decides what to do with the baby. And, even more amazingly, Helen has a good looking grandson, Charlie, who lives with her and is only slightly taken aback by her situation. A perfect gentleman, raised by his parents as they traveled around Europe, he speaks like he’s British, and falls deeply in love with Grace even before she starts to show. Sounds like life got really difficult for her...

While this storyline initially sounded entertaining to me, it quickly, like in the first two chapters, became clear that I was not going to enjoy this novel. First of all, I could not stand the point of view. Plissner presents this novel in 3rd person omniscient, not limited omniscient. Therefore, at times there were up to three different character’s perspectives on the same event happening on the same page. It was too much, and therefore, tiring. I felt as though I was being forced to read a screenplay being presented as a novel. A limited omniscient POV would have been much easier to read.

In addition, every character, and I mean every, was a walking cliche, which led to a very predictable plot line. Let me give you an idea of what I mean:  

  1. Absolutely perfect, but so smart she is unpopular, daughter of uber right wing Christians gets pregnant.
  2. Said parents kick her out.
  3. “Sperm donor” is mega hot and a complete jerkface who just wants to screw as many girls as he can before he graduates.
  4. Ultra rich holocaust survivor heiress for a neighbor.
  5. Grandson of said neighbor that is so freaking polite it is sickening.
  6. Best friend, who is still proud to be a virgin and a geek, but is also very outspoken and supportive of her best friend.

You really don’t need more than that. Other than knowing her decision to give up her daughter for adoption, the story is all there.

Even more than the POV and the character cliches, there were a couple other bigger issues I had with this novel. I truly feel that this book is written with an agenda. The characters, on more than one occasion, make the claim that condoms are only 90% effective, which, first of all makes it sound like that is bad, but secondly, isn’t true. Condoms only have a 90% effective rate when they are used incorrectly. On the contrary, when used correctly condoms have a 98% effective rate (World Health Organization). Why would the author continuously press this statistic? Unless she is trying to scare teens from using condoms, thereby pressing abstinence. Not only that, but Grace, more than once, while perusing through books of couples wishing to adopt a baby, states that she will not give her child up to any dual working family - the mother must be a stay-at-home mom. Are you kidding me? So, now, Plissner is making a claim that working mothers are ineffective? Or aren’t worthy of adopting? Why wouldn’t a couple that is willing to work their butts off to take care of their new child be an acceptable family? I find this agenda ridiculous and offensive.

Donation Box:  Rather than reading this poorly written, insulting novel, watch Juno. That movie has almost the same plot line but is hilarious, well-written, and heart wrenching. If you want to read an amazing book about a young girl that must deal with her unplanned pregnancy, read A Swift Pure Cry by Siobhan Dowd. That book is
fantastic and tragic. There are so many more well-written novels out there dealing with teen pregnancy, I wouldn’t waste my time with this one.

**ARC provided by


Whitney Baughman said...

Thanks for the review. I received this book as a gift and never had a chance to read it. To the donation box!

Angie Downs said...

No problem! Glad to save you the pain. :)

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