Book Review March 4th
by: Christine Duval
★★★★4 StarsBLURB: When eighteen-year-old Laurel Harris discovers she’s pregnant four weeks into the start of her freshman year at prestigious Colman College, she has all intentions of telling her father. But being away at school makes it too easy to hide. And while she can’t explain to her friends, or to herself even, the reasons why she doesn’t want the baby’s father to find out about the pregnancy, the rest of her world begins to unravel.
Freshman year is hard enough. Most girls get through by forming close friendships, finding new boys and a phone call from mom or dad on Sunday. Laurel has to navigate all of it while hiding an unplanned pregnancy from a summer fling...
An imperfect heroine plagued by bad choices and haunted by the memory of her deceased mother and grandparents, readers are sure to identify with Laurel as she navigates teen pregnancy, in secret, in a remote college setting.
So I was given Freshman Forty by the author to review and finally got around to it. I must admit I'm a sucker for a pregnancy story and really enjoyed Freshman Forty. Laurel is a eighteen-year old freshman with a hard year ahead of her and many tough decisions to make.
Not too soon after starting school Laurel finds out she's pregnant. She ran far away to school to escape her absent father. There relationship has been non-existent since her mother passed and he's more like a distant uncle than her father. Laurel struggles the most with being honest with him and he doesn't make it easy on her.
What I Liked
I loved the detail we learn about all the stages of Laurels pregnancy. The author clearly did a lot of research in regards to being pregnant or has a house full of kids herself. It was very interesting to walk through Laurel's pregnancy with her and experience all the fears when she does. She is just entering adulthood herself and she now has to decide how much she is willing to give up. At times I hated Laurel and wanted to throttle her for being so dumb. But this was truly eye-opening because she was so out of her element, alone and scared. She feels she has no one to turn to and so keeps it all inside. She even goes so far as to hide her pregnancy from everyone on campus and takes to being called all forms of overweight because she's in denial herself. There was nothing wrong with Laurel appearing weak because in her situation nothing is normal or easy. She tries to put aside all the awful things and ignore the issue, but who doesn't.
I really appreciated how Laurel was not regretful. She recognized she made an error in judgment and had options to look into. Freshman Forty was a great book for this day and age. Young girls are getting pregnant earlier and earlier and even Laurel is shocked by this phenomenon in her guidance groups. It is a very serious issue that many girls don't truly think will happen to them until it does. Laurel is part of this group and has so much fear and pressure breathing on her she doesn't know how to handle it. Considering Laurel is alone throughout her whole pregnancy I think she really steps up to the plate.
What I Didn't Like
I felt like this was half a story. There was meat but no bread holding it together. I would have loved to see more of Laurel's experience after having the baby, such as telling the father or even just being a mother since she was 100% unprepared when she had the C-section. Or more of a story about how she became pregnant the summer before school. Otherwise it felt a bit off to me. All we see is her dealing with the pregnancy not how it happened or what to do with a baby now that she decided to keep her when she leaves the hospital.
Great read about the consequences of our action and how we deal with the outcome of our decisions, good and bad. Would definitely recommend, especially to younger readers. Helps serve as a guide to why safe sex is a quick and easy solution.