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Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Belly Up by Eva Darrows aka Hillary Monahan

There’s a first time for everything.
First time playing quarters.

First time spinning the bottle.
First totally hot consensual truck hookup with a superhot boy whose digits I forgot to get.

First time getting pregnant.
Surprised you with that one, didn’t I?
Surprised me, too. I’d planned to spend senior year with my bestie-slash-wifey, Devi Abrams, graduating at the top of my class and getting into an Ivy League college. Instead, Mom and I are moving in with my battle-ax of a grandmother and I’m about to start a new school and a whole new life.
Know what’s more fun than being the new girl for your senior year? Being the pregnant new girl. It isn’t awesome. There is one upside, though—a boy named Leaf Leon. He’s cute, an amazing cook and he’s flirting me up, hard-core. Too bad I’m knocked up with a stranger’s baby. I should probably mention that to him at some point.
But how?
It seems I’ve got a lot more firsts to go

I really enjoyed this novel. When the reviews I read mentioned it had a Gilmore Girls Meets Juno feel, I knew I had to read it.

So I am going to get my one negative thing out here first. I was pregnant at 20, not as young as this protagonist, but young enough not to know what the fuck I was doing. I kept my daughter and would never change that decision. But my life has been hard. I had friends who got pregnant younger than me whose lives were difficult.Not bad, just hard.  I did not feel like this book talked enough about the fact that Sara's privilege of living with a family who supports her, friends that won't abandon her, being able to finish school, keep her baby and get a hot boyfriend are exceptions to the rule. While teen pregnancy can be a positive experience and I like that this novel highlights that- in general, it is not. I wish the author had made Sara a little more aware of the fact she is blessed and lucky.

Now, with that being said. This book got me. Every time the MC spoke it was if teen me were cheering. In fact, adult me cheered too. Because I still sound just like that, if my slang is a little outdated. Sara's relationship with her mother is totally me and my 15-year-old. We are just like this, this same style of banter and teasing each other, love fueled by jokes and sarcasm. (Though my kid and I swear a lot more.) My mom and I are also very similar to Sara and her Mom, put the three of us in a room and you will walk away shaking your head.

I love how Sara is a bisexual fat girl and not once did the story shame her for her eating habits. I've been pregnant four times, the hunger is real. I enjoyed all the talking about food and the reality that sometimes the cheeseburger is what you need to stuff your face with. This novel is real about how pregnancy feels, tired all the time, horny, hungry, hairy, emotional. The author did not sugar coat it.

The inserts of Romani culture, from new boyfriend Leaf, was amazing and if you liked this aspect of the book you should read her novel The Hollow Girl. Sara's boyfriend Leaf is a wonderful (if a tad unrealistic) boy that if I were a teen would be swoon-worthy.

Sara's friends are written beautifully and are very diverse. Speaking of diverse, I also wanted to touch on the fact Sara is half Hispanic and feels out of place in her own culture as she doesn't speak Spanish and her Swedish mother and grandmother (mormor - who is amazing!) raise her.

I am that girl. I am half Puerto Rican and don't speak Spanish and am constantly trying to figure out where I belong. It's hard when you want to connect to part of your heritage and don't know how. I (like many characters in this book) use food to do that. I cook meals my grandma taught me and look up Puerto Rican cuisine and food customs.

While I understand why the author brings back Jack- the baby daddy- I kind of wish she hadn't. It did bring in some ugly realism to the funny rom-com feel of the story.

This book was great, funny, quirky, full of fluffy feel-good nonsense with an underlying serious plot. I got a copy from NetGalley in return for an honest review and when I finished it I bought myself a copy to support the author. So go forth and read the funny fluff!

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