Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Positively Mine by Christine Duval (Review + Excerpt + Giveaway)

Freshman Forty #1
New Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Publication.Date:December 19, 2013
Pages:250 (eBook)
Published By:  Bloomsbury Spark
Website:Christine Duval 

Positively Mine on Goodreads
My review copy:
Received from the author via Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review

Where to get:

It is four weeks into her freshman year of college, and Laurel’s first test was unexpected. Discovering she’s pregnant isn’t exactly what she had planned for her first semester, and while she intends to tell her emotionally-distant father, being away at school makes it all too easy to hide.

An imperfect heroine plagued by bad choices and isolated during what should be the best time of her life, readers are sure to identify with Laurel as she confronts teen pregnancy, in secret.
Prior to being picked up by Bloomsbury,
this book was previously read and reviewed under the title Freshman Forty.
This review is from July 1, 2013; I have not edited this review in anyway except for tense errors.

Before I jump into a review of this amazing book, I have a confession. While I loved the plot synopsis, a part of me decided to read this book because two of my guiltiest guilty pleasures: 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom. My sister got me into watching these shows and I just can't help myself. From the train wrecks to the moms who make it look easy . . .

Freshman Forty dealt with Laurel from the moment she realized she was definitely pregnant to a month after she has given birth and I think that was the perfect time frame to focus on. It was an easy read but I was really engrossed in Laurel's story and she felt like somebody I could be friends with. Somebody I wanted to comfort during her worst times. Heck, even I was nervous when she would attempt to inform her father; more so when she finally did! When you can connect with a character on such a deep level, that really says a lot!

She was such a likable character and I think Duval did an excellent job of making her such. Once finding out she is pregnant, Laurel has a tough decision about what to do: parent, adoption, or abortion. As a reader we see her struggle with these choices and her life situation doesn't make things easier. She's an only child, her mother passed away eight years ago, she and her father are anything but close, and the baby daddy is a summer-time friend.

The poor girl is terrified! And who wouldn't be? Right away we're hit with this emotional tug at your heart strings. Her best friend goes to a completely different college and it's so early into her Freshman year that she really hasn't established any true friendships.

Obviously, she decides to keep the baby. If she hadn't, there'd be no story, would there? After having decided to keep the baby, she is directed towards recommend doctors and eventually finds one with a low appointment fee, since she is paying out of pocket until she works up the courage to tell her father and use her insurance.

Luckily for her, Dr. Adler is a Saint! He admits to knowing her mother in college and part of me wonders if it's why he does what he does for her. Additionally, he directs her toward a support group for young pregnant women. Here she meets Audrey, who quickly becomes a very close friend that Laurel comes to rely on.

However, things fall pretty easily into place for Laurel. Not right away, mind you, but very easily and neatly into place. Of course, this is just the pregnancy part of the story and we have yet to see anything post-pregnancy, minus the little snippet at the end.

Overall, Laurel has a very strong voice and character. I can see how she has trouble telling her father - I would too at 18 - especially with the bombshells he keeps dropping on her. She was very conflicted the whole novel, which makes the story believable. I like that she has a support system, from Audrey to Dr. Adler to her professor, Dr. Stoker, and even Mike whom she meets at Colman. These characters help her when she needs and, though she occasionally feels alone, she never really is.

The ending was slightly cliffhangerish, but I liked it. What I like even more is that seeing as this is book one in a series, there will be a sequel and I will definitely be continuing with Laurel's story.

“The holidays can be stressful for everyone, but especially if you’re pregnant or just had a baby. As you leave here tonight and deal with potentially difficult people or situations over the holidays, I want you to focus on acceptance. In other words, don’t try to control the uncontrollable, and don’t try to change a person who can’t be changed. People are who they are. With acceptance comes forgiveness, and with forgiveness comes inner peace, and we can all use some of that.”

Her words strike a nerve, and I can’t help speaking up. “But what if the problem isn’t that you can’t accept them, but they can’t accept you?” I ask.

“In what way?”

“It’s like, with my father, I’m the symbol for everything that has gone bad in his life. So instead of us getting closer, he pushes me further away. And now he’s getting married, and he’s about to start a new life with someone, and I’m afraid I’ll never get the chance to show him that I’m a real person, that I exist.”

The entire group is looking at me, staring actually. Kyle is the first to speak up. “But you aren’t giving him a chance to accept you. You haven’t even told him you’re pregnant and you’re five months into it. You push him away as much as he does you.”

“That’s not true.”

Audrey chimes in. “It is, Laurel. You’re nice and all, but you’ve told, what? Two people you’re pregnant, other than us and a couple of doctors. You drive an hour to a support group when there is probably one right near Milton. How much longer are you going to keep this secret? If you told your dad, maybe he’d see that you’re a real person. Real people screw up.”

“Wow.” I wrap my arms across my chest. I feel invaded.

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