From Publishers Weekly
Leavitt's uneven but earnest eighth novel examines the emotional price a bright Massachusetts teen pays when she chooses "open" adoption for a baby she gives birth to at 16. It's 1987, and smart Sara Rothman has fallen in love with "black sheep" Danny Slade. When he vanishes after learning she's pregnant, Sara gives the baby up. Leavitt (Coming Back to Me) poignantly depicts the consequences of that choice for everyone concerned: Sara, who misses her baby and Danny both; Abby and Jack, Sara's well-meaning parents; Danny, the young father; George and Eva Rivers, the attentive but naive adoptive couple; and Anne, the child. At first, Sara visits the Riverses daily-she loves Anne, and the Riverses had cared for her while she was pregnant. But her presence becomes intrusive, and eventually, Eva takes a stand: "We adopted Anne," she tells Sara. "We didn't adopt you." Sara then makes a desperate attempt to steal the infant, and when she's found, the Riverses move and deny Sara visiting rights ("Open adoptions are only enforceable in Oregon," a lawyer tells her). Fifteen years pass, and Leavitt's focus wavers; a fuzzy reunion between Danny and Sara is particularly unconvincing. The novel's portrait of dreamy, adolescent Anne and her relationship with the older Riverses is sharper, as is the realistic, bumpy reunion of birth mother and daughter. An unflinching depiction of maternal need and the dynamics of adoption, this tale is a sharp reminder of the importance of honesty in life decisions.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Girls in Trouble
flaunts "all the ingredients for a Lifetime
television drama" (The Pittsburgh Post Gazette
). In this earnest but uneven work, that's a compliment. Reviewers agree that Leavitt's eighth novel skips over one decisive event too lightly, then unconvincingly leaps forward 15 years. Leavitt has mined this territory before--the slow maturation of a lovesick girl. It's not a very remarkable journey, but the author handles it with sensitivity. The Washington Post
"a canny portrait of the trouble perfectly ordinary people can get into while trying to satisfy their perfectly ordinary needs for love and security and happiness." It's sure to appeal to Jacquelyn Mitchard fans.
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.