From School Library Journal
Gr 7-10–Maxine Banks's friend Tia has just gotten married and moved away, and Maxine decides that she wants to do the same so that she can get away from her mother and her mother's domineering live-in boyfriend. She convinces her boyfriend, Brian, also 17 and still in high school, that they should get married. To get permission, since they are underage, they tell their parents that Maxine is pregnant. With no idea what this commitment will entail, Maxine steamrolls over all of Brian's doubts and questions. Everything falls apart, however, when Maxine finds out that Brian has become involved with their neighbor, Shell, and that she is, in fact, pregnant. Wondering how she's going to pay the rent and other bills after she kicks him out, she gets a reprieve from an unlikely source–her father-in-law. He'll cover all her expenses and give her some extra money if she will keep his middle-school-aged niece, Demonee. Maxine agrees and tries to help the surly, troubled girl. The title is misleading since Maxine gets married and separated within the first 100 pages. The remaining story is about her life after the separation. Although the teen matures a bit from the foolish and somewhat selfish girl she was in the beginning, most of the characters are one-dimensional and stereotyped. The late addition of Demonee's possible homosexuality seems designed to add another demographic group to the mix. This wordy, often repetitious novel may appeal to some girls, but the lack of action will limit its readership.Suanne Roush, Osceola High School, Seminole, FL
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From the author of When Kambia Elaine Flew in from Neptune (2000) comes this reversal of the usual unwanted-pregnancy story. Maxine, 17, and her longtime boyfriend, Bryan, are always careful to use protection when they have sex. But when Maxine decides that she wants to marry Bryan, in part to get away from Mama and her many men, she pretends to be pregnant. Her plan backfires. Bryan has made another girl pregnant, and he has to help her out. Or does he? Is it his child? Along with the anguish of betrayal, there is also tenderness, as when Maxine cares for a young, desperate, and angry girl, Demonee, 13, who is dumped by her family and harassed by a lesbian classmate who makes her steal. Some readers may find that there is just too much packed into this long, episodic novel, but the spot-on, unsentimental teen viewpoint; the quarrel scenes filled with fast, angry talk (“Go to hell!” “You go first!”); and the honest story of love, heartbreak, and kindness will keep teens hooked. Grades 9-12. --Hazel Rochman