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on March 22, 2012
"Twenty Weeks" deals with a very controversial subject. Since the other reviews have already discussed the subject and the storyline this reviewer will discuss the writing, flow and character development.

Firstly, I enjoyed the book as it dealt with teenagers and the difficulties they face. Ms. Hamling did a great job in defining her teen characters and how they deal with problems based on their lack of experience and maturity. Having two grown daughters and 3 granddaughters, one (17 year old) who lives with me I am well experienced with teenage girls.

The character development was very good and there was enough back story to understand how the protagonist makes her decisions and why. The secondary characters were filled out enough, for the most part, that we understand their interactions and motivation.

The dialogue between the teenage protagonists was believable and well presented. Although I felt a lack of development of the adult characters in both their dialogue and presentation and motivation.

The book flowed well and there was enough action to keep the plot moving forward and the reader engaged.

With likable characters, good motivation and well written dialogue and plot this book shows that Ms. Hamling has talent and should continue to develop as a writer. She has dealt with a controversial subject with care, warmth and understanding.

The only real complaint I would have was that the storyline deals with difficult, life changing events and seemed to minimise the real hardship financially, educationally and emotionally facing teenage girls and their parents.

Karen Bryant Doering
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on September 3, 2011
Such a cute story, yet hard-hitting and poignant. I love it! From the very first line to the very last word, this book will entrall you and drag you into today's teen reality. Maya and her boyfriend got more than they bargained by eating "candy" at a party. In a single moment, she is plunged from sweet sixteen to a series of heart-rending decisions and consequences.

The language is spot-on, and will have you laughing your head off one minute, and then screaming the next. You'll cheer, you'll worry, you'll cry, you'll rejoice. But one thing you won't do is put down this book.

Ms. Hamling delivers a tale that should be required reading in high schools. While spinning a romance, she manages to delve into controversial topics in a tasteful and convincing manner. She does not preach at you, but allows the reader to draw his/her own conclusions, whatever his/her viewpoint. You may not agree with everything every characters says or does, but she presents all sides fairly, even with the division between Maya's own parents. I cannot spoil it for you. But it will not be a book you'll soon forget.
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on September 27, 2012
My 13 yr old daughter and I both read this book and then discussed it. First, I would like to say that I really enjoyed this book. It's a very poignant love story that deals with the very heavy subject of abortion. Throughout this book, I felt excited, scared, dread, happy, hope and a deep, deep sadness. This is a book that is great to use as a conversation starter with teen girls. My daughter and I were able to discuss it and explain our feelings/beliefs on several different subjects. The reason I didn't give this book 5 stars is because it is very almost too flowery in some parts. I made it a point to make sure that my daughter knew that life does not often have these happy endings, not to say that it can't happen, but it is rare. I don't want to give away the book, as you read you will understand where I am coming from. Overall, a good read and a definite conversation starter with your teen.
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on July 26, 2012
I found this book to be a really sweet and fairly realistic account of a young girls struggle with what to do when she finds out she's pregnant at 16. I've noticed that some of the reviewers say that this doesn't take sides on the abortion topic, but honestly it really does. This book is pro-life and that is the main point of it. I really don't mind that because honestly I'm fairly pro-life myself, but others who feel strongly in their beliefs may find this book too controversial to them. I highly recommend it to anyone who is on the fence though, since I believe that it could help sway you towards being pro-life, which is obvious if you know anything about conception. I loved how the author made Maya's mother a NICU nurse who was always working to save premature babies, giving the story another vision. The fathers take is also fairly typical of men, he believes it's women's business and he should stay out of it, but he doesn't want any of the women in his life to make that decision. My father does this on the fence thing, and it really bothers me, since he's very pro-fathers in all other regards.

Anyways, beyond the pro-life agenda, there is a really cute romance between Maya and the babies father Alex. I found the drama to be realistic for what I know of teenagers, jealousy, drug use, sneaking around. At times the book did get a little too unrealistic, although it might be an honest portrayal of how a pro-life family would feel after they realize that they're daughter didn't get the abortion they thought she did. I think that my husband and I would be almost relieved like these parents were, but still sometimes they seemed a little too good to be true. The side story with Andrea was heartbreaking, and I had a really hard time reading it. Not because it doesn't happen, but just because it was really that touching. I couldn't imagine what I would do if a friend of mine went through all that.

I also loved how the author followed up, continuing the story a little bit after the baby was born, and even to the first birthday, and then to a small chapter of 5 years later when the Alex and Maya are married and expecting they're second child. It was nice to see that they actually made it work out. I think this story could be inspirational to girls and parents who are faced with similar situations. As a married mother, I know longer have to worry about this situation for myself, but it's always nice to know what the kids of later generations are facing. As parents it's our job to stay tuned in to the dangers and trends to protect them as best we can. Also I like to think that I could take inspiration from Alex and Maya's parents and make the best of a bad situation, although it would be very hard at first.

I think overall it sent it's message out strong and clear, and I hope it becomes popular and more teenagers pick it up and read it for multiple reasons, especially those who find themselves in a similar situation. A child really isn't the end of the world or the biggest mistake of your life, you can still make it a positive thing. As the older sister to a teenage mother, I can tell you from watching my sis, it's not always happily ever after life Maya got at first, but that doesn't mean those things don't come later. My sister has a beautiful 6 year old daughter, and is now married to a wonderful man who she has two more daughters with. It was more difficult for her, but through the support of our family, me, and a strong will she overcame the statistics and so can any other girl out there. I think this is where this book really shines, it doesn't idealize teen pregnancy, but it also doesn't demonize it so that young girls feel so guilty and worthless they end up making another mistake that haunts them.
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on September 21, 2012
Twenty weeks is a dramatic story that has many characters. It is a young adult book, but I enjoyed it well, and I am an adult. Some things in the book are not true as I am a medical professional, so that was annoying. But overall it was pretty good.
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on December 6, 2014
In a whirlwind of events, Maya's life spirals upside down. A high school student with a good family and a great boyfriend, she's suddenly dealing with choices she never imagined she'd have to face. A typical high school party gone wrong, Maya's life changes in an instant.

The author hits me with an emotional punch as I continued to read. Maya's struggles are real and they aren't easy. Add in some drama with friends, plus a girl she met while trying to decide what's best for her future, and I was sucked in. This story has a great ending, and while that doesn't always happen in real life, especially with young teens, it was really well done. I felt for Maya. Sometimes I was angry at her, sometimes I was very sympathetic...either way, this book really made me FEEL things. It's a story of struggle, heartache, loss, but it's also a story of life, love, and gaining.

Twenty Weeks is different than the other Melisa Hamling books I've read, and I enjoyed the journey of Maya and Alex.
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on August 13, 2012
After reading the reviews and book description, I figured Twenty Weeks would be pretty good. Although it touches on an important subject, the entire storyline seemed a bit far-fetch to me. The main character, Maya, was unbelieveable and especially her parents. I kept thinking the entire time as I reading the book "What kind of parents talk like this to their child? So perfect, every word seemingly in place." There was also a lot of drama. So, she gets messed up on drugs, almost dies, finds out she is pregnant, wants an abortion, doesn't want one after seeing what happens, befriends a girl who is raped and impregnanted by her dad, that friend dies, she goes into premature labor ... it was like drama overload. I finished the book simply because I wanted to see what the end was like and I should've have just skipped to it. It wasn't my cup of tea, but perhaps younger adults (15+ year olds) would find this book to be more their style in terms of writing and what not.
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on April 17, 2014
I enjoyed this story despite the fact that once in awhile it slopped over into the area of saccharine-ness. I appreciated its anti-abortion stance but felt that it might lead some teens to believe that very young couples who choose to stay together walk off into the sunset and have easy and wonderful lives.
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on August 3, 2012
I am so unsure about where to rate this book, that's why I rated it right in the middle. I consider myself to be a "mostly" pro-life person. My heart tells me that I personally could never have an abortion, but I have never personally been a pregnant teen, rape victim, or abuse victim.
Overall, I liked the book. I liked the style of writing and it kept my attention. My heart was with both Andrea and Maya right away.
The thing I really disliked about the book? All the sunshine and roses. As the mother of teenaged boys I had a hard time putting my boys in Alex's position. The author made it seem like all teenaged boys would be as wonderful and heartfelt as Alex. That is rarely the case. And, how many pregnant teens have a trust fund so they can "Stay home with the baby and do college online"? For the reviewers saying that every teen should read this, I disagree. I find that it leads to a false sense of "happily ever after". Everything in "real life" is NOT always sunshine and roses.
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on December 9, 2013
I have very mixed feelings about this book. The Melisa Hamiling does a very good job at developing her characters. I like how the reader is somewhat omniscient throughout the book.
I have a hard time with some of the stereotypes of the book. The main character and boyfriend come from middle class homes, she's scared to tell her parents, they expect her to attend college, support her, encourage her to keep the baby, etc,etc,etc. A supporting character lives in a trailer park, father sexually abuses her, makes her abort the child, etc. It's just a little too stereotypical for my taste.
Another aspect I found ridiculous was how many times the main character almost dies. Seriously? This was a little far fetched, although readers who are teen age girls may really enjoy reading these scenarios to keep their interest.
I thought that the subject of abortion is a great subject to write about, but the story ends in hearts and flowers. While this is lovely, it's also not reality.
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