Customer Reviews: Hanging on to Max
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on March 25, 2004
Sam Pettigrew is a senior in high school. And he has a baby. Yes-a baby. His girlfriend got pregnant the previous year, decided that she couldn't handle raising the baby, and Sam felt a need to raise his son. Now, Sam's going to an alternative high school and juggling classes, college hopes...and baby Max. The mix only gets tougher when he meets Claire, a fellow teenage parent who Sam definitely has feelings for. Yet no matter what happens, Sam is determined to prove to the world that he's not a stupid teenage guy and that he CAN hang on to Max.
Like I said, this is definitely a book that needed to be written and needs to be read. Many of us at some point or another have read the typical "pregnant teenage girl" novels and they certainly offer valuable perspectives. Yet it seems that we rarely come into contact with novels that explore a MALE's feelings about the issue. "Hanging Onto Max" definitely corrects this problem.
But "Hanging Onto Max" is more than just a mediocre novel with a rarely-done perspective- its main character is just as memorable as the content. I literally checked this book out from the library, read the first page, and raced through the novel until I finished it.
Sam is just that kind of a character. He is realistically "male" without being a stereotype, and his thoughts and words reverberate with a piercing, understated truth. Flashbacks of Sam's experiences with his girlfriend and of life "before" are also unusually well done. Through them, Bechard managed to perfectly capture Sam's previous experiences and thus allow the reader to understand his current situation better. As I read, I felt like Sam was really a person-he is one of those characters you literally feel a "warmth" and empathy toward. The writing is blunt, quick, and free of pretentious prose. This only makes Sam better.
Without a doubt, "Hanging Onto Max" succeeds at exploring one of the toughest issues. Not only is it from an intriguing male perspective, it deals with the issue of teen pregnancy with realism, empathy, and a fearlessness when it comes to exploring the gut-wrenching choices that those involved must make.
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on June 6, 2003
Hanging on to Max by Margaret Bachard is a book about a boy named Sam Pettigrow living through his senior year as a parent. Sam was no typical 17-year boy. At this stage of the game Sam was already changing diapers and pushing around strollers. Sam was a teenage father balancing parenting duties and schoolwork. His former girlfriend Brittney couldn?t handle being a teenage mother and was going to give up her new baby boy, Max. Sam couldn?t let this happen so he took over the roll of being a father.
Sam started to go to an alternative school that had a day care built into it for teenage mothers and fathers. Sam was so busy juggling schoolwork and taking care of Max and never had anytime for himself. Sam meets a former friend Emily from his old high school who also is a parent. Emily shows Sam that things aren?t as easy as they should be.
This story was heartbreaking, humorous, you can relate to this story and was very realistic. I really enjoyed reading this story and I think you would enjoy reading this story also if your a boy or girl anyone can benefit from reading this and you can learn many things from reading this story.
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on May 30, 2006
Margaret Bechard's book Hanging On To Max teaches teenagers the consequences of their actions. The main character, Sam, learns how to deal with his own consequences when he finds out that his girlfriend is pregnant and wants to give up the baby for adoption. On impulse, he decides that he doesn't want to see his child be raised by strangers. He gets custody of his son and has to cope with the reality of raising a newborn.

Throughout the book, Sam has to deal with the everyday hardships that come along with having a baby. At such a young age, he struggles with balancing school, studying for the SATs, and falling in love again.

The book Hanging on to Max has many significant lessons that can be learned throughout it. One important message the author tries to send out to young teens is to think about the consequences that could happen before acting on impulse. This is suddenly a problem for Sam and Brittany when they find out that she is going to have a baby. Suddenly, they have a bigger problem that they could've imagined. When Brittany decides to give up the baby for adoption, Sam has to deal with even more, because he makes the tough decision of keeping the baby. Sam's whole world will soon be all about Max and being a good father. Instead of worrying of making varsity basketball and his plans for Friday night, he has to worry about midnight feedings and making ends meet.

Though the book sends a strong and realistic message, some teens may find it to be unrealistic. Just when Sam seems to be coping with the responsibility that comes with the baby, he makes the decision to give him up. Most readers see this as a shock because adoption never really seemed to be a choice. Another thing that might be unappealing about this book is that it moves somewhat slowly. Readers might see Sam's reality as uneventful and dull, but the fact is that having a baby changes your life dramatically.

Overall this book is a great way to show just how realistic this situation is, and how it can happen if you don't take responsibility for your actions. This book teaches teenagers to take a step back and look at what could possibly happen to them or someone they love.
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on May 26, 2005
Ages 16-18. Sam is an ordinary senior student who likes to play sports and hangout with his bestfriend Andy. Hanging on to Max is a title that fits the book because it describes a big obstacle that Sam must overcome. Sam and his girlfriend Brittiany becomes very serious and Brittiany winds up pregant. Brittiany soon after her delievery decided to move to Boise, Idaho. Here's the catch, Brittiany wants to give up Max for adoption. So she can start a neew life. Sam feels hurt but he works hard to keep Max and stay in school. Sam raises Max and gets attached to him but ironically makes a decision that will affect both of their lifes. Since Sam had high SAT scores he probably decided to go to college.

Many situation throughout, Hanging on to Max, can be realated to many teens. As the more you get to learn about Sam thee more interesting he becomes. This is not a long book it is worth your time reading because in the end it could help you in the long run. It seemed as if Sam was a person that I actually knew since his thoughts and situation were rea. The decision that he made kept me thinking, so will you.
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on January 27, 2012
I will not summarize the book, as others have already done an excellent job, but I will speak to its effectiveness in the classroom. I am an ESOL teacher who is frustrated with trying to find high interest, lower reading level books for high-schoolers. The other catch is that the students have to read AR books for their other English class and the books that I have on their level are only worth 1 point. This book is level 3.3 and worth 5 AR points. That makes it accessible to lower level students, while still holding the interest of more advanced readers. The added benefit is that the students can get their AR grade at the same time.
There are cultural references that need explanation from time to time, but overall, students are interested in the topic and entertained by the characters lives. The fact that it is a boy raising a child makes it of interest to both boys and girls.
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on January 25, 2004
I just picked this book up from the library cause I needed a book to read and it blew me away! And you can't help feeling emotionally tied to Sam (father) and Max(baby). And I love how the author would sometimes have "memory clips" but wouldn't make you confused. I would suggest this book to anyone! I made my mom and sister read it after me and they loved it too. If I could, it'd be 10 stars instead of a crummy 5.
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on July 28, 2002
Between the death of his mother when he was young and becoming a teenage father, Sam's life hasn't been an easy one. He was transferred away from his friends to a school where they watched after Max, (his baby) while he went to class. This book is very well written, I finished it in one day, because I had the hardest time putting it down. It is very sad, and worth every penny spent on buying it.
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on March 25, 2005
I was never into reading--this book helped me get back into it. I loved the characters of Sam and Claire and the book showed how hard it must be to be a teenaged parent! Very well written book..5 stars

also recommended: Jake Reinvented by Gordon Korman
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on June 18, 2004
I just finished this book today and was very impressed.
This is the story of Sam. A high school student who got his girlfriend Brittany pregnant. She had the baby, then deciding she wasn't ready to be a mother, decided to give him up for adoption. Sam isn't ready to let go of his newborn son and decides to become custodial parent of young Max, waving farewell to Brittany as she and her family leave Oregon for Boise, Idaho where she can start a new life.
However, Sam is just beginning his new existence while he tries to juggle school, his friends, his love interests, family, and Max. Everyone admires him for accepting the responsibility although he feels awkward at his alternative school with the daycare program where he's the only MALE single parent.
Max is prepared to give up any hopes of college or a life of his own, agreeing to become a construction worker after he graduates this, his senior year, of high school to pay back his dad for all the baby expenses. Then, she comes along.
He never forgot Claire, the girl he'd had a crush on since the 6th grade who he left behind at his regular high school along with his best friend Andy. Now she reappears in his life with her infant daughter Emily. As they adjust to newfound parenthood together while trying to forge a relationship, Sam tries to become used to this new routine although a part in him cries out for something more, that will lead to the ultimate life-changing decision: can he keep Max?
This sad, but sweet tale will leave you pitying the main characters and wondering what you'd do in Sam's place. Great read.
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on February 23, 2005
Seventeen year old Sam is a single father, literally struggling to raise his barely year-old son Max, who provides the reader a glimpse of single[teenage]fatherhood. His ex-girlfriend Brittany, who initially wanted to give their child up for adoption, has left to Boise to start her life over. Sam's father does not support his son's decision to take on the role of a single parent, supports him financially never-the-less as Sam attends an alternative high school with a daycare.

At his alternative high school he reacquaints himself with Claire, who now has a newborn daughter Emily. Right away, the differences between Claire and Sam are noticeable. Emily constantly gets showered with gifts and attention by her grandparents who support Claire, while Sam on the other hand lacks it. Also, unlike Sam, Claire is not afraid of what people think about her being a teenage parent, and does not hide the fact that she is.

After going through the many challenges of teen"hood" and fatherhood and almost getting a hand at it, it all comes crashing down after one crazy night spent in the emergency room with Max. It became obvious that all is not as simple and he may have thought, and he might no longer know what it is exactly what he wants.

Determined to do what is right for his son, Sam makes a life-changing decision.

It may be a quick read, but be prepared with tissues for this one.
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