Jessica Inclan, Author . New American Library/Accent $12.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0-451-20282-6

A teenage pregnancy threatens to tear a troubled family apart in a debut novel as gutsy, appealing and confused as its heroines. Still mourning their mother's death from breast cancer, 17-year-old Kate Phillips, aided by her younger sister, Tyler, secretly collects baby paraphernalia from Goodwill, while hiding her pregnancy from everyone, even their father, Davis, who spends most of his time at his girlfriend's house. With a used copy of Dr. Spock and a little luck, the ingenious sisters deliver a healthy baby girl at home, naming her Deirdre, after their mother. Their secret is revealed when their neighbor, Sanjay Chaturvedi, the baby's father, hears the newborn at night. Once in love with Kate's mother, Sanjay had a short affair with Kate, his sons' babysitter. He confesses all to his wife, a physician, who brings the baby to the hospital and the situation to the attention of Social Services. As grueling as childbirth proves for Kate and Tyler, it is not nearly as painful as what follows, with Sanjay in jail, the baby in foster care, the girls in a residence and their father pondering how to show the court he can care for the family he has all but abandoned; only their own consciences and social worker Cynthia De Lucca can guide them. Fortunately, all participants in the domestic drama are well intentioned, and the authorities respect feelings and aims. But it is the plight of the teenage sisters, in all their clever foolishness, that strikes at the heart. While the denouement is improbably upbeat, the novel should be especially meaningful to young adult readers. (May)

FYI:Tailor-made for reading groups—it features an appended author interview in the form of a "Conversation Guide"—this is the first in NAL's new line of women's fiction.

Reviewed on: 05/07/2001
Release date: 05/01/2001
Genre: Fiction
Mass Market Paperbound - 309 pages - 978-0-451-20564-3
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-606-31103-8
Prebound-Sewn - 978-1-4176-9948-3
Hardcover - 978-0-7862-3472-1
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