Brianna on the Brink

Nicole McInnes. Holiday House, $16.95 (176p) ISBN 978-0-8234-2741-3
For Brianna’s 16th birthday, her mother gives her emancipation papers, effectively kicking her out of the house (“Look. I’ve done the mom thing, Brianna,” her mother tells her). Six months later, Brianna is living with her older sister and focused on cheerleading and the popularity that comes with being the best friend of school it-girl, Jules. When Brianna has a one-night stand with a man who turns out to be her English teacher’s husband—and who dies of a heart attack on the spot—Brianna’s life takes yet another wild turn. Jules drops Brianna, her sister kicks her out, and the one to save her is, of all people, her widowed English teacher, Jane, who invites Brianna to move in. Also, Brianna is pregnant. While the premise stretches credibility, debut author McInnes tempers the melodrama by giving Brianna an empathetic and sometimes humorous narrative voice. Jane’s selflessness and Jules’s cruelty can be over-the-top, but Brianna’s growth and the choice she faces as she weighs her baby’s future are engaging. Ages 15–up. Agent: Stacey Glick, Dystel & Goderich Literary Management. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/11/2013
Release date: 01/01/2013
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