cover image Aftercare Instructions

Aftercare Instructions

Bonnie Pipkin. Flatiron, $17.99 (368p) ISBN 978-1-250-11484-6

As Pipkin’s sensitive and big-hearted debut opens, 17-year-old Genesis Johnson has been abandoned at Planned Parenthood by her boyfriend, Peter, while she’s getting an abortion. After, Genesis veers from place to place and friend to friend seeking solace, grieving, despairing, and raging at Peter, who seems to have disappeared at the most vulnerable moment of her life. Pipkin’s chapters are framed by postabortion instructions (“Talk to Someone If You Experience Feelings of Detachment”), and screenplay-style scenes, interspersed throughout, recount how Genesis and Peter fell in love. These dueling formats powerfully underscore what feels like an unbridgeable divide between then and now for Genesis, while amplifying the role theater plays in her life: downtown New York City shows were a point of connection between her and her late father, and she auditions for a role at the urging of a boy she hooks up with during an anger-fueled bender. Genesis’s conflicted relationships with her mother, grandparents, and friends are as engrossing as her breakup with Peter, and her story packs a big emotional punch. Ages 12–up. Agent: Emily van Beek, Folio Literary Management. (June)