cover image Annie's Baby: The Diary of Anonymous, a Pregnant Teenager

Annie's Baby: The Diary of Anonymous, a Pregnant Teenager

. Avon Books, $5.99 (256pp) ISBN 978-0-380-79141-5

Sparks (It Happened to Nancy) shares another slice of a troubled teen's life, this time focusing readers' attention on the topic of teen sex and pregnancy. The first, most excruciating entries in 14-year-old Annie's diary trace her victimization and impregnation by a manipulative and sadistic boyfriend. Completely obsessed with 16-year-old Danny (""He called me an `Earth Angel.' And I think I'm going to commit myself completely to being just that for him, no matter what!""), Annie is less prepared than readers for the devastating fall she takes the day her home pregnancy test comes out pink. The remaining, more solution-oriented segments of the book convey Annie's arduous climb from rock-bottom (""I CANNOT BEAR TO FACE IT! I WILL NOT!"") to a state in which she can confront her mistakes and plan for herself and her child. With the support of her exceptionally tolerant mother, patient teachers and a nonjudgmental therapist (supposedly Sparks), Annie changes from a self-deprecating romantic (""Could plain me possibly be good enough for awesome him?"") to a more level-headed realist, who learns, painfully, to put her baby's needs before her own. The book carries a strong anti-abortion sentiment and has an aura of soap opera as well. However, it provides a plethora of objective and valuable information about sex, pregnancy and birth control, and even includes a ""What Is Love?"" quiz to help girls assess their relationships. An appendix lists relevant statistics, crisis and information hotline numbers, and other useful resources. Tackling issues young adolescents are often reluctant to discuss with adults, this volume will likely find a place on the reference shelf. Ages 12-up. (July)