cover image Red


Annie Cardi. Union Square, $18.99 (256p) ISBN 978-1-4549-5130-8

Cardi (The Chance You Won’t Return) adeptly tackles issues surrounding reproductive rights and statutory rape from a Christian teen’s perspective in this message-driven #MeToo inspired interpretation of The Scarlet Letter. Though pregnant 16-year-old Tess Pine knows she wants an abortion, she wonders whether she will “be able to pray again, to feel like I’m connected to something that’s bigger,” the way she used to feel in her conservative churchgoing community. After someone circulates a photo of her leaving the reproductive health clinic, Tess faces judgment and harassment from parishioners, but a group of accepting band geeks inspire her to express her emotions through song—she even begins learning to play her late father’s guitar. As the harassment escalates, however, Tess considers revealing her secret romantic relationship with adult church minister Alden, hoping the admittance will help people understand why she chose abortion. Through a fiercely pro-choice lens that verges on didactic, Cardi explores complex feelings about abortion, faith, and sex. Tess’s thoughtfully wrought spirituality evolves alongside her emotional growth, culminating in a resolution that showcases the impact of community, and how their genuine support works to affirm, empower, and offer hope for sexual violence survivors. Tess and Alden read as white. Ages 14–up. Agent: Laura Crockett, Triada US. (Jan.)