Saying Good-bye to London

Julie Burtinshaw. Second Story (Orca, dist.), $12.95 trade paper (156p) ISBN 978-1-77260-029-2
Burtinshaw (The Perfect Cut) tackles teen pregnancy, child abuse, homophobia, and the impact of a parent’s death with mixed success. Francis Sloan, a 15-year-old Canadian, meets Sawyer, 16, at a local dance. Confident and experienced, Sawyer is everything Francis is not. When their relationship turns sexual, neither is prepared for the consequences of unprotected sex and the choices they must make after discovering that Sawyer is pregnant. Burtinshaw attempts to realistically portray what happens when a teenage couple decides to give up their baby for adoption, but her story seems to sugarcoat the situation. Sawyer’s mother, teachers, and classmates are all extremely supportive, and Francis’s life doesn’t really change at all, save for a few sideways glances by students at his private all-boys school. The most realistic and dramatic parts of the story happen to the supporting characters—Sawyer’s best friend Jack gets kicked out of his home for being gay, and Francis’s best friend Kevin has a father dying from ALS—neither of whom gets much time on the page. Ages 13–up. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/13/2017
Release date: 03/01/2017
Genre: Children's
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