Wednesday, January 28, 2004

First Part Last-- Angela Johnson

First Part Last is a companion novel to Heaven. It's a prequel of sorts--the main character is a supporting character in Heaven. Bobby and Nia are young teenagers having a sexual relationship. Even though Bobby's parents have warned him about using protection and his mom has gone so far as to keep condoms available for him, they still have unprotected sex. Nia winds up pregnant and they decide to give up the baby for adoption. As Nia nears her delivery date, she has complications (eclampsia). With Nia comatose and no chance of recovery, Bobby cannot bear to give up his baby daughter. He decides to raise her himself, despite how tough it is. His older brother visits with his family and tells him about a place called Heaven--a nice place to raise a baby girl. At the end of the story Bobby decides to leave the city and his parents for a new future in Heaven.
Told in alternating chapters between the past and present, this is a beautifully written book. It doesn't sugarcoat the harsh realities of having a child as a teenager, or being a single parent. But it's nice to read a story about a teenage father who takes the responsibility and is not only involved, but actively raising his daughter, and so in love with her. It's deserving of both the Printz Award it won as well as the Coretta Scott King Award.

In other reading news, I gave up on Rules of Attraction and didn't even attempt American Psycho. There's just too much good YA Lit that I still have to read, and with TopShelf starting up again soon, I can't waste time with sucky adult books.

Just Finished Reading: Wasteland--Francesca Lia Block
Reading: Don't know yet.
On My Nightstand: Hard Cash--Kate Cann (?); City of the Stars--Mary Hoffman; When Dad Killed Mom--Julius Lester

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