Tag Archives: Teen pregnancy

Whitney Taylor’s Definitions of Indefinable Things – Snarky, Savage, Hopeful

Standard
Whitney Taylor’s Definitions of Indefinable Things – Snarky, Savage, Hopeful

It’s hard to write a funny book about depression.  First, well . . . Duh – depression is depressing.  Second, humor can make depression look a lot less painful than it really is.  I felt like Whitney Taylor managed to walk the thin line between the two in Definitions of Indefinable Things.  It is hilarious, but it is also pretty honest about the realities of depression. I thoroughly enjoyed this book because of that balance, so this is a solid four star read.


Goodreads Summary

This heartbreaking, humorous novel is about three teens whose lives intersect in ways they never expected.

Reggie Mason is all too familiar with “the Three Stages of Depression.” She believes she’s unlocked the secret to keeping herself safe: Nobody can hurt you if you never let them in.

Reggie encounters an unexpected challenge to her misanthropy: a Twizzler-chomping, indie film-making narcissist named Snake. Snake’s presence, while reassuring, is not exactly stable—especially since his ex-girlfriend is seven months pregnant. As Reggie falls for Snake, she must decide whether it’s time to rewrite the rules that have defined her.

My Thoughts

I like my leading ladies savage and snarky, and I’m not sure any character is more savage and snarky than Reggie.  Watching her navigate the ridiculousness of her life is so worth your time.  The thing I liked most about her is that, while she lashes out, she really does have a heart.  She cannot overcome her innate goodness, even when spewing venom.  Now, this is an unflinching look at depression. If you have never had it, you will walk away understanding exactly how it feels.  If you have, I think you will recognize the black hole.  But what really makes this book amazing is that it is also a look at life getting better.  It isn’t a fairy tale. Things aren’t perfect or quick, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  So, don’t skip it just because you don’t want to read something depressing.  This book is so much more.  While the language and situations are frequently mature,  I think it will speak more to my high school students about the unbreakable human spirit and believing in the good things life has to offer.  I’m adding it to my classroom library wish list.  Grades 10+.

I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

You Might Also Like

  

How do you let go of the events and the people that have defined you? Elissa Janine Hoole’s YA, The Memory Jar, explores that question

Standard
How do you let go of the events and the people that have defined you?  Elissa Janine Hoole’s YA, The Memory Jar, explores that question

I kind of feel like the summary on this book missed the mark.  I was expecting a mystery with a lot of tension and a little danger.  Instead, I found a book about the normal mysteries that accompany teen love.  I think that is a bit of a shame because the real audience for this book is going to be the reader who likes an exploration of all the heartbreaking and hopeful feelings that go with letting go of someone you love, even when it might be more comfortable to cling to them.  

image

Goodreads Summary

Since the accident, Taylor’s memory has been fuzzy. But at least she’s awake. Who knows what her boyfriend, Scott, will remember when he comes out of the coma. Will he remember that Taylor was driving the snowmobile when it crashed? Will he remember the engagement ring? Her pregnancy?

Will he remember that she tried to break up with him?

Taylor doesn’t know. And she doesn’t know if she wants him to remember. Plenty of things happened that night and before—secrets wrapped in secrets—that she’d prefer be forgotten.

Facing choices she’d rather ignore, Taylor searches for something more solid than whispers and something bigger than blame to face the future and forgive herself.

My Thoughts

Taylor’s world is rocked by an unexpected pregnancy followed by a tragic accident that might take away some of the choices she already thought she had made.  She spends the majority of the book re-evaluating her decision to break up with her boyfriend who now lies in a coma.  She’s lost control of the life she planned and is now going back through the pieces of the wreckage, trying to decide what she should and can salvage.  I think there is a universality that will appeal to YA readers because this is really about saying goodbye to an era in your life, something that we all do as high school ends and the relationships forged there shift and evolve.  It is also about making choices that are going to best fit the future you really want, which, again, is a pretty universal concept.  I think the characters will also appeal to YA’s because they feel like real teens with emotions that are volatile and impulsive.  The situations and discoveries, which may play with less enormity to adult readers, will probably play as spot on for the YA crowd.

While I think YA readers will enjoy this book, there are a few things that may make it harder to enjoy for some.  It was difficult to follow at times because it was set up with alternating chapters of “Then” and “Now.”  While this did help maintain suspense about the accident, it also created confusion because it was hard to follow the timelines.  The “Then” chapters ranged from the first time Taylor and Scott met to the point of the accident, but not in chronological order, so it was a little disorienting for me as a reader.  It wasn’t an insurmountable obstacle, but it did interrupt the flow of the story enough to annoy me.  Second, I think the end felt rushed to some degree, and one of the more intriguing sub plots got a very quick resolution that I found a little disappointing – I wanted to know more about Kendall, and I’m betting others will as well.

Overall, I think this book is engaging, but it will be more compelling for real young adults than adult readers of YA.  There is some discussion of sex, though nothing graphic, and the debate between abortion and adoption does come into play, so it is probably most appropriate for high school readers.

I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.