by Christine Duval
Published: Currently self-published
Version: Ebook via Xpresso Book Tours (all views my own, honest opinion)
Rating: 3.5 sofas
When eighteen-year-old Laurel Harris discovers she’s pregnant four weeks into the start of her freshman year at prestigious Colman College, she has all intentions of telling her father. But being away at school makes it too easy to hide. And while she can’t explain to her friends, or to herself even, the reasons why she doesn’t want the baby’s father to find out about the pregnancy, the rest of her world begins to unravel.
Freshman year is hard enough. Most girls get through by forming close friendships, finding new boys and a phone call from mom or dad on Sunday. Laurel has to navigate all of it while hiding an unplanned pregnancy from a summer fling…
An imperfect heroine plagued by bad choices and haunted by the memory of her deceased mother and grandparents, readers are sure to identify with Laurel as she navigates teen pregnancy, in secret, in a remote college setting.
Freshman Forty was originally self-published, but Christine just signed a deal to have it re-released by a publishing house this fall! Follow Christine on Twitter for updates @Christineduval1 or on her Goodreads author page.
Christine Duval has been writing creatively since the fourth grade when she penned her first short story entitled “London Terror,” about the murder of a cat in London. She grew up on the North Shore of Long Island and lived in Italy twice as a teenager: once when she was sixteen in Bologna and in a small town on the Adriatic Sea called Porto San Giorgio; then in Florence when she was nineteen. Her parents wondered if she’d ever come back.
College was spent in the Finger Lakes: the inspiration for Colman, Milton, and Kashong Lake in Freshman Forty. It really is cold, wet and grey there – OFTEN! But when the sun comes out, boy is it pretty.Life eventually took her to New York’s Upper West Side, the place she’ll always consider home. Though for now she resides in New Jersey with her family and a very spoiled love bird who can’t decide if he’s a boy or she’s a girl.
Freshman Forty begins with the discovery of Laurel’s pregnancy. Thus the book doesn’t really feature a lot of sex or sex-based scenes. Presumably it all happened before the book starts! I didn’t really know what to expect elsewise, as all the NA I have read so far features/relies heavily on sexiness. Teenage pregnancy is something that really interests me as a fiction topic though, so this was definitely a book I was eager to read.
One of the things I really enjoyed about the book was the real life issues it tackled. The risk of pregnancy in uni/college years is high, because its generally the first real freedom people get away from their parents. Naturally, mistakes happen. It was interesting to see how Laurel copes with her pregnancy amongst everything else. I would’ve liked a bit more detail, as I think the story could have been made a bit deeper.
It did make me think what it would be like to be in that situation. Laurel spends a lot of time in denial, and she is pretty lonely for a lot of the book. This obviously doesn’t really make for a good story, as it lacks drama in places. However, it is very realistic compared to what girls go through every day. The feeling of being ashamed and trying to hide her bump in baggy clothes made me feel sorry for Laurel. I just didn’t felt like I knew enough about her to really care. I obviously wanted a happy ending for her, but there was never really a gripping moment.
Freshman Forty is the first NA I have read that isn’t primarily sex-based. It was refreshing, but a little predictable. I adore that it tackled real life issues, and I hope this trend continues in NA. 3.5 sofas!
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Thanks to Xpresso Book Tours for organising and providing a copy of the book for review.