Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

Shelf Talkers: Knocked Up Teens

So, many of you don’t know but I, Stephanie, am pregnant and have been a bit absent from the blog lately.  Karen has done an excellent job on keeping everything looking spiffy and flowing and I’ve been about as much help as a bucket with a hole in it.  BUT, I am feeling pretty good today and I’d thought I’d talk up a few books that have to deal with…pregnancy.  Sort of a taboo topic at times when working with teens but with the popularity of shows such as 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom, many teens are exposed to pregnancy through pop culture and some even first hand.  There are some excellent books dealing with pregnancy and different pregnancy issues, and even some fun ones, so I’m going to highlight a few of my favorites.  As always, if you know of some others, please leave them in the comments section!

 Let’s just kick things off with a controversial pair, shall we?  Great.  Bumped and it’s sequel, Thumped, are two of my all time favorite teen pregnancy books because of Megan McCafferty really makes use of the direction society is headed with regards of marketing, social media, and teens and then integrates it with futuristic look at what would happen if only teenagers could reproduce.  Adults over a certain age could no longer have children and so they contracted teen boys and girls to surrogate their children.  And we’re not talking about a hush-hush deal either.  We’re talking about full blown sponsorships from companies for the teens who are the most desirable for creating top-notch babies and these teens have AGENTS.  It’s really some crazy stuff and then entire time I read, I couldn’t decide if I was cringing in anticipation of what would happen next or if I was secretly really enjoying this book.  This series follows Melody and Harmony, twins separated at birth and long lost to each other.  Melody is immersed in this preg-tastic world and Harmony lives in a religious compound and is considered ‘godfreaky’.  I loved these books because the resolution in the end is perfect and my teens that have read them are appalled and shocked at this type of lifestyle…which is the exact reaction I think McCafferty was looking for.  Well played, Megan, well played.
(Bumped, ISBN: 0061962740, Pub Date: 4/2011, Balzer + Bray;
, ISBN: 0061962767, Pub Date: 4/2012, Balzer + Bray)

On a more serious note, Sara Zarr’s excellent novel, How to Save a Life, is a heartbreaking look at one teen who is trying to make a new life for her baby and another teen who is trying to get back to normal after the death of her father. Jill MacSweeney just wishes everything could go back to normal. But ever since her dad died, she’s been isolating herself from her boyfriend, her best friends—everyone who wants to support her. And when her mom decides to adopt a baby, it feels like she’s somehow trying to replace a lost family member with a new one. Mandy Kalinowski understands what it’s like to grow up unwanted—to be raised by a mother who never intended to have a child. So when Mandy becomes pregnant, one thing she’s sure of is that she wants a better life for her baby. It’s harder to be sure of herself. Will she ever find someone to care for her, too?
As their worlds change around them, Jill and Mandy must learn to both let go and hold on, and that nothing is as easy—or as difficult—as it seems.
  Excellent book.  (ISBN:
0316036064, Pub Date: 10/11, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers) (Read Karen’s review of How to Save a Life here)

And last, but certainly not least, Mothership, by Martin Leicht and Isla Neal.  I haven’t read this one yet but I’ve read several reviews that call this book a must read. Elvie Nara was doing just fine in the year 2074. She had a great best friend, a dad she adored, and bright future working on the Ares Project on Mars. But then she had to get involved with sweet, gorgeous, dumb-as-a-brick Cole—and now she’s pregnant.  Getting shipped off to the Hanover School for Expecting Teen Mothers was not how Elvie imagined spending her junior year, but she can go with the flow. That is, until a team of hot commandos hijacks the ship—and one of them turns out to be Cole. She hasn’t seen him since she told him she’s pregnant, and now he’s bursting into her new home to tell her that her teachers are aliens and want to use her unborn baby to repopulate their species? Nice try, buddy. You could have just called.So fine, finding a way off this ship is priority number one, but first Elvie has to figure out how Cole ended up as a commando, work together with her arch-nemesis, and figure out if she even wants to be a mother—assuming they get back to Earth in one piece. (ISBN: 1442429607, Pub Date: 7/12, Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers)

So, while there are tons of books that really discuss teen pregnancy, these are the ones that are on the top of my list today.  Believe me that I haven’t forgotten about Angela Johnson’s The First Part Last…another one of my favs.  Until next week!  

**Stephanie’s Note: Italicized portions came from Goodreads book summaries.   


  1. There's also The Pregnancy Project, a memoir by the girl who faked her own pregnancy as a senior in high school. Not only is it well told, but it's definitely interesting as far as classrooms or book clubs are concerned.

Speak Your Mind