Title: Because I Love You
Author: Tori Rigby
“Eight weeks after sixteen-year-old Andie Hamilton gives her virginity to her best friend, “the stick” says she’s pregnant.
Her friends treat her like she’s carrying the plague, her classmates torture and ridicule her, and the boy she thought loved her doesn’t even care. Afraid to experience the next seven months alone, she turns to her ex-boyfriend, Neil Donaghue, a dark-haired, blue-eyed player. With him, she finds comfort and the support she desperately needs to make the hardest decision of her life: whether or not to keep the baby.
Then a tragic accident leads Andie to discover Neil’s keeping a secret that could dramatically alter their lives, and she’s forced to make a choice. But after hearing her son’s heartbeat for the first time, she doesn’t know how she’ll ever be able to let go.”
If I had to use one word to describe this novel, I am afraid that it would have to be stereotypical.
Now, I know that this novel was well intentioned and the potential is clear. The author was adopted herself, and she wrote a story about a teenage girl who gives up her baby for adoption; HOWEVER, I can’t count how many times I have heard a story about a skinny, blonde haired, blue eyed, cheerleader who gets pregnant at sixteen. But to put a cherry on top of that story, she gets impregnated by a football player who happens to be her best friend! Not to mention the fact that they were both supposedly virgins before they slept together. It is true that getting pregnant the first time that you have sex is possible, but does it have to happen in every teen pregnancy story out there? When reading this book, I felt that I already knew what was going to happen, and it is not good when a reader knows what will happen in a novel before they get past the first chapter.
But I did like how Andie contemplated abortion in the beginning of the book, because so many times teenage novels or tv shows portray the characters stating how horrible abortion is and how they would never even think about it, when that isn’t the case in today’s times. Abortion is a very real option, and it was important the Rigby acknowledge that in her book. But I don’t think that she should have made it look so easy for Andie to have Neil forge her mother’s signature so that she could get an abortion underage. I felt that this made the clinic in the story look careless, and that wasn’t a good message for people who are unaware of abortion clinic practices.
However, I am certain that Tori Rigby’s writing is experienced and beautiful. Her similes and metaphors are poetic, and it was clear to me that she was a talented author from the first chapter; but in terms of story her writing was lacking. Even though I did love the character of Jill, Andie, the protagonist’s, new friend, I didn’t feel a big connection to many of the other characters. This was a shame, because the story put a damper on the writing skills that Rigby does clearly possess. Based on the story itself, I felt as though any writer could come up with the plot, and I wouldn’t have been able to pinpoint the author had I been asked to guess who they were. If she had strayed farther away from the stereotype that is seemingly set in stone when it comes to teen pregnancy, I would have enjoyed this novel much more. I didn’t feel close to Andie, because I felt that she was immature and complained to much about “getting fat” a lot of the time, and that is what started my disconnect with the novel. Andie seemed as though she were above her peers, and I felt it strange that she found such a bond with a guy she had dated for only a month two years before the story took place. The realistic qualities of this novel were off, and I wound up disappointed once I finished the last page. I didn’t believe the characters or the story like I should have in this contemporary young adult genre, but I did appreciate what Rigby was trying to accomplish with this novel. I just didn’t quite believe the relationships portrayed, such as Andie’s relationship with her mother, because it seemed weird to me that one of the first things Andie’s mother did when learning of her pregnancy was assure her that they would buy her knew maternity clothes so that she would be comfortable as she got bigger. Having these quick scenes happen right after one another made the story feel rushed and the characters a bit one dimensional, even though I can appreciate how Rigby allowed Andie to realize how stuck up she was as the novel went on. This development did seem to humble her a bit, which was necessary for her character.
That being said, I was only able to give this novel a 3/5 star rating. I think that Rigby would better excel at adult fiction because I didn’t feel that she was able to grasp contemporary teenagers properly and realistically; but I do still hope that she continues to write. I did genuinely enjoy her descriptions and the way she painted the scenes in her novel, but I hope that she chooses to write elsewhere because I don’t think that the young adult genre gave her justice as an author. She has the necessary talent of a successful author, but her work wound up in the wrong place.
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