Publishers Weekly Review
Feni's visitor Rebecca, 15, comes from Harlem, is pregnant and is sleeping in Feni's room. It's almost too much for the 12-year-old to bear: she sees little enough of her corporate-executive mother without having to entertain her friend's daughter. Feni is determined to dislike Rebecca--until she realizes that the older girl's toughness is just a facade that hides a strong, nurturing young woman. When Rebecca's baby is born and she prepares to leave, Feni is faced with the unexpected prospect of losing her new friend. Peopled with strong African American female characters, this paradigm for understanding between social groups is written in a warm, rich style that creates an immediate intimacy with the players and issues. Woodson's deep understanding of and concern for the role of black women in society is evident as she eloquently introduces the reader to teenage pregnancy, alternate lifestyles and adoption in her moving, powerful story. Ages 12-up. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Booklist Review
Gr. 6-9. Feni is furious when Marion, her mother, agrees to let 15-year-old pregnant Rebecca come live with them in their home in a well-to-do black suburb in Pennsylvania until her baby is born. Still recovering from her mother's alcoholism, her grandmother's death, and her parents' divorce, 12-year-old Feni is justifiably scared of any change in their newly achieved stability. Marion, however, feels a loyalty to Rebecca's mother, an old college friend, and through the experience, both Marion and her daughter learn a great deal about love and friendship. The lesbian relationship of a third college friend with one of Feni's former teachers is addressed openly, and the complex issues surrounding adoption are explored, though somewhat superficially. There is a mixed message--Marion lectures Feni on safe sex, while, later, Rebecca says of her pregnancy, "Everything happens for a reason." Because the story takes place almost entirely in her home, Feni can explore contemporary issues of women's sexuality in relative safety. The novel addresses both the responsibilities and rewards of friendship, and the strong, supportive environment is a viable alternative to a traditional nuclear-family structure. ~--Karen Hutt