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Pregnant Pause by Han Nolan

Pregnant Pause (edition 2012)

by Han Nolan

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8612140,249 (3.78)2
Title:Pregnant Pause
Authors:Han Nolan
Info:Graphia (2012), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 352 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:YA, romance, teen pregnancy, sex, drugs, summer camp, marriage

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Pregnant Pause by Han Nolan


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I was first introduced to Han Nolan through her novel Crazy, a book that has stuck with me in spite of having read dozens upon dozens of books since. I remember being thoroughly impressed with the control she had throughout the book, giving each voice such a distinctive feel that they leaped off the page and grabbed my attention through dialogue and action. So, I was walking through my library the other day and Nolan's name jumped out at me from the bookshelf in the young adult section and I knew it was time to give her my attention again. Pregnant Pause, while not as smooth and polished a story as Crazy, was an entertaining read that had me flopping back and forth, much like the main character, between wanting to strangle her and cheer her on.

Read the rest of this review at The Lost Entwife on Dec. 23, 2013. ( )
  TheLostEntwife | Dec 20, 2013 |
Han Nolan is a brilliant writer and her talent is vividly on display in this completely engrossing, emotional story. The ending comes together a bit too neatly, but that's easy to overlook because the rest of the story is so beautifully told. ( )
  Sullywriter | Apr 3, 2013 |
Sixteen year-old Eleanor is in a bit of a pinch. She's got a record of trouble with the cops. She has a bad-boy boyfriend who got her pregnant, and she doesn't have a lot of viable options. Her parents are about to leave for Africa, where they work with AIDS orphaned children, and they insist she come with them. Eleanor is stubborn, however, and insists on staying at home. She marries her boyfriend Lam and agrees to live with him at the summer camp for overweight children Lam's parents run. Her new MIL and FIL (mother and father in law) have Eleanor tell the campers she's 20 and imply that she was married before getting knocked up, but no one really believes it. In fact, Eleanor seems to encounter resistance and judgment at every turn-- with the MIL and FIL, the other teenaged counselors, and the kids at the camp. Even her new husband abandons her on their wedding night, choosing to get drunk and high with his fellow high school graduates rather than spend the night with his new wife.

Author Han Nolan takes readers along with Ellie on her emotional roller coaster ride as she readies for the birth of her child and the decisions she isn't ready to make. While Nolan offers no judgment on teen pregnancy, she allows readers to see the judgment Ellie faces from all directions about her situation and the choices she has. Both Lam's parents and Ellie's sister want the baby for reasons of their own and Ellie has reasons not to want either of them to have it. We see Ellie struggle with the weight of that pressure, as well as her turmoil over what to do with the advances of another boy at the camp who promises to care for her and her soon-to-be-born baby.

The target audience is high school, and perhaps middle school, girls. While it'll be a tough sell with most high school boys, it's a worthwhile read for them, as well. ( )
  TigerLMS | Nov 30, 2012 |
I chose this book because I wanted another title in the ‘edgy contemporary fiction’ category, and this one certainly fit the bill. Han Nolan is an award-winning author whose books are described in superlative terms, but this book was a bit of a disappointment for me. 16 year-old Eleanor, a rebellious teen with a history of trouble, doesn’t really accept that she is pregnant until she is about five months along, and is terrified that she will raise a child who will be as much trouble as she is. She defies the adults in her life by marrying the baby’s father and volunteering at her in-laws’ summer camp for overweight children in exchange for a place to live.

The good: I admire the skillful way Ms. Nolan portrays Eleanor’s roller coaster emotional ride as she navigates her way through her judgmental parents, her self-righteous sister, her severely disapproving in-laws, her loser husband, and both the fragile and the snotty girls at camp, for whom she is suddenly a role model. Along with these relationship minefields, she is also sorting through her complex emotions and no-win options for the baby when it arrives. Eleanor grows up in a hurry, making huge mistakes along the way, falling in and out of love, and finding emotional strength and resilience she never knew she had.

The not-so-good: the melodrama of the book got to be a bit much for me, and I had serious issues with the characters and their development. Or lack of, I should say. I thought Eleanor was a realistic character drawn with sensitivity (and an irritatingly smart mouth), and her sorry husband Lam was well-drawn as a rudderless kid who doesn’t have his s*** together. (Aside: I normally do not use profanity, but writing, I am told, is about finding the best and most exact words to tell a story and convey the right tone and mood, and in this case, it fits. Please excuse me.) The other characters are simply not believable, particularly every adult except the hospital rabbi, and ***SPOILERS…MAYBE?*** Ziggy, who is Eleanor’s other love interest and her supportive rock until his brain transplant. Okay, he doesn’t really have a brain transplant, but honestly, it’s the only way I can explain his actions, so I’m giving him one. ***END SPOILERS***

Curriculum: I could see this book being very useful in a health class. Besides the issue of teen pregnancy, there are descriptions of past drug and alcohol abuse, with serious consequences following.

Nolan, H. (2011). Pregnant pause. Boston: Harcourt.
2 vote AMQS | Jul 23, 2012 |
Eleanor Crowe has a mind of her own, and nobody gets away with bossing her around. She usually makes decisions based on who she can piss off most, although that hasn't worked out so well. Now she's pregnant and sixteen--and her opinion doesn't seem to matter to everyone who's trying to tell her what to do. But as Elly's delivery date approaches, she has more questions than answers. Is she being punished for being a rotten daughter? Does she really love this boy she married? And what's she going to do with this baby? Being headstrong got her into this mess...maybe now it can get her out of it. But is that what she really wants? ( )
  missnickynack | Jun 17, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0152065709, Hardcover)

A thought-provoking and courageous new novel by National Book Award winner Han Nolan.

Nobody gets away with telling Eleanor Crowe what to do. But as a pregnant sixteenyear-old, her options are limited: move to Kenya with her missionary parents or marry the baby’s father and work at his family’s summer camp for overweight kids. Despite her initial reluctance to help out, Elly is surprised that she actually enjoys working with the campers. But a tragedy on the very day her baby is born starts a series of events that overwhelms Elly with unexpected emotions and difficult choices. Somehow, she must turn her usual obstinance in a direction that can ensure a future for herself—and for the new life she has created.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:01:29 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Married, pregnant, and living at a "fat camp" in Maine, sixteen-year-old Eleanor has many questions about her future, especially whether the marriage will last and if she should keep the baby.

(summary from another edition)

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