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Belly Up by Eva Darrows - Review

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Where did I get it? I ordered it a few weeks ago as I'd had it recommended. 

What's it about? At the beginning of the book Sara - longer name Serendipity - has recently broken up with her boyfriend Aaron. It's the end of her junior year and she goes to a party with her best friend Devi. While she's there she gets quite drunk and has sex with a boy called Jack. Unprotected sex, so Devi says she should go to a clinic and get tested for STDs, but she doesn't get round to it. Mostly because her mum is struggling with money so she and Sara are going to move in with Sara's grandmother, Mormor. 

Three months later Sara finds out she's pregnant. Her mum is supportive, her grandma less so, but then she's always quite difficult like that. Sara has tried to find Jack, but didn't even know his surname. But that's okay, she grew up without her dad around. All he left her was her Spanish surname to go with her dark hair and Swedish mother. 

Sara starts a new school and makes plans to have her baby and finish high school remotely. She makes three friends - Leaf, a boy who is Romani, and his friends, Morgan and Erin, who are a couple. Sara and Leaf start getting close, and Sara is sure sparks are flying between them, but she absolutely has to tell him about the baby, doesn't she? 

The book encompasses the whole of Sara's pregnancy, which I really liked. She has a lot of complicated feelings about herself and about motherhood which isn't surprising when she's only seventeen. There's a lot of really amazing women and their relationships - between Sara and her mum, with her grandmother, and with Devi. It's also really funny - very irreverent and full of nerdy references. I loved Sara - I thought she was a great lead character and I really felt like we saw her grow over the space of the book. There's no slut shaming either, which I liked. I would definitely read something else by the author (Eva Darrows is a pen name for Hilary Monahan). 

What age range is it for? 15+

Are any main characters LGBTQ+? Yep. Devi is asexual, which is mentioned a few times. Morgan is a trans girl, I really liked her as a character. Erin is queer. Sara herself is possibly bisexual - she has kissed at least one girl and says she's leaning that way. I would have liked to see her explain this to Leaf, actually. That would be my wish for a 'cut scene' from this book! 

Are any main characters people of colour? Yes. Leaf is Romani and this is a big part of his identity. Sara's Spanish side is mentioned a lot too. Plus Devi is Jewish which is a big part of her identity too. There's a lot in this book about food, and about food as cultural heritage which I liked, I thought it was a good way of showing feelings and family. 

Are any main characters disabled either mentally or physically? No 

Is there any sex stuff? A little, obviously, but it's not graphic. There's also mention of masturbation which you almost never see in YA, so I thought that was good. 

Are drugs mentioned or used? I don't think so. 

Is there any talk of death? No. 

Are there swear words? A few but they're not terrible ones, the terrible ones are mostly censored. 

What criticisms do I have? I thought in parts that Leaf was just too perfect. I understand why - because Sara is having such a tough time with everything else - but I would've liked a little bit more conflict between them. 

Would I recommend the book? Yeah absolutely. 

Why did I choose to read it at this point in life? It was just hanging around by the side of the bed! 

What do I think of the cover? I like it, it gets across what the book is about! 

What other books is it like? I can't think of any offhand, sorry. 

How many stars? Eight out of ten. 

Where is the book going now? I think I'll keep it!

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