Books

STRAWBERRY FIELDS
Alan Atchison
(YA Contemporary)

Seventeen-year-old Julia Whitford depends on her favorite Beatles songs to whisk her away from daily life. But the Beatles can’t protect Julia from her father’s abuse of her mother. Now it looks as though Julia’s troubles are “here to stay.”

Seeking solace, Julia turns to a new boyfriend, Cameron (who has his own daddy issues). Escape from the ongoing terrors of home life seems impossible to Julia until Cameron suggests fleeing with him from the Philly suburbs to New York City, abandoning not just her tattered mom, but also her distressed best friend Melody, and Julia’s lifelong dream of getting into veterinary school. Though Julia looks forward to her freedom, it’s not until she arrives in the Big Apple that she learns who Cameron really is. Instead of providing safety, he rapes and beats her. And for Julia, running away a second time won’t be so easy. When she discovers she’s pregnant, she’s determined to take her sad song and, well, “make it better.”

The fine line between love and abuse has never been blurrier. Carrying her tormentor’s baby, Julia dreads the thought of teen parenting and endangering her child with her own upbringing. She must find the strength and courage to make one of two excruciating choices: end the pregnancy, as Melody did the year before, or surrender the child through adoption to a family who can provide the home she never had. She believes “there will be an answer”—that is, if Cameron doesn’t get to her and her unborn child first.



HITTING FOR THE CYCLE
Alan Atchison
(Literary Fiction)

Ryan Linwood always wanted to have a baby with his wife; now his only chance to father a child is through another woman.

For everyone else, having a kid seems to be a quick and simple plan-and-execute. Little does Ryan know that when his wife, Megan, surprises him with a positive pregnancy test, their gut-wrenching journey to parenthood has just begun. A false positive. A cancer scare. Medications. Repeated follow-ups. And of course, the many, many pregnancy announcements by family and friends. Maybe, Ryan wonders, the only child they’ll ever end up raising is their faithful dog, Bailey.

That is, until Louise shows up, filling Megan’s head with fantasies about adopting from some teen they’ve never even met.

Finding themselves eight months “pregnant,” Ryan and Megan are ready to welcome home their first child…until everything goes horribly wrong.

So this is what a miscarriage must feel like…

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