Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Counting to Perfect

38351517LaFleur, Suzanne. Counting to Perfect
October 23rd 2018 by Wendy Lamb Books
E ARC from Netgalley

Cassie wishes that life were the way it used to be, before her older sister Julia had a baby her senior year in high school. Now, instead of going away to college, she will be living at home with Addie. Cassie's friends aren't allowed to visit her home now, and her parents don't come to her swim meets as much. When Julia mentions that she and Addie are going on a vacation, she asks Cassie to come along. Since she has swim team, Cassie doesn't want to go, but ends up tagging along. Julia doesn't have a plan-- she just wants to get away. The two girls have some savings, and spend time staying in hotels and eating lumberjack breakfasts, having great days hanging out together. They let their parents know they are okay, and while the parents aren't happy, they instruct the girls to check in and let them have their trip without freaking out. Eventually, Cassie wants to get back to her friends and swim team, so her parents fly her home. She is able to work things out with her parents, and when Julia returns, she is, too.
Strengths: This was an interesting and fun road trip book, and I liked that the girls followed safety protocol with their parents. Julia is a good mother for the most part, and takes care of both Addie and Cassie. The parents are portrayed as very understanding and see how the family dynamic could be slightly different. The sisterly bond is sweet.
Weaknesses: The trip seemed like an extreme reaction to a fairly good, if unfortunate, situation. Not many young single mothers would have the financial assets to take such a break.
What I really think: I was confused by the reactions to Addie. It's 2018. I marched for abortion rights, so was sad to see that Julia did not avail herself of them. That said, having chosen to have the baby, her embarrassment seemed odd, if somewhat understandable. What was not understandable was the portrayal of the action of the friends' parents not allowing them to come to Cassie's house. That sounds like a 1960s reaction, and I worry that my students, many of whom have been raised by young, single mothers, might be confused and feel bad about their own situations after reading this.
Ms. Yingling

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