Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Review: Positively Mine by Christine Duval

This review is part of the book blitz hosted by Xpresso Tours. Read my interview with the author here!

Title: Positively Mine
Author: Christine Duval
Publisher: Bloomsbury Spark
Release date: December 19th 2013
Genre: contemporary New Adult
Source: Review copy provided by author - thanks!
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It is four weeks into her freshman year of college, and Laurel’s first test was unexpected. Discovering she’s pregnant isn’t exactly what she had planned for her first semester, and while she intends to tell her emotionally-distant father, being away at school makes it all too easy to hide.
An imperfect heroine plagued by bad choices and isolated during what should be the best time of her life, readers are sure to identify with Laurel as she confronts teen pregnancy, in secret.
Note: This book was previously self-published under the title Freshman Forty.

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I'm really starting to enjoy the new adult contemporary genre! I feel bad about it, but I'm generally a little wary of self-published books - yes, there's a lot of good ones out there, but the fact that a publisher has put effort and money into someone's work makes me trust traditionally published books a little more. But I've been reading quite a few self-published new adult novels for blog tours and such, and I have to say, I'm impressed! They've started to convince me to give more self-published books a try, since there's so few traditionally published new adult books out there. Anyways, I've really been enjoying these self-published new adult novels, and Positively Mine is no exception!

I love pregnancy novels. I know tons of people don't like them or have gotten sick of them, but I always enjoy them. I'm not even sure why, because, yes, it's been done a million times before, but for some reason, teenage pregnancy is a topic that I just cannot get sick of; it's fascinating to me, this impossible decision and everything related to it. I was especially excited to see pregnancy play out in the college setting, giving the character more freedom than a teenager still living at home. And I loved everything about pregnancy in this novel - Laurel's struggles are portrayed honestly and relatably, and I loved being there with her on this journey.

The pregnancy takes the main focus of Positively Mine, but there's some smaller storylines that I really enjoyed as well. The secondary characters are great - I loved reading about Laurel's relationships with Tori, her friend from back home; Mike, her friend-and-maybe-more at Colman; her dad and the rest of the family; Audrey, her friend from the young-mothers support group; even her obstetrician and her biology professor, who both end up being good resources for her. All of these relationships develop in a very natural way - there's issues, but there's never any unnecessary drama, which I really appreciated. The only relationship I feel was lacking was the one between Lauren and her babydaddy - I get that him not playing a role is kind of the point, but I wish we'd at least gotten to see her tell him.

What really made Positively Mine work was the writing. I don't even know what it is about Christine Duval's style, but it made everything flow so well. Positively Mine is a book that I never wanted to stop reading; I kept sneaking in chapters whenever I had a minute. And how badly I want to keep reading is really the best way of telling whether or not I'm enjoying a novel.

The only thing I found somewhat disappointing was the ending. Everything is explored in so much detail in the beginning, but the ending felt rushed. I wanted to know more about the delivery of the baby and what happens after - if we've spent that much time working up to this event, it felt strange to me to only have a couple of pages about the actual birth and everything surrounding it. Maybe it's just because I didn't want the book to end, though - I wanted to keep reading about what happens after Laurel gives birth. And I read that this book might be turned into a series, so that would explain the rushed ending as well.

Either way, Positively Mine is a book that I really enjoyed. Like I said, I love pregnancy books, so that probably influenced my opinion a lot - if you're not a big fan of pregnancy books, this one probably isn't for you; there are some other storylines, but they tend to lead back to the main issue, and the focus really is on Laurel's pregnancy. For me, though, that's particularly why I liked it. Positively Mine is an honest and engaging portrayal of teenage pregnancy that I really enjoyed.


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