Cover Image: Belly Up

Belly Up

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Member Reviews

Overall I thought this book was well written. It mentioned the cycle of teen pregnancies and the consequences of a one night stand. The narrator's interest in McDonald's made me laugh - definitely something I could see a teen being focused on, especially with the added cravings of pregnancy. The reason I did not give this book a higher rating was because it read a little flat for me. Even though I am past the target age demographic for this book, I love to read YA and usually have no trouble. This one seemed very superficial with the narrator being more worried about the next guy rather than her baby. Also while it was nice to see someone be so supported, it would have helped to create depth if the narrator had more of a backlash from getting pregnant to begin with.
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This humorous and touching book is a perfect addition for high school libraries. Serendipity aka Sara, is a lovely girl who makes a big mistake and has unprotected sex which results in a pregnancy. As she deals with all the emotional and physical changes, she has her mom and grandmother and her best friend to depend on. The author presents a realistic portrait of all the issues that surrounds a teen when she is pregnant without being preachy or condescending. Sara is smart, funny, and determined and knows she is lucky to have her family and friends to support her.
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At first this had a Juno vibe but then it got a little more serious with things going on in today’s world. I tend to like to escape from that, and there was a lot of stuff thrown in. But I did really like Leaf!
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There are so many things I love about this book.  Most importantly, there are the characters.  Darrows’ characters are full of personality and spunk and the dialogue between them sometimes had me snickering out loud.  Bottom-line, I want all of them in my life for reals.

Teen pregnancy books often fall into the realm of “issue” fiction, but this is so much more than just a cautionary tale.  Certainly the main character, Sara, has to come to terms with the repercussions of a single night of indiscretion, but she finds strength in herself and the people in her life as she navigates through some tough choices.

There is a whole lot of representation in this book.  The main character is biracial and bisexual/questioning.  Her best friend is asexual, another friend is transgender, and her boyfriend is demisexual.  I have to admit that I had to look up several of the terms and identifiers used in this novel because I had no idea what they meant.  The story really covers a wide spectrum of gender and sexuality, and it is rare to see that kind of fluidity represented in YA fiction.

I highly recommend this book.  It is smart, it is funny, and it really shows how important it is to surround yourself with supportive and loving people…people who will be with you through thick and thin (pun intended).
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1.5 stars

This review is based on an ARC of Belly Up which I received courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher (Inkyard Press).


Ahh, once again deceived by an appealing cover. This cover, it slaps you in the face that inside is a story about pregnancy, no? Well, it's not. (Okay, it is, but it's not.) Let me break down what this story is actually about.

30% food, food descriptions, "chzburgers", and oh my god shut up about food already, please? I get that our mc is pregnant but I hate when people talk about food all the time, and that topic came up over and over and over!

30% Social Justice Warrior lecturing, which ultimately just left me feeling small and scolded.

30% cringey banter. The mc said "amazeballs" unironically. My soul died a little bit at that moment, I swear...

5% my family is Swedish. We talk Swedish, we shop Swedish, most importantly we EAT Swedish! Swedish Swedish Swedish. Swedish...
Swedish.

And finally, 5% oh I'm "preggers" lol. Wild.

Tangent Time! I love Juno. I typically don't enjoy movies at all, but Juno is one of my favorites and I could watch it repeatedly. So I know in the YA genre of things, Juno is like, a standard because Ellen Page is this quirky, non-serious teen saddled with a hugely serious thing. Juno pulls this off flawlessly, and in comparison, Belly Up feels like a lesser version. (And also, Juno and Paulie? Come on, we will never get a better young couple! While we're comparing these two stories, let me just mention that the relationship between Sara and Leaf is empty. Like, I felt nothing. She kept saying how she was so in love and overwhelmed, but I wasn't sensing that at all...)

Maybe I'm too old. Honestly, all I could think was "This novel is written for the 15-year-olds who can spell aesthetic."

Anyway, I'm just genuinely upset that this book didn't reach my standards. I was so excited for this novel, crossing my fingers hoping that I would be approved this ARC. I even happy danced when I got it. I'm just gonna go wallow now, bye.
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 Netgalley gave me a DRC of this book in exchange for an honest review 

4.5 stars

Sara is pregnant.  One wild party changes her life forever and she is faced with the dilemma of the choice of raising a baby she never thought she wanted or getting to realize her Ivy League dreams that she's worked so hard to imagine.

The secondary characters are what make this book incredible.  Leaf, Devi, Mormor, Astrid, Jack...all are wonderful in their own quirky, kooky, and sentimental ways and they kept me hungry, rapidly turning the pages.  

One of the things I enjoyed about this story are the strong doses of honesty interwoven into the non-realistic romance/family drama aspect of the plot. All great books need to be a little bit fantastical (the romance aspect was enjoyable and sweet, yet probably not realistic), but I loved the hard nuggets of truth about the ugly realities of pregnancy and childbirth.  I think these are great snippets for teen readers.

In the end, I loved this book because it was seriously addictive and I finished not wanting to say goodbye to Serendipity and the others...a sign of a successful novel.
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Belly Up is a light and fluffy read. It's cute and funny. It was definitely a change of pace from your typical young adult book about teen pregnancy. This book shows that, although life alternating, teen pregnancy is survivable (especially when you have an amazing support system like Sara).
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This book took forever to take off and even then, the storytelling is so slow that I found myself completely disconnected.

The first chapter was a great example of how descriptive this author gets and I knew I was in trouble.  The subject of the storyline is the only thing that kept me reading and, in the end, this book was just "meh" for me.
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*I want to preface this review by saying I have nothing against the communities mentioned in my review. I would have just preferred the story to be closer to the blurb that pulled me in.

When I read the blurb for this book I was excited. As a former teen mom myself I was hoping to read a book that encompassed all the things I went through. But, that was not to be. Serendipity (Sara's) mom was pretty much completely ok with her daughter being pregnant and not knowing how to get in contact with the guy she slept with while drunk. The whole book was really just a light fluffy read. No major drama, no real heartbreak or angst. 
 It just wasn't at all believable in today's world. To me, the main focus of the book was to get the gray-ace, demisexual and trans community out there in the hands of teens. Sara kept going on about how her baby's assigned gender was female, but she would let the child decide what they wanted to be. 

 She got a new boyfriend pretty quick after moving and of course, here comes in the demisexual Romni, Leaf who is perfectly ok with dating a pregnant girl in his last year of high school. I know that times have changed since I was young, but no boy just jumps right in without having a ton of questions and thoughts. Plus any pregnant teen is going to have a lot more to worry about, but Sara was honestly pretty nonchalant about it all. One little hiccup with some kids at her school, and then two when she finds Baby Daddy. The most real character in the whole book was Jack's dad, and that was only one short section in it. 

Overall, I don't feel that I read a book about teen pregnancy, but if you want a light fluffy read without and actual substance this is a good one for you.
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Belly Up by Eva Darrows is a great story with insight to a teen pregnancy. From the hard parts to the easier parts, it follows one teens journey of pregnancy with a strangers baby. New school, new house, new life.  So much for senior year with her bestie. 
Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for an arc copy of Belly Up in exchange for an honest review.
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I received an early copy of this book from NetGalley.

Possibly one of the sweetest, most genuine books I've read this year., "Belly Up" is a must-read for teens. Featuring a diverse cast of characters of all colors, stripes, and sexual-orientation, it's a story about a high school senior who gets pregnant after a one-night stand, and how her kind and spunky friends and family (including her understanding mother and firey grandmother) help her through. The characters are three-dimensional and well defined. The plot is intriguing. I had a marvelous time reading this book, and can't wait to read more from Darrows.
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