Cover Image: Belly Up

Belly Up

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Member Reviews

A sweet, funny, refreshingly sex-positive teen pregnancy story. Sara's voice is so warm and compelling, and it's great to see an example of a supportive system of friends and family come together to support her. Some descriptions of pregnancy phenomena feel a bit on the nose, but I imagine they'd be eye-opening and welcome to readers in the same boat. I'm a fan, this book was really good.
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This was so cute and adorable. It was super interesting and obviously not very realistic but I still really enjoyed my time reading it. I finished over two weeks ago so I do not remember much but I did really enjoy my time and found I often made excuses to read it.
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Aw dang, I didn't start this one early enough to finish it by the time it was archived! I really enjoyed the parts I read, though!
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I’m not 100% sure how I feel about this I honest couldn’t put it down & I completed it over the course of two days. I haven’t seen very many books that focus on teen pregnancy so Belly Up by Eva Darrows was a real surprise. 
Serendipity aka Sara a seventeen-year-old high schooler ends up pregnant after a rebound one-night stand. She is spunky, smart, stubborn and compassionate. Her Mother and Grandmother were extremely supportive of her situation.  In some parts of the book I felt the author was trying too hard to be relevant. IDK, but over all this was a good read. 3.5 out of five stars.  Thank you, Netgalley & Inkyard Press Publishing, for this copy in exchange for an honest review.
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This is a very funny book, and I liked the supportive relationships in the book. Unfortunately for me, it was too political. There were times when I felt like I was being hammered with a viewpoint that could have been handled in a more subtle way. I think teens will really enjoy it though.
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This book was eye opening and a nice fresh experience in the YA genre. This topic needs to be addressed more in books so people can be more aware. I loved the development of the characters and how we followed her whole pregnancy journey including the impacts it had on her life!
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A really funny YA read about a high schooler who ends up pregnant after a rebound one night stand and is navigating mounting difficulties in her young life.

Serendipity aka Sara was spunky, smart, stubborn and compassionate. Her Mother and Grandmother were extremely supportive of her situation and subsequent decisions which helped lay the foundation for a wonderfully chaotic family dynamic.

The relationship that Leaf and Sara forged was so sweet and innocent. Despite her pregnancy, he didn’t look at or treat her any differently. He was her chef in shining armor.

I loved the reappearance of the baby’s father and his willingness to be in the picture, despite not having a relationship with Sara. He truly cared and that was exactly what Sara and baby needed.

While I thought this read hit on a lot of hot topics for teens, I felt at times it was trying too hard to be relevant. The lingo and jokes were often a little juvenile. What irked me the most was the over use of identifying everyone’s gender and sexual presences. This included the MC’s obsession with not referring to her baby‘s gender as female because maybe the baby will want to choose a different gender when they’re older. I can certainly appreciate a novel that addresses diversity and is sensitive to all identifiers, but the fact that every single main character needed a “label” seemed very far fetched and forced.
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Ease is always going to be my complaint about teen romances. Things happen too easily. Her first day at a new school Sara makes new friends and has a love interest. These are characters who don't even blink at her pregnancy. She has an amazingly strong support group in people she's only just met. She is briefly ostracized at school but that's easily resolved by a single confrontation. Additionally, the plot dabbles. It dips its toe into racial prejudice and sexual politics and then immediately stops. It tires too hard to be inclusive. Characters introduce themselves by sexual orientation for goodness sake. The trans character seems to exist only to lecture Sara about gender presentation. Pleasant but lacking in real substance.
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I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.  
Thanks NetGalley!

What a story line.    A 16 year old girl finds herself pregnant after a one night stand with a stranger.       She finds herself moving in with her grandma, starting a new girl, and who would have guessed, finding a new love thing with Leaf.    Such a quirky fun book.
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Do not let my  3/5 stars rating deter you from picking this book up, I think many others will fall deeply in love with it. The places I find minor faults in, others will find joy in. This is truly a book that should be read and talked about in the community. I hope this book reaches many hands who feel underrepresented, and then in turn share it with others in the community. 

 I highly recommend this book to those who are desperately looking for a very diverse book, that is also trying its best to be politically correct. This book I believe will find a kinship with many people that do not feel represented in current  literature. There are a plethora of characteristics that you do not see in the majority of the books you come across. Let me try to list the diversity in this book, due to how much there is I may miss a few by accident. (Don’t harp on me too much) Although I took notes while reading, I did finish this book about a month ago (life has been busy, and I wanted to make sure I wrote this specific review with care).
-plus sized/curvy main character - Swedish and Spanish heritage -Romanian heritage -generations of single mothers -asexuality/gray-ace/demisexual -transgender character -questioning sexuality -lesbian and bi characters 

Along with a plethora of diversity, this book also covers topics like:
-abortion/pro-choice/pro-life -they/them pronouns - struggles of being a white looking Hispanic -gypsy being a slur to Romanians -importance of gender neutral names -raising your child gender neutral -slut shamming -making comments about race -respecting and learning about someone else’s culture and traditions -white dominated towns -non-accepting parents -unhealthy/abusive relationships -family pressure -preferences to plus size/curvy bodies -not agreeing with your parents choices -staying/not staying with child’s father

Now, I think this book has many great qualities..but it does have its faults in my own opinion. I think that although it covers many diverse topics, none of them were dove into with great detail due to the shear amount of topics. I think as time went on it felt like the author was trying to fit in as many things on the list of what they felt passionate about, but the novel wasn’t long enough to fit it all in. I wish that the author had picked less things to talk about, in order to better discuss and integrate them into the story naturally. The stories the author wanted to tell could be added into their other novels. Not everything had to be stuffed into one book. Many things were only mentioned once or twice in passing, and then never brought up again. The main character questioning her sexuality could have been a focal point of the story, but instead it was just randomly thrown in. I would have loved to see more of her best friends asexuality highlighted, but there was not much discussion of it at all. Some situations only seemed to be a plot point in order to show more diversity, but overall didn’t match or flow with the plot arc. 

Although I appreciate the diversity this book tried to showcase, I was left feeling like I wanted more information. I think this book is a great stepping stone in the community, but there is room for a more refined quality. 

Thank you so much to netgalley and the publisher for providing the opportunity to read this arc. As always, all thoughts are my own :)
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I got some Juno vibes from this and I loved it. It had an interesting main character that many will learn to love while reading this book.
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I really enjoyed this novel. When the reviews I read mentioned it had a Gilmore Girls Meets Juno feel, I knew I had to read it.

So I am going to get my one negative thing out here first. I was pregnant at 20, not as young as this protagonist, but young enough not to know what the fuck I was doing. I kept my daughter and would never change that decision. But my life has been hard. I had friends who got pregnant younger than me whose lives were difficult.Not bad, just hard.  I did not feel like this book talked enough about the fact that Sara's privilege of living with a family who supports her, friends that won't abandon her, being able to finish school, keep her baby and get a hot boyfriend are exceptions to the rule. While teen pregnancy can be a positive experience and I like that this novel highlights that- in general, it is not. I wish the author had made Sara a little more aware of the fact she is blessed and lucky.

Now, with that being said. This book got me. Every time the MC spoke it was if teen me were cheering. In fact, adult me cheered too. Because I still sound just like that, if my slang is a little outdated. Sara's relationship with her mother is totally me and my 15-year-old. We are just like this, this same style of banter and teasing each other, love fueled by jokes and sarcasm. (Though my kid and I swear a lot more.) My mom and I are also very similar to Sara and her Mom, put the three of us in a room and you will walk away shaking your head.

I love how Sara is a bisexual fat girl and not once did the story shame her for her eating habits. I've been pregnant four times, the hunger is real. I enjoyed all the talking about food and the reality that sometimes the cheeseburger is what you need to stuff your face with. This novel is real about how pregnancy feels, tired all the time, horny, hungry, hairy, emotional. The author did not sugar coat it. 

The inserts of Romani culture, from new boyfriend Leaf, was amazing and if you liked this aspect of the book you should read her novel The Hollow Girl. Sara's boyfriend Leaf is a wonderful (if a tad unrealistic) boy that if I were a teen would be swoon-worthy. 

Sara's friends are written beautifully and are very diverse. Speaking of diverse, I also wanted to touch on the fact Sara is half Hispanic and feels out of place in her own culture as she doesn't speak Spanish and her Swedish mother and grandmother (mormor - who is amazing!) raise her. 

I am that girl. I am half Puerto Rican and don't speak Spanish and am constantly trying to figure out where I belong. It's hard when you want to connect to part of your heritage and don't know how. I (like many characters in this book) use food to do that. I cook meals my grandma taught me and look up Puerto Rican cuisine and food customs. 

While I understand why the author brings back Jack- the baby daddy- I kind of wish she hadn't. It did bring in some ugly realism to the funny rom-com feel of the story. 

This book was great, funny, quirky, full of fluffy feel-good nonsense with an underlying serious plot. I got a copy from NetGalley in return for an honest review and when I finished it I bought myself a copy to support the author. So go forth and read the funny fluff!
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A diverse lighthearted story. A bit of a mash up of Juno and The Gilmore Girls. Sarah is smart and snarky with her future all planned out. But you know what they say about the best made plans... and getting pregnant the summer before her senior year by a stranger was not part of Sarah’s plans. Fortunately Sarah has an amazing support system around her. I do have to give major props to Sarah‘s mother and grandmother, not sure I would’ve handled the situation quite as well. I mean I’d be supportive, but probably after I lost my temper a few times. Sarah also had an amazing BFF in Devi. Seriously we all need a Devi in our lives.

   Not only is Sarah pregnant, but she also has to start at a new school her senior year. Something that would not be easy even under the best of circumstances. Sarah is lucky enough however to find a diverse group of supportive friends at the new school as well. Even a boy named Leaf. This boy was so sweet, so kind, so supportive, and best of all he could cook! The only tiny problem I had with this book I thought things worked out a little too perfectly for Sarah. I know the girl got pregnant and she was going to have to deal with that, but... I thought it was all a bit sugarcoated, however they do say good things happen to good people and Sarah was truly a good person. Simply put this was a sweet diverse story filled with friendship, family, and love!7/10

*** many thanks to Harlequin/Inkyard Press for my copy of this book ***
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I have been looking forward to this book for so long! The cover art is amazing. It really draws me in and I think teenage pregnancy is a great contemporary topic for young adults. I thought that this novel was really well done. It had just enough real life, but also balanced some of the weighty topics with comedy relief. 

Sara winds up pregnant after a quick hookup in a pickup truck. One big problem is she has no way to contact the father, she’s moving and switching schools, and she meets a new guy who she really likes. There’s a lot of stuff going on! I enjoyed the plot and never thought that it was overwhelming. It had a really good pace and maintained my interest the whole way through. I loved Sara and her family’s humor throughout. Even though Sara thoughtfully thinks about her options, she doesn’t let anyone pressure her and ultimately her family is very open and supportive of her decisions. 

I love that the diversity never felt forced throughout this whole book. Sometimes it feels that the only reason a character might make an appearance in a book is to showcase their diverse point. This wasn’t that case, every character was well developed and had their own personalities throughout. 

My only critique is very minor and mainly I just wish we had more of some of the pregnancy hardships. We got a lot about the morning sickness and food craving and a few other things, but I think I just wanted more. I also felt like the labor and delivery itself felt a little rushed. I was sad when this book ended I really wanted to keep reading about Sara and her family.
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The minute I heard the premise of this book I knew I wanted to read it. A sixteen year old girl who finds herself pregnant after a one night stand and has to navigate the pregnancy AND a new high school? YES PLEASE!! This is unlike anything I’ve ever read in YA and a narrative that definitely needs its space. Despite all the hardships and struggles, this was ultimately a book filled with happiness to the brim.

The writing is fairly simple and easy to follow, not wanting to take focus away from the core of the story, it serves as a vessel to transmit it and it does so very well. The only parts I had a problem with are the texts between Sara and her best friend. They read very cringey and unrealistic with overly abbreviated words and just overall not the kind of texting the teens today take part in. I found myself being thrown off everytime and unable to get used to it. Other than that, I enjoyed every single part of the book.

Belly Up starts with Sara’s break up with her on and off boyfriend which crushes her because she still loves him. Great ideas ensue and she ends up having a one night stand that results in a pregnancy. One thing I loved about the book (among many) is how unfiltered it is. We follow Sara from the moment she finds out to when she gives birth, and everything that comes in between like deciding she wants to keep the baby, telling her family and friends, etc… not just the events but also the emotional journey that’s attached to them, never glossing over anything.

We get the good and the bad, the rough and the easy but this book is ultimately a bubble of joy portraying teen pregnancy as an event that isn’t the end of the world and that with the right support system (which not everyone gets, and that’s acknowledged in the narrative), it doesn’t have to be a life shattering event and can be navigated well.
Sara is a swedish-spanish fat girl who is extremely funny (seriously, I found myself laughing out loud at times), quite sassy and opinionated. She has a shell around her but is incredibly attentionate and caring with people she lets in. Her narrating voice is very perky, which makes her so very easily likeable and approachable to the reader and I was no different, I found myself immensely enjoying my time reading from her perspective.

The romance is, in my opinion the highlight of this book. After switching schools, Sara finds herself quickly adopted by this group of three people mainly because of Leaf (her LI) who breaks the ice the first time he meets her and makes her feel somewhat welcome in an environment that’s hostile to her. Leaf is a Romani fat boy who’s asexual and loves cooking and is an ABSOLUTE sweetheart of a soft bear. He just wants to take care of Sara, and what better way to do that than to FEED her? I loved how organically their relationship developped, moving from friendship to romance slowly for reasons that come from both their sides, and also how once they got together, just how much respect they had for each other and how central of a role consent had.

Beside the romance, I thought that all the other relationships were extremely well done. The relationship dynamic between Sara, her mom and her grandma is amazing, they fight and make up but are ultimately extremely supportive of her and her rock through everything. Her friendships old and new are also amazing, her best friend is also an important part of her support system, she’s there for her through everything and I liked that Sara made an extra effort to include her in all her activities with her new friends which she met through Leaf. A girl and a non-binary person (they/them pronouns) who are also in a very cute relationship and embrace her into their group effortlessly.

Belly up just gave me all the soft happy feelings at a time when I needed them. Especially with that ending wrapped up as it was. GAAH!! It’s so good!
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Teenaged pregnancy is a fact of life.  Like it or not, it happens, which is why I picked up this book.  Being a mother to two teen girls - one 17 and other 19 - I thought it'd be an interesting read and I wasn't wrong.  

Sara is a breath of sarcastic fresh air.  Her voice is fresh and real, even in the moments when she's putting up a front because she's scared half to death.  She's also very mature, never once blaming her mistakes on anyone other than herself.  It helps that her mother was also a young, single parent, so she didn't risk the judgement that so many parents hand down to their kids in these situations.  Instead, Astrid encourages Sara to embrace the moment and live up to her potential, baby and all.  

Belly Up covers all the issues surrounding teen pregnancies, the realities you face, as well as how horrifying being pregnant can be.  Those were some of my favorite parts, I have to admit.  Sara turning into a bottomless pit once her morning sickness eases up.  All the bizarre changes in your body.  It was glorious how horrified she was, but hopeful in the way she took it all in stride.  

In addition to teen pregnancy, Belly Up also touches on issues of gender identity, sexual identity, and racism.  None of this is hit on too hard, but it is presented in a way that you take note of it.  I enjoyed the way Sara refused to call her unborn baby it and instead used genderless pronouns (them for the most part).  It was a different sort of way to handle the whole MY BABY'S NOT AN IT thing that I went through.  

Hands down, for me the best character was Leaf.  He's cute, he's sweet, he's this big teddy bear of a boy AND HE'S ROMANI.  Now, side note here: I fell in love with all things Romanian at a young age.  Why?  I'm not sure, but it probably had a lot to do with my Dracula obsession.  Anyway, since Romania has probably the largest population of Romani people, it was inevitable that I'd eventually fall in love with that culture as well.  Hearing that Leaf is Rom made my day.  Even more amazing was that the author actually took time to research the people themselves and dropped tidbits about their culture so that Sara could learn from Leaf about his heritage.  

The only thing that bugged me was the addition of this new trend of adding a question mark at the end of a statement.  Things like, "He's a jerk but I love him?".  I get where the intent comes from - you're making a statement you're not one hundred percent sure about.  Maybe I'm old, but it throws me off every time.  

Belly Up is the kind of book that bridges the gap between adults and young adults.  Although both of my kids are around the same age as Sara, I still thoroughly enjoyed her story.  Part of it might be because so many of my friends had babies in high school, but most of it is due to Sara herself.  She's fun, she's vibrant, and she has an amazing support group to help her through one of the toughest times of her life.  Being a teen mom isn't the end of the world by any stretch of the imagination.  The key is to surround yourself with the right people.  Good friends like Devi, Erin, and Morgan.  A great boyfriend like Leaf.  Never mind her amazing mom and grandmother.  An excellent book no matter your age.
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Serendipity (Sara) has revenge sex and gets pregnant. She decides to keep the baby and has to navigate her senior year of high school at a new school while also balancing the pressure of becoming a parent. 

This book is definitely a "best case scenario" pregnancy story. Sara was not raped. Her family is supportive. Her school is helpful. She hits very few bumps along the road. All of that is fantastic, albeit not very realistic. I appreciated the extremely diverse cast of characters as well as Sara's matter-of-fact descriptions of pregnancy and her visits to the gynecologist, etc. I don't know that many teens who become pregnant can relate to Sara's best-case situation, but it is a fun, enjoyable read.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Netgalley for review purposes.
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Title:  Belly Up
Author:  Eva Darrows
Genre:  YA
Rating:  4 out of 5

It’s bad enough Sara’s boyfriend cheated on her and she found out when she saw sexting pics on his phone. But now he and the other girl are flaunting it around town, when all Sara wants is to get through the summer and spend senior year with her best friend, Devi, and get into an Ivy League school. Surely a drunken hook-up at a party will at least take Sara’s mind off her problems.

Or not.

She forgot to get the guy’s number, and when she finds out she’s pregnant, well, things change. She and her mom move in with her grandmother, and instead of starting senior year with Devi, Sara is the new girl at a new school. She meets some new friends and Leaf, a Romani boy who really gets her, and whose flirting makes her happy. Except she’s also the pregnant new girl. She should probably tell Leaf about that, but she wants to hold on to her happiness for just a little longer.

Belly Up wasn’t quite what I expected. Sara is an amazing character, and her voice is so much fun. This is an incredibly diverse book, and friendship is a main theme, as is love (and not romantic love, either). This was a fun read about serious subjects, and I recommend it.

Eva Darrows/Hillary Monahan is a New York Times-bestselling author. Belly Up is her newest novel.

(Galley courtesy of Harlequin TEEN/Inkyard Press via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.)
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I wasn't sure what to expect going in, but I really enjoyed this book. I found it difficult to put down and really loved the characters. The plot was smart, and different. Sara was fantastically written. I genuinely think people will like and relate a lot  to themes in this book. Would absolutely recommend to YA Contemp lovers.
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I’m actually not sure how I felt about this book, I requested an advanced copy of this from Netgalley because it gave me such Gilmore Girls vibes. While some Gilmore Girls qualities do make their way into this book, and I loved how despite this being a teenage pregnancy book where everything could go wrong, the main character did sort of have a happy ending where she got the guy she was in love with and her daughter would end up with both parents even if they weren’t together. I loved the culture background and comedic aspects that Mormor included and the dynamics between mother and daughter buuuuut.. ALL the food talk and gender/labeling topics were a bit much. Like I get wanting to inform teens on the topic of gender is above and beyond important in this day and age, the constant references throughout the book felt lecture-y that it just sort of put me off it and a lot of points. 

I definitely did enjoy this book, and I found the story both humorous and uplifting so despite some hiccups I’d say this was a great book to read for fans of Juno and Gilmore Girls.
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