Cover Image: Belly Up

Belly Up

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"Young women are often naive. Trusting everything will be fine without realizing you have to work for fine. We make our own fine." She paused. "Frankly, I find it amazing our species continues. We're all idiots." - Mormor, the Swedish Grandmother/Great Grandmother

"Funny enough, inaction has bigger consequences than taking action a lot of the time." - Mom, the turd, soon to be grandma. 

I just realized they have a very Gilmore Girls kind of dynamic but not as annoying and over the top. 

I am so, so glad this book exists! Young moms deserve happy supportive stories. It's not "unrealistic" and fuck anyone who thinks so. These kinds of stories occur, should be told, and maybe it'll happen more often with books like Belly Up around. 

I did have to pause reading it because I was more like the girls in the support group than Sara. The feels/. My baby is now almost 12. I still can't believe it sometimes.

Mixed children of single white women face a unique set of problems. They deserve so much better than the appropriating bullshit like the Kardashian klan. This has rep for my daughter that just brings tears to my eyes. I can't wait to share it with her when she's a teen! 

There's a queer Jewish wifey best friend and a Romani demi gentleman that just make me deliriously happy. There's the passage about colonialism and colorism in the Latinx and Hispanic communities. An asshole dad that gets put in his place. An understanding tough teacher and school.
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Let straight that this type of book is not something I normally read. Looking at this novel more regardless of the topic that it is written on I would recommend this book. The characters are well created and grew a lot of this book, the plot of the story was not to rush so it made me experience the journey more than I personally would have like, but others would love it. Overall, the book was written well, good characters, and the plot and pace were just right for what it is.
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Belly Up by Eva Darrow is a worthwhile read about teen pregnancy, with a healthy dose of charm, and told by a very candid narrator.  Sara doesn't hold back - not about her one-time, one-night stand with the cutie pie owner of a big truck, or the realities of living in a house filled with three generations of women.  She's a likable character, and she's surrounded by a cast of likeable friends from all walks of life.  

The portrayal of pregnancy is pretty spot on, though maybe the reader could live with fewer cheeseburger descriptions, it's significant that the gross aspects of brewing life were not neglected.  More importantly, her pregnancy if framed within the network of a caring family, one willing to ensure security and success for eachother.  That's why the book is charming; it bears a great message about persistence, dedication, and self-worth.  While Sara is not the greatest YA character ever written; she's a bit too perfect with her exceptional grades, humble confidence, and her wisdom beyond her years, she clearly demonstrates to the audience the importance self acceptance, and self forgiveness.  She erred, she accepted, she moved on and made something of it.

The story may hit a slow spot in the second trimester, but it's worth hanging in there for the ending.

I'll be taking this one to school visits in the spring knowing it will appear on a few summer reading logs.
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I loved this book. I was actually not sure if this was going to be my cup of tea when  I saw a lot of reviews mentioning it had a Juno-esque type feel to it. I hated that movie, but luckily this book was way more serious then that. There was plenty of snarky humor and I loved the real world problems and relationships.
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This book is so, so good.  I could not put it down, and it was every bit as funny and memorable and compelling as I could have hoped.  This book is diversity done right.  It wasn't forced or awkward, and I haven't read many books that have been able to do that.  The characters in this book were all just so perfectly imperfect.  I loved all of them, from the sassy Mormor, to the gentle giant Leaf.  I loved the writing and I am so glad that I got to read this.
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I gave this book 3 stars. While I do love absolutely love the relationship between the 3 women I have a problem with almost everything else. They aren't really distinct characters. They all speak the same and use the same words. Even the drs and friends speak the same. I had a huge problem with that part. I'm all for trying to keep it relatable but this one tried to hard.
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I cannot say enough how much I enjoyed this book. My intentions were to read it closer to it's pub date, but I started it and I couldn't stop. Such a remarkable and heartfelt story with humor and honesty spread throughout. Teenage pregnancies happen, but it doesn't mean life is ruined. Support of loved ones makes all the difference in the world.
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Sara continues the cycle of the women in her family by becoming pregnant young.  Sara becomes pregnant in the summer before junior. She is moving with her mother across town to live with her grandmother, who is aging quickly and needs the support of her daughter and granddaughter. These three generations of women learn that they will need to lean on each other to for the newest arrival. Sara intends to keep and raise the child.  Her pregnancy was the result of a one-night-stand, so she is unable to inform the father or expect his support. Sara counts on the strong bond she has with her best friend Devi and the new friends she has made at her new school. Sara meets Leaf, a Romani, whose ideas of family create space for Sara to raise her child while also potentially finding a romantic connection with him. 

The characters in this novel were extremely quirky, but fun and interesting. Sara’s grandmother is Scandinavian and Leaf is Romani, each brings a view into a culture that is not typically talked about in YA novels.  I love that Sara’s grandmother is a shoe throwing ninja and that she can be strong and loving within the same breath. I appreciate that Sara knows her wants and needs, is able to verbalize and truly take a responsible path. It is about bumping around in the dark and figuring things out. Sara is given more agency that most teen mothers in YA novels. While her story isn’t true of every experience, it does shine a light on an experience that isn’t typically explored.
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Belly Up follows the story of Serendipity (Sara) and her journey into motherhood -- before high school graduation. Even though she's in a precarious and confusing situation, she is the type of character that can get through anything with a quick quip and a couple of cheeseburgers. 

Not only is Sara the kind of teen that you would want to be friends with, she also has a crew of old and new besties that make her life much more colorful, including her wisecracking mother and her shoe-throwing grandma. 

Although this is a book about an unexpected teen pregnancy, it is a book that almost anyone could enjoy because even when she's scared and unsure, Sara has a good head on her shoulders and friends to back her up through anything.
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This book was very different than what I was expecting.

With that in mind, I did DNF it after about halfway maybe just under or just over, I couldn't seem to get into this story as much as I wanted to. The premise was great, it just wasn't written in a style that I could get into. 

I would still recommend this but perhaps to a younger audience than myself. My Main piece of criticism is that the narration wasn't as good as I think it could have been. This book had so much potential to be amazing.
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Good story line but for me I could not get into it The beginning felt slow until she started the new school then it seemed to pick up. Also I feel like it should be for older teens 15/16 and up not 12 and up. I did like the fact that it shows life does go on during/after a teen pregnancy. Leaf was a great friend, being there for her even after finding out about the baby. I think Mormor was my favorite. I would recommend to others if they are looking for this type of read.
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This book does a great job of explaining what it is like to get pregnant at a young age, unexpectedly, and without support. I received this arc right after my best friend found out she was unexpectedly pregnant. Belly Up had a lot of emotions and events that have since happened to my best friend. I think that if I would ever have a student tell me they were pregnant, I would suggest this book because I feel like it can help to read about someone in a similar situation.
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Belly Up is a virtual smorgasbord of representation with the author adding everything but the kitchen sink into one story. You have every demographic represented within a short number of pages:  Asexuality (ace), trans (MTF), bisexuality, demisexual, and queer in one or more of the main characters, as well as race/nationality: Jewish, biracial, Swedish (mentioned a lot). I am not sure if the author is trying to use this book as a teaching book, but sometimes it felt forced and preachy instead of casual and realistic. I find books more enjoyable when the characters are who they are without having to explain it or preach it (Christina Lauren's Autoboyography and Becky Albertalli"s Simon vs the Homosapien Agenda come to mind here). That being said, if I take my comfortability out of it, the author does a great job dealing with heavy topics. Other reviews kept referring to this book as a positive or negative Juno comparison. I am not sure why every book with a pregnant teen needs a Juno comparison, but this book is not Juno. The character has to navigate school, relationships, family, consequences, and a future with or without a baby, and it morphs into a story that is a fast-paced read with a satisfying ending. Expect mixed reviews on the love it or hate it as it seems to trigger strong responses in either camp. Overall I enjoyed the book, a first for me by this author. 

I received an advanced copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Eva Darrows (aka Hillary Monahan) never disappoints. I love her writing, and I loved this story. Will definitely be adding this to my library's shelves.
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I received Belly Up by Eva Darrows as an ARC from NetGalley.  Belly Up tells the story of Sara who gets pregnant her senior year after having sex for the first time with a stranger.  The characters in the book are very quirky and interesting and I enjoyed the story.  The one thing I disliked about the book was that everything went so easy for Sara with her pregnancy which is not very realistic for a teen pregnancy.
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3.5 Love the snarky, funny side of this author. This book also has a lot of great diverse rep via various LGBTQ+ and racially diverse characters, religious beliefs, inter-generational relationships, and a MC who is already thinking about how her baby's gender may be different later in life than at birth.
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Belly Up is a cute story that I received an ARC of from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I haven't read many YA books that are told from the perspective of a teen mom, which is why I was really excited to get a copy of this book. The story starts of with Sara going to a party and drunkenly hooking up with a guy. I think Sara's character starts off really strong. I found her relatable and likable. I also liked this book's discussion of birth control, gender and sexuality.  I never found it preachy either. 

I really enjoyed watching Sara's romance develop with Leaf. He was such a well written character, and it was super cool to learn about Romani traditions through him. There is no toxic masculinity in Leaf and I just loved him.

The story itself was okay.  I felt like the author could have made it a little clearer why Sara decided to go ahead with her pregnancy. To me it felt sort of like she just went with the flow and did what she felt like her mother and grandmother thought she should do. At the same time I did enjoy both of the women in Sara's life. I don't feel like her mother was pushy in any way, and I loved how the two of them supported each other.  The plot felt a little lacking overall though, maybe it's just me but I felt like the subject of teen pregnancy should have been dealt with a more serious tone. This book just felt too breezy. 

In the end I gave this book 3 stars on Goodreads.
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This wasn't the best book I've ever read but I still enjoyed it. I like how it felt relatable and the characters seemed down to earth. It was a quick enjoyable read.
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I'm of two minds about this book. On the one hand, the message that teenagers who become pregnant have options, and that those options can be positive and lead to happy, fulfilling lives, is important and certainly comforting. But on the other, Sara's particular story felt somewhat frictionless. The particular circumstance of her pregnancy might be less than ideal, but nearly every other element - a supportive mother and supportive although ornery grandmother, a safe, consistent, and free living situation, a ride-or-die best friend, an almost unrealistically perfect boyfriend, interested and enlightened new friends - seemed to make the narrative sedate. Even the reintroduction of the baby's father and his family, or the jealousy about her friends' and classmates' college plans did not seem particularly emotionally engaged.

Sara is a well-written and interesting character, and the writing flows well for the most part (although I frequently bumped on the little info dumps which stud the text). But there's something of a checklist feel to the story, and I did find myself wondering whether things would be a bit more compelling if the book had been about one of the other teen mothers introduced in the brief support group scene.
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I may be a tad bit biased due to my own life experience as a teen mom, but I love this book. It is a complete departure from the “oh I got knocked up and now my parents disown me” garbage we are usually fed. That is when we even get books anymore that tackle this issue.

Far too many people still believe talking about teen pregnancy glamorizes it and makes everyone want to run out and get pregnant. Statistics show that teen pregnancy is happening far less in 2018-2019 than in previous years. 

Belly Up allows us into the lives of Serandipity, Devi, Jack, Erin, Morgan, and Leaf. We also go along for a ride with Sara’s mom and Mormor. 

Sara rags along to a party with Devi where she sees her ex hugged up with his new boo. They put on a show and Sara gets in her feelings about it. She meets Jack and after too many drinks she ends up having revenge sex in Jack’s pickup. Life seem  returns to normal until Sara realizes several weeks later that she is pregnant. 

We follow along as Sara makes some tough decisions. 

All in all, Belly Up is a cute story. It is a necessary story. I did wait for plot twists that did not happen but that wasn’t factored into my thoughts on the book simply because this is a contemporary that isn’t a place for plot twists. 

I love how Sara makes her choices known, despite popular opinion from those around her. And I am greatful that she tackles some topics (such as gender identity and sexuality) even when people are under some strange assumption that teens don’t or shouldn’t think about these things.

I highly recommend this book. I certainly plan on buying copies for my daughter and her friends. Probably a few copies for their high school library as well. I would have loved to have had this book when I was 14/15 and going through these things. My experience wasn’t as smooth sailing as Sara’s but this book then certainly would have opened my eyes to the fact everything was going to turn out fine.
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