Cover Image: Belly Up

Belly Up

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Member Reviews

This book was really humorous. Sara is going to be a teen mother after one night at a party. This book goes through her journey into motherhood as a teen. She finds love, deals with typical teen drama as well as growing a human. Her family is crazy but supportive, and her friends are there for her when she really needs them. 

I received a copy of this book in exchange for a honest review.
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If Juno had first been a novel, only with lots more LGBT acceptance and even more sass - if possible! - it would be Belly Up. What a fun book and so inclusive, too.
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Belly Up is an adorable story of a teen named Sara who becomes pregnant and goes through all the hard choices to do what she feels is right. Her mom and grandmother support her, each in their own way. Her new circle of friends have the potential to make everything worse if they don't accept her after sharing her secret. I loved this young adult novel and highly recommend it!
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Here are honest thoughts:
The start jumped in too quickly for my taste. I understood the bluntness of it, but it’s not for everyone. 

A lot of sentences begin with- I....

Around 8% into the read I guessed the rest of the story. 

Some of Sara’s thoughts are super cringy, like I wanted to stop ready, but alas I pressed on. 

I think the description of this book gives away too much. You know everything. You start read and a couple of chapters in it all kind of lines up and.. you’re pushing through the end. 

I like Leaf, I like Sara I just did not completely like the style of this book. If it shoulds good to you, then read it!!



Thanks NetGalley
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There is a sub-genre of romance books about the MC (Main Character) being pregnant. 

I'm not sure why this is. I don't read a lot of romance books.  But the cover of this one got me, and it sounds like an interesting read, so I chose to go in, knowing that this was about a girl, Sara, who is 17, and gets pregnant, and keeps the baby. 

And if that was all there was to it, I probably would not have like the book at all. But Sara is a smart, witty girl.  The people she is attracted to are also smart and witty. I love how she says she doens't want to impose gender standards to her baby to be. That gender is fluid, and that she might be bisexual.

For example, this is a bit of dialogue involving Jack, the bio-father, and Sara:

...it's a girl, right?
"That's the assigned gender. I wanna keep doors open in case they choose another gnder, later, though. But that's a talk for another day."
Jack paused. 
"Yeah, okay, that's fine. I'm just going to tell my parents it's a girl. I don't think they'll get it otherwise.

Her boyfriend is Gray ACE. The lesbian couple that she hangs out with, one of them is transgender.

So, no this is not a typical teen romance, at least not as far as I can see.

So if you are into teen pregnancy romances, this book might be right up your alley.

Thanks to Netgalley for making this book available for an honest review.
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Reviews of Belly Up regularly refer to the book as “fluffy,” which seems like a fair description. It’s an atypical take on the teenage pregnancy issue in that it refuses to engage in the idea the teenage mothers have irrevocably destroyed their lives and I think there’s value in those stories. I also appreciated that the novel played to some extent with the idea of multigenerational teen pregnancy, something that is often left out of teen pregnancy novels.  Additionally, admirable was the effort to be inclusive of a number of racial, ethnic, sexual, and gender identities…although there were times where the emphasis on these topics began to verge into lecture territory (although, frankly, I’ll sit through a lecture on the importance of inclusivity any day). 

The novel is, to a certain degree, something of a liberal wish fulfillment fantasy. No characters ever question the wisdom of a teenager becoming a mother, even the most rigid and conservative characters adapt to issues like transgenderism and gender fluidity with a single educational discussion about the terms, poverty doesn’t appear to exist in the community (the closest we come to is a single parent who worries about paying for Harvard), Sara manages to meet a new boyfriend who has absolutely no concerns about her being pregnant on her first day of a new school), and Sara’s high achieving best friend changes her own college plans so as to be able to better co-parent her best buddy’s child (a decision her own parents appear to have 0 concerns about). It’s not exactly a likely teen pregnancy story…but it does make you wonder why it couldn’t be. 

Overall, it’s an enjoyable read and one that, perhaps someday, will be more common and less remarkable.
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Light, cute funny book about teen pregnancy.  Usually those words should not be in a sentence together, but for this book they are.  I liked the story and the characters and the writing, but the book really did not delve into any issues that are actually dealt with in a real teen pregnancy.  Sara's mom seemed totally fine with her 15 yo daughter being pregnant after a drunk hook-up at a party....and losing contact info for the father to be.  The story was just too unfettered and easy and pure entertainment, definitely not a look at the trials of a pregnant teen, not too much character or emotional development.  With that said, I liked it for what it is--cute upbeat funny but pretty long as well, I skimmed towards the end.  Thanks for the ARC!!
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Getting pregnant as a teen isn't the best situation but it happens and I love how this book didn't make it to be this an earth shattering event, his was an adorable read. While most teen pregnancy novels are full of angst and pity-me, this was full of sarcasm and owning the oops if life.
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This was a great character driven novel. kind of reminiscent of Juno but with more raw emotion and deeper characters! This was one of those making the best of a situation and learning how to navigate life novels.  Not the stereotypical book you expect, it was so much better!
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elly Up was one of those books that you can't help but to enjoy... While it's good, but takes no time annoying you in between. I enjoyed it immensely and it had me cracking up so much that I teared up. 
But there were a lot of parts that just seemed to forced. Especially the Transgender parts. I get that some books talk about it to try to bring it to light and teach you about it. Belly Up seemed to just want to cram it down your throat along with race. It was forced, I can't tell you how many times race was randomly brought it. I just didn't get the necessity of bringing it up so often. The overuse of they/them just about made me want to punch someone in the face. Sorry, but when it is said every other word - it tends to drive you insane. 

That being said, It really was a very fun and light hearted read if you could get beyond the sexual politics and race. 

Sara was a character you can't help but to love. Same with Leaf. They are just so adorable. I love the relationships everyone had in this book but there were times when I thought she was being extremely disrespectful. Couldn't help but think most of the characters were pretty bland though - in a way that they seemed to be all the same. It wasn't until the middle to end of the book that that all seemed to separate and become their own person. I can't tell you how happy I was for Sara for being one of the few teen mom's that are blessed with loving people surrounding her. I wish more mom's got to feel that love. Young and old. 

I would like to take this moment to say .... THERE WAS FREAKING ICP REFERENCES?! That made me feel so old. Lol I really wonder how many people will know the juggalo talk. Haha

Would I recommend this book? Highly. Because like it or not, this book really is awesome and has a ton of potential. It's a great quick read.
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This was an adorable read. While most teen pregnancy novels are full of angst and pity-me, this was full of sarcasm and owning the oops if life. 

*Received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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This is one of those young adult books that I think you have to be a young adult to enjoy. There was a lot of terminology and slang that was over my head. Although, I think some of the words were Swedish so it would probably be over a lot of peoples heads. 

There was also a whole LGBQT aspect to the story that I wasn't expecting and seemed forced. It sort of distracted from the whole teen pregnancy storyline that would have been enough to focus on. I feel like everyone Sara met fit somewhere on the rainbow spectrum. Like the author set out to check every box. 

I also had a hard time believing that (view spoiler)

Finally, the book is long. Buckle yourself in for 48 chapters. I had to start skimming about halfway through. It just wasn't the book I thought it would be.


***Advanced copy obtained from Harlequin Teen/Inkyard Press via Netgalley***
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I wasn't expecting it, but this book actually grew on me a lot by the end. I'm really glad I stuck with it. 3 1/2 stars

This novel follows Swedish and Spanish teen Serendipity (aka Sara), after she and her mom move in with her grandmother and Sara discovers she is pregnant and has no way of contacting the father.

This story ended up being one of the most wholesome contemporary novels I've read in a while, with a lot of lovely sentiments on family, womanhood, and gender/sexuality.

It's still a bit of a ridiculous novel at times (it can be hard to take a story seriously with a main character who says stuff like "crapcicles"). Sara is a flawed narrator, though her flaws are often acknowledged or called out on page, so my negatives with this one aren't huge. Mostly just that the writing style overall had room for improvement.

I've seen some other reviewers describe it as coming as somewhat "tumblr-y", and I do agree with that to an extent. The novel is supposed to focus on teen pregnancy, but with a trans girl, demisexual boy, and "gray-ace" best friend, there is so much focus put on acceptance of different sexualities. I agree that there were a few bits here and there that felt forced, but overall I liked reading a story that had such a focus on accepting others and their identities.

What I think I liked most about this one was how pure the family relationships and female friendships were. I absolutely loved Sara's supportive family and best friend, Devi. There were so many sweet moments towards the end that almost won me over to a four star read on this one.

I'm kind of surprised I had so much to say on this one, but I liked it overall and would definitely check out more from this author in the future! It's not the most polished book I've ever read, but it approached the subject of teen pregnancy in an incredibly frank and honest way, so if that's something you're interested in reading about, I think this book is worth reading.
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This gave me cutesy Juno vibes. I think I subconsciously expected it to have a bit more heart and humor (like Juno) but it was defiant a fun quick read.
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This book started out great, but I felt like it took a little bit of a turn and then lost momentum about halfway through. I ended up skimming a fair bit of it.
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This one is hard for me to rate. I read it in one day, so there's that. But did I actually *like* it? No, not really. It kind of had a "Juno"-ish feel to it at the beginning. But throughout the book I almost felt like I was being scolded or lectured by a 17 year old about political correctness. And about food. Now, I'm married to a Polynesian, so I know, I KNOW how important food can be. But seriously, it got old. And I have no problem with her talking about sexuality or gender, but it almost felt forced. Kind of like when you read a Christian novel that sticks in preachy messages at random times and it throws off the flow of the book... That's how this felt. I don't know. I mean, I don't NOT recommend the book because I'm sure a lot of people would like it. Maybe I'm too old for teen/YA fiction, because most of it is annoying to me. Maybe it's because I'm a mom of teens and that amount of teen angst and drama in my life is enough? Who knows. I did appreciate how supportive Sara's family and friends were- we need more of those types of families and friends in this world. And where do you find a Leaf?? He was awesome.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for the opportunity to read this ARC.
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Teen pregnancy. But Belly Up is not just about an accidental teen pregnancy but much more. Its journey through the pregnancy is very accurate, though somewhat idealistic, especially with Sara's family.  But the book delves into many identities that most teens aren't aware of, such as Romini (Gypsy, please don't use that term), Redneck, Swedish, Jewish,  Lesbian,  Transgender,  and Bisexual. 

Sara/Serendipity is a 17-year-old high school senior bound for Ivy League.  Until she gets accidentally pregnant,  both her and her partner's fault. Facing her consequences is something teens need. Despite her relatively idyllic family,  best friend, and boyfriend,  Sara has problems. This book explains them well.

As Sara explains at the end, "It wasn’t the life I planned. It wasn’t the life anyone would have probably wanted for me, but it was a life, and it was good. And most importantly? It was mine. That’s all that mattered." I agree with  Sara. Teens, both male and female, would benefit from reading this book.

Publication Date: May 31, 2019

Thanks to Harleqin Teen and NetGalley for the review copy. The opinions are purely mine.
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This reminded me of Juno and I loved every single bit of it. I highly recommend this book, it was wonderful.
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Lighthearted, progressive, YA reproductive fiction about a quirky smart (possibly queer) Latina girl that uses a reckless one-night stand to get over her ex. Our main protagonist, 17-year-old Serendipity Rodriguez, is worried about everything except pregnancy until it’s far too late for the morning after pill. Belly Up is a dash of Juno, a dash of Gilmore Girls, and dash of your most common Tumblr threads on race, sexuality and gender identity. It’s also an interesting take on blended families and teenage romance. 

The book is pretty diverse in terms of character and gender identity representation. My favorite character is a Romani demi-sexual teenaged boy that quickly becomes a viable and healthy romantic interest for Serendipity but to make him fit into the perfect guy box, Leaf is whittled away to the point of being over simplistic. There were also some clear missed opportunities in the story telling, specifically around the portrayal of the grandmother’s pseudo-abuse and emotional manipulation and how the narrative frames Serendipity’s educational options in some ways to focus more on a budding romance and complacency. I wanted more in terms of passion and ingenuity from such an academically intelligent and high potential chick. This is a book a reader will either thoroughly enjoy or find completely annoying.

* This book was received from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. *
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Gosh I loved this book so much! I've been looking forward to it for a while and when I got approved for it on Netgalley I was super excited! From the very beginning I loved it! It had a wonderful, diverse cast. Also, another book with awesome ace rep! The main character is debating her sexuality, and her best friend identifies as gray ace. Also, I loved how supportive her best friend was throughout the book. I hate when friends get in fights in a book, and I'm glad she always had that support.

Along with her best friend, Sara also had her mother and grandmother supporting her the whole time. I loved her family dynamics. While there were times they wanted to throttle each other, I never doubted that the characters loved each other.

Early in the book, some of Sara's new friends mess up big time. While Sara forgives them pretty easily, I remained pissed for a bit longer. That said, by the end of the book I had forgiven then.

Belly Up took a great look at teenage pregnancy. For teens who experience teenage pregnancy, it can provide a character going through something similar to them while also showing a supportive environment. For teens not going through teenage pregnancy, it can provide a window into what their friends and classmates may be experiencing.

I can't state enough how much I loved this book. I also recently read The Birds, The Bees, and You and Me by Olivia Hinebaugh, and I think these two should definitely be read together!
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