One of the coolest things about blogging is getting free books in exchange for sharing my honest opinion of them here. As I might have mentioned, I love books. I love them so much that I have big stacks of them and so sometimes I don’t review them as quickly as I am supposed to.
But not this one! Sydney and Calvin Have a Baby has such a compelling premise that I could hardly wait to read it. And since William had to have a root canal this week, I had a perfect opportunity to do it all in one sitting. In fact, I had just a few pages left and I read them while sitting in the Arby’s drive-thru on the way home because I just HAD to know what happened.
I read a lot of young adult novels because my daughter loves the genre and brings them to my attention. But this one is different for a couple of reasons–one, it’s a specifically Catholic novel, and two, it starts with a rape and ends with a baby.
That’s pretty heavy stuff for a teen novel, and let’s throw in a couple of deaths, an orphan, mean girls, a close call at the abortion clinic, and dysfunctional families aplenty. But the lovable, quirky main characters and the fresh narrative voice (Calvin, whose British accent you can almost hear) add humor and humanity without ever glossing over the truly terrible events in the story.
Perhaps when you think of a Catholic novel you imagine characters who pray all the time, lots of priests and nuns, and plenty of preaching. That’s not what you’ll find here. The Catholicism is mostly background–the kids go to a Catholic school, the families are nominally Catholic in that they go to Mass on Sunday and not much else. The only truly devout Catholic we see is Calvin, and the Catholic heart of the story is in its redemptive message.
I enjoyed this novel so much that I would love to read more about Sydney and Calvin. I would especially recommend it for a Catholic youth discussion group.
Author: Adrienne Thorne
Publisher: Gracewatch Media