Sunday, April 14, 2019

REVIEW: Girls on the Verge by Sharon Biggs Waller


This novel feels especially important these days--these days of Draconian laws concerning women and their bodies --and I'm so glad that I took the morning to read it; I'll definitely be giving this one to my daughters and will be putting it on my classroom library shelves as soon as I can. The story of Camille is the story of many young women and it's one that needs to be told in the light of day--not under the cover of darkness or with shame. 

This story of an unplanned pregnancy and the fear, hopelessness, and confusion it can cause resonated with me. Every aspect of this--from the horror of the realization, the feeling of helplessness and hopelessness when you feel like you have no choice or that your choices are limited, the anger at people taking away safe options, and the loneliness you feel when it feels like you have absolutely no one to turn to-- captured so many of the emotions and thought processes that you undergo from the moment you discover that your pregnant...and you're not ready for it and you're certain this isn't what you wanted. 

While this novel's main focus is Camille and her journey, it wouldn't be the novel it is without including her best friend Bea (and how conflicted she is about all of this), and an acquaintace-friend Annabelle--the person who really saves the day...saves many days. How I wish every woman had an Annabelle and a Bea in their lives. Bea's struggle with Camille's choices is one I know many of my own friends would have and yet I hope, like Bea, they'd ultimately choose to support a friend in need (I can say, for me, that I did have friends who are supportive like Annabelle and Bea). And with the way society seems to be frothing at the mouth to take women's right to choose away, I feel like the Annabelles of the world are needed more than ever. The journey that these friendships take in a few short days feels like a journey that will solidify them in each other's life forever. 

The journey of this novel spans days but feels like it spans a lifetime--a before and after. It offers a look at something we don't see very often. It asks you to consider Camille's experience and to remember, if you're no longer (or weren't ever) a young woman, how being young, inexperienced, without a steady income can limit your choices. 

The subject matter may feel grim or sad, and I suppose it is, but I couldn't help but leave the novel feeling hopeful. The last scene in the novel offered me so much hope for Camille and the bright future she could have. Please pick up this novel and put yourselves in the shoes of these characters. Try to do so without judgement. Try to see what it feels like to be Girls on the Verge. 



Girls on the Verge is an incredibly timely novel about a woman’s right to choose. Sharon Biggs Waller brings to life a narrative that has to continue to fight for its right to be told, and honored.
Best Books of 2019 ―Cosmopolitan 

Camille couldn't be having a better summer―she kills it as Ophelia in her community theater's production of Hamlet, catches the eye of the cutest boy in the play, and nabs a spot in a prestigious theater program. But on the very night she learns she got into the program, she also finds out she’s pregnant. She definitely can’t tell her parents. And her best friend Bea doesn’t agree with the decision Camille has made.
Camille is forced to try to solve her problem alone…and the system is very much working against her. At her most vulnerable, Camille reaches out to Annabelle Ponsonby, a girl she only barely knows from the theater. Happily, Annabelle agrees to drive her wherever she needs to go. And in a last minute change of heart, Bea decides to come with.
Over the course of more than a thousand miles, friendships will be tested and dreams will be challenged. But ultimately, the girls will realize that friends are the real heroes in every story.

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