Friday, January 21, 2011

Dancing Naked by Shelley Hrdlitschka

Title: Dancing Naked
Author: Shelley Hrdlitschka
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
Publication Date: March 1, 2002
Date Read: January 13 - 14, 2011
Rating: 3/5 stars

Kia is sixteen and pregnant. Her world crumbles as she attempts to come to terms with the life growing inside her and what she must do. Initially convinced that abortion is her only option, Kia comes to understand that for her, the answers are not always black and white. As the pregnancy progresses, Kia discovers who her real friends are and where their loyalties lie. It is through her relationship with the elderly Grace that she learns what it means to take responsibility for one's life and the joy that can come from trusting oneself. Faced with the most difficult decision of her life, Kia learns that the path to adulthood is not the easily navigable trail she once thought, but a twisting labyrinth where every turn produces a new array of choices, and where the journey is often undertaken alone.

Dancing Naked is Shelley Hrdlitschka's third novel for young adults and her most ambitious and emotionally revealing to date. Pulling no punches, she covers some of the last taboo territory in teen fiction, sensitively and without sensationalism.

Interesting novel. I've read quite a few teen pregnancy books before but this one was definitely different, mainly because it discussed so many other topics such as inter-generational relationships, homosexuality, religion, adoption, and interracial relationships. While I appreciated all these topics being discussed I felt like the novel was a bit of a mixed bag, as if the author was sort of searching for more topics to include. I had also never read a book where abortion was considered and thought that Shelley handled it quite well. I found quite a few of the characters unrealistic (such as Derek and Kia's mom) but found Kia herself to be quite realistic. She was annoying, irresponsible, attention-seeking, but I found those qualities to be quite expected from a pregnant teen (not at all insinuating that all pregnant teens act this way). 
One of the main reasons I wanetd to read this book and put it on my 100-in-2011 was because I love to support Canadian authors. Usually left in the dust while international bloggers support UK, Australian, and American authors, Canadians are dying for support beyond Canada's borders. I'm hoping to feature as many Canadian books as possible to promote them globally. All of the Canadian books I read will have a "Canadian" tag on them, be sure to check them out!

Recommended: Sister Wife (Shelley Hrdlitschka), Someone Like You (Sarah Dessen), Forever (Judy Blume), & My Darling My Hamburger (Paul Zindel). If you want more recommendations, post in the comments or send me an email!

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