Want personalized picks that fit your family?
Set preferences to see our top age-appropriate picks for your kids.
The First Part Last
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this is an award-winning book about teen parenthood, told from the father's point of view. Teen parenthood is not glamorized. Bobby and Nia must navigate their way through a very tough road of their own making. This book is told in lyrical language that will capture teens, as will the compelling subject matter. Some parents may find attitude toward underage sex is too casual, as shown when Bobby and Nia have sex again after she becomes pregnant. Nevertheless, it's a realistic look at being a teen parent.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Award-winning author Johnson trains her poetic prose on two secondary characters from her previous novel, Heaven.
In alternating Now and Then chapters, 16-year-old Bobby tells about his girlfriend, Nia's, pregnancy, and his life as sole parent of their baby daughter, Feather, after he refuses to give her up for adoption. He relates his feelings of love and exhaustion, and of missing his childhood and friends, who don't really understand him anymore.
Is it any good?
Angela Johnson deftly manages a delicate balancing act in this book. She doesn't gloss over the difficulties of teen parenting, but she also highlights the joy and love that are just as much a part of raising a baby as diapers and lack of sleep.
Bobby, the only fleshed-out character in the story, is an unusually sweet teen, fully open to the emotions of fatherhood, and willing to do whatever it takes to do the right thing. His family -- divorced parents and older brother -- are all kind and understanding, though unwilling to remove any of the burden from his shoulders. This may make the whole situation seem a bit unreal, but it does focus the reader's attention on the problems that come with the territory, rather than any trumped up by the author for the sake of conflict. It's a simple, gentle way of dealing with a complicated, difficult issue.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the subject matter here. How does this book compare to other books, movies, or television depictions of teen parenthood?
This book won both a Printz award and was named one of the American Library Association's best books for young adults. Why do you think it was honored with these awards? Does it make any difference to you if a book receives awards or not?
For kids who love edgy books
Our editors recommend
Top advice and articles
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.