Me, Him, Them, and It by Caela Carter ( web | tweet )
Publication Date: February 26, 2013
Target audience: Young Adult
Keywords: high school pregnancy, neglectful parents, adoption, teen raising a baby
Format read: ARC from NetGalley (Thanks!)
Summary: Since Evelyn’s father’s return to her mother after an affair with the family dentist, their house has been silent. Evie begins doing drugs, drinking, and having sex with Todd (a boy she most definitely isn’t dating), trying to capture their attention. Now Evelyn, 16, is pregnant.
Evelyn’s parent’s no longer speak to one another (or her) unless absolutely necessary or they’re in the midst of a massive fight. They circulate in individual little bubbles around one another in their giant, quiet house. Evie doesn’t trust her dad, whom she refers to as The Stranger, after he abandoned their family to have an affair. (He moved back in shortly after his departure.) Her mother, a lawyer, is all about The Facts and has a difficult time letting her guard down to show any emotions.
Naturally, Good Evelyn thinks she can become Bad Evelyn to capture their attention. She’s the valedictorian of her class, participates in clubs, is a star runner, and an artist. The only sacrifice she doesn’t make in her pursuit to stir up trouble is her grades — she wants to flee her house as soon as possible by getting into an Ivy League college. She begins drinking and doing drugs, drops out of all of her extracurriculars, and has many a steamy rendezvous with Todd, her non-boyfriend.
Her parents continue to orbit in their own little universes until Evie is forced to tell them she’s pregnant. She has many conversations with squirrely, petite Mary at Planned Parenthood about what her options are — abortion, adoption, or raising the baby. Once her parents become involved, they decide it would be best for her to live with her Aunt Linda in Chicago until she has the baby so no one in Jacksonville “has to know.” A cover-up story is generated that Evie’s aunt is extremely ill and she needs to help take care of her. Even her best friend, Lizzie, is kept in the dark.
While she assumed her parents would take note of her bad behavior, she didn’t anticipate they’d exile her. The only positive is spending time with her Aunt Linda, her wife Nora, and their two daughters, Celie and Tammy. She receives a rude awakening when she arrives at Linda’s house and is given a detailed list of rules outlined by Nora. Evie struggles to find a new balance — How could she possibly keep the baby? She doesn’t know how to be a mom. How could she she possibly love it? How could she even consider giving it up? In her detached state, she’s free to let these overwhelming thoughts consume her.
Evie was so full of spunk and so unparalleled that she immediately caught my attention from the beginning pages. She has a very unique voice and her story examines how difficult it is for a young girl to be in the position to make decisions that will affect her (and others’) entire life. Evie’s vulnerability and fragility were the perfect balance to the angry, abrasive girl that we meet in the beginning. She goes through quite the realm of emotions, yet even when she tries to withdraw into herself she’s pulled out of her cocoon of loneliness by a pretty amazing cast of supporting characters — lovable Aunt Linda who is always willing to listen, another pregnant girl at her new school, Maryellie, who is unrelenting in her pursuit to become friends, and Celie and Tammy who easily wiggle into your heart and force you to love them.
While the majority of the focus is on Evie’s decision and the time lapse of her pregnancy, every other aspect of Me, Him, Them and It kept me engaged. I sought resolve for her parent’s marriage, wanted her broken friendship with Lizzie to be mended, and hoped for Nora to loosen her reigns even the smallest bit. The pacing is fantastic, and the writing incredibly relatable. While One Pink Line, a book I read at the end of 2012, looked at the long-term journey of a girl’s decision to keep her baby when she got pregnant in college, Me, Him, Them, and It was an emotional juxtaposition chronicling a year of Evie’s life.
[For those of you who are maybe saying, “Hmm. A teen pregnancy book? I dunno,” I encourage you to look beyond that. You’ll be embracing a book overflowing with friends and family full of backstories and intermingled story lines – something so much more.]