The longings of first love. The intense emotions of open adoption. And the price of betrayal.
Sara is sixteen and pregnant. Her once-devoted boyfriend seems to have disappeared, and her only option seems to be an open adoption with George and Eva, an older couple desperate for a child. But after the birth, it's clear Sara has a bond with the child that Eva can't seem to duplicate. And when Sara can't let go, Eva and George make a drastic decision with devastating consequences for all of them.
San Francisco Chronicle
The strengths of Girls In Trouble lie in the questions it raises about complicated love, both family and romantic.
Given the hot topic of this novel--open adoptions gone wrong, you'd expect a finger-pointing, too PC-tone. But Leavitt's surprising take will get your book group really talking.
Carole Goldberg - The Hartford Courant
A piercing spin on the theme of Romeo and Juliet. Leavitt makes this story refreshingly new. There are no villains here, just believable people trying to make the best of a difficult situation and - children and adults alike - growing up and growing wiser.
Smoky Mountain News - Jeff Minick
Leavitt displays her considerable talents for insight into the human heart. Clear, crystalline style...we are in the presence of a writer who values words.
BookSense 76 Selection
The ups and downs, joys and sorrows, and pitfalls of open adoption. The reader will empathize with each point of view. The characters are well developed and likable, and the story is compelling.
The Celebrity Cafe
Emotionally charged story about first love, resentment, self discovery, family and forgiveness. Deeply touching, honest and memorable.
The Washington Post - Carrie Brown
The success of Girls in Trouble is that it is both a page-turner and also a canny portrait of the trouble perfectly ordinary people can get into while trying to satisfy their perfectly ordinary needs for love and security and happiness. The pleasure of this novel, our enjoyment of it, comes from Leavitt's wisdom about the deep chasm of misfortune, her exploration of misfortune's steep slope and her recognition that climbing out of misfortune's pit, step by arduous step, requires a heroism that literature, with its capacity for rendering the elevated quality of ordinary experience, can portray so beautifully.
Leavitt's uneven but earnest eighth novel examines the emotional price a bright Massachusetts teen pays when she chooses open adoption for a baby she gives birth to at 16.
A sadly familiar tale by Leavitt, though ably written in a straightforward style likely to appeal to teenagers and their parents as well.
Booklist - Gillian Engberg
In this wrenching exploration of parent-child relationships, Leavitt captures the tensions and rhythms of family attachments--the unspoken language, the simmering resentments and sweet hopes, the blinding, protective love that can both damage and heal.
Library Journal - Nanci Milone Hill
This is a wonderful story of family relationships, the choices we make, and whom we can count on. Recommended for all public libraries.
Sandra Benitez — author of A Place Where the Sea Remembers and The Weight of All Things
A touching, heartfelt story showing that love can be a tangled journey
Gail Tsukiyama — author of Dreaming Water
The beauty of Caroline Leavitt's writing is in her flawless depiction of our human flaws. In Girls in Trouble, we ache for Sara, whose youthful decision will color the rest of her life--a poignant story of family and love, of what we lose, and sometimes, what we find again.
Elizabeth Strout — author of Amy and Isabelle
Heartfelt, filled with humanity, this story about the different forms of family bonds is a joy to read.
Kate Grenville — Orange Prize winning author of The Idea of Perfection
Kept me pinned to the page, swept along in an intense emotional journey with characters so real they seemed like friends. A beautifully written, moving and very wise book.
Laura Kasischke — author of The Life Before Her Eyes
Astonishing...there is a radiant joy that shines through it...a novel as rich and complex as it is meticulous.
Margot Livesey — author of Eva Moves the Furniture
What makes Caroline Leavitt's work so remarkable is her ability to conjure a whole range of disparate and difficult characters onto the page and to make us care deeply about each and all of them. Girls in Trouble is both utterly engrossing and richly satisfying.
Suzanne Beecher — Chapter-a-Day Bookclubs and Working Mother book columnist
Leavitt's heroine was pregnant at sixteen, and so was I....This book made me not only want to talk about what happened to me, but to claim it.
Abby Frucht — author of Polly's Ghost and Are You Mine?
Sara Rothman could be anybody's daughter...but her frank, warm, wise, gripping story, Girls in Trouble, could only be Caroline Leavitt's.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by R. Jewel
I love a novel that teaches me something and Caroline Leavitt has let us inside a world most of us would never know about--open adoption. And I loved that Sara, the heroine who got pregnant as a teenager, was an honor's student from an upper... Read More
Rated of 5
by S.L. B.
I see that I am the first to review this book so let me be careful in my words....this was not the greatest book ever written but it was good,very very good! Was it realistic? Probaly more than you think! the characters were written very real... Read More
Teen pregnancy rates in the U.S. declined nearly one-third between
1991 and 2000.
A congressional report estimates that, if the teen birth rate had not
declined between 1991 and 2002, 460,000 additional children would be
living in poverty and 1.2 million more children would have been born to
However, 820,000 teen girls still get pregnant in the USA each year.
1 in 3 girls get pregnant at least once before the age of 20.
Approximately 4% of 15-19 year olds have had a baby.
2 out of 3 teen mothers never finish high school.
The federal government spends $40 billion a year helping families that
started with a teen birth.
Research shows that 90% of Americans value public libraries(Dec 11 2013) According to a survey by the Pew Research Center, about 90% of Americans aged 16 and older said that the closing of their local public library would have an...