Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 12
- Grade: 8 to 12
- Reading age: 12
Julia and Ruth have been unlikely best friends since they first met in Sunday school—Ruth was standing on the Bible-crafts table belting out "Jesus Loves Me." Now that they're a year away from graduation, they're putting the finishing touches on their getaway plans. But their dream of a funky big-city loft and rich, interesting older men is threatened when preacher's daughter Ruth goes to a wild party without studious Julia, and all hell breaks loose.
Ruth gets pregnant; Julia gets creative. Determined to support her friend and stay on track for life after high school, Julia comes up with a plan that will require all her intelligence, compassion, ingenuity and patience. Drawing on some great (and some not-so-great) works of literature, Julia proves that you can learn a lot just by opening up a book.
About the author
Sarah N. Harvey is the author of ten books for children and young adults. Some of her books have been translated into Korean, German and Slovenian, none of which she speaks or reads (although she is trying to learn Italian). Her novel The Lit Report has been optioned for a feature film. She will not be in it. Sarah lives and writes in Victoria, British Columbia, where one of her goals is to get her heels to the floor in downward-facing dog. Visit www.sarahnharvey.com for more information.
- Short-listed, Stellar Award nominee
- Commended, CCBC Best Books starred selection
- Short-listed, CLA Young Adult Book Award nominee
- Short-listed, Bolen Books Children’s Book Prize nominee
- Short-listed, BC Book Prize - Sheila A. Egoff Children's Literature Prize nominee
- Commended, OLA Best Bets
- Commended, Resource Links "The Year's Best"
Excerpt: The Lit Report (by (author) Sarah N. Harvey)
One of the great things about Ruth is that she has a moth-flame relationship with catastrophe...Another great thing is that she's really creative, and I'm really pragmatic, so between the two of us we can usually figure something out. I started with the facts. Ruth was pregnant.
"[A] hot-button book that mixes the platitudes of literature with the realities of daily teenage life."
"This is a funny, moving and realistic picture of the love the friends feel for each other - like sisters - and the faithful support and care the one shows for the other. There is a lot going on in this richly realized novel, and it is even more to the author's credit that there is as much laughter as tears and that the cast is so well considered and portrayed, human beings all."
"This is a wonderful story of two friends who find themselves on the cusp of adulthood when they are forced into growing up in a big hurry."
Pudgy Penguin Perusals
"Harvey depict[s] authentic relationships. She also reveals, quite wonderfully, the fluid line between family and friends. She opens us up to the joyous unpredictability of life. And through the example of Julia's mother, she demonstrates the transformative power of a gentle, adaptable faith."
The Globe and Mail
"An interesting view of teen (hidden) pregnancy, parental reaction and the misguided intentions of friendship...Highly recommended."
Tucson Unified School District
"Edgy, earthy - and filled with literary references...Julia is a wonderful character with her mixture of practical wisdom and intelligence and her naivete."
"Julia's eventful year is both insightful and funny... [a] thoughtful take on teen pregnancy made bearable by best-friend support."
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Harvey does a good job of capturing the voice of Julia, and Ruth is often a riot to read. The use of language actually spoken by teens...gives the book a realistic feel."
Quill & Quire
“A terrific story about a strong girl friendship...readers will be drawn into her story and will be satisfied with the conclusion. Highly recommended.”
"A refreshingly original alternative to many of the more angst-ridden teen problem novels."
Canadian Children's Book News
"A great friendship, good writing, and a unique story... definitely has teen appeal."
A Patchwork of Books blog
"An original novel of triumph and friendship. It is the kind of book that makes you read long into the night."
What If? Magazine
"A bitingly funny, page turning read. Harvey's characters are witty, graphic and well-rounded, throwing stereotypes out the window...High school age students will enjoy this lively story and its excellent dialogue."
The Bookmark (BCTLA)
"Readers will enjoy the story...[and] librarians will love the literary references."
Tri State Young Adult Book Review Committee
"The story is compelling and will likely appeal to readers. A little bit of drama, a little bit of romance, and a little bit of pop culture makes this book timely and entertaining."
"Laugh-out-loud portrait of a raucous and intelligent friendship being tested and forced to grow all at once. [Rated Excellent]."
The Lit ReportEngaging characters, a compelling plot and important themes blend seamlessly in this absorbing novel. The plot does not shy away from the gritty reality of teen sex, pregnancy, and motherhood. However, the author highlights the book’s broader themes including religious hypocrisy, the meaning of family and the development of personal responsibility by framing the story with literary references. Each chapter starts with the narrator quoting the opening line of a well-known book or play and then deftly weaving in its connection to the story. This novel is a great read for teens, sure to spark both thought and discussion on a wide range of personal and literary topics.
Caution: Includes references to sexual topics, pregnancy and birth that could be disturbing to some readers, it also includes frequent swearing. There is also a well-developed theme of religious hypocrisy.
Source: The Association of Book Publishers of BC. BC Books for BC Schools. 2009-2010.