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*****= An all-time favorite
****  = Outstanding
***    = Above average
**      = Enjoyable
*        = Good, with reservations


***Hanging On To Max

by Margaret Bechard

Reviewed June 1, 2002.
Roaring Brook Press, 2002.

I liked this book.  Hanging On To Max is the story of a seventeen-year-old father who’s trying to finish high school and bring up his baby son.  The story is told in the first person, with humor and compassion.

Sam has to deal with normal senior in high school issues while at the same time trying to get enough sleep and remembering to buy diapers.  I laughed when he talked about how everyone’s always trying to give him advice.  Little did he know that people in the world consider walking around with a baby the same thing as a carrying a sign saying, “I need advice!”  When a teenage mother tells him he should buy diapers at Target because they’re cheaper and cuter he feels like he can’t even buy diapers right!

Sam’s mother died when he was in fourth grade, so it’s up to him and his father to bring up Max.  Normally, I don’t like novels written in the present tense.  This one actually used present tense chapters to show us important events in Sam’s past.  The device worked well and helped the reader understand which parts were flashbacks.

I hope that people won’t just treat this book like a cautionary tale or a Book About an Issue.  It’s a good story about delightful characters.  I enjoyed it thoroughly.
A reader named Andy commented:  "I loved this book, it talked about an issue that's not talked about a lot: teen pregnancy.  I loved this book because I could relate to it a lot."  He gives it five stars, an all-time favorite.


Copyright © 2003 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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