Reviewed by Tori
Screwed by Laurie Plissner is a modern YA version of Cinderella. That is, if Cinderella had gotten pregnant, her parents were the evil ones, and she learns that her original Prince Charming is a jerk. Grace, our Cinderella, is a parent’s dream child. A straight A student with the world at her feet, one bad decision places her life on a far different course than she ever imagined. She succombs to a popular boy’s attentions and ends up pregnant after she loses her virginity in the backseat of his SUV. When she finds out she’s pregnant, both the father and her uber religious parents push her towards an abortion. Grace decides to have the baby and suddenly finds herself kicked out of her house with only a hand full of trash bags filled with all her possessions. Grace is saved when her extremely rich next door neighbor, her fairy godmother, swoops in to save the day. She brings Grace into her home and provides the support Grace’s parents should have provided. As Grace struggles to deal with her parent’s abandonment, the judgemental tone of the town, and the changes to her body; she learns that strength comes from within and the only one she has to answer to is herself.
Screwed is not a bad book. The writing itself is decent. There was potential for this story to be an emotionally gripping YA that deals with teen pregnancy and the consequences we are forced to face from choices made. Unfortunately, the story doesn’t deliver that. Instead we get a watered down, cliche riddled fairy tale whose extreme linear storyline leaves nothing to the imagination. It’s boring. Characters are drawn as caricatures, prone to over exaggerated reactions. A third party omniscient narration gives us choppy repetitive dialogue throughout the book. We see no real plot twists or character growth. Our heroine, Grace, never really faces any adversity for her problem(s) because she is saved from the get go. She always has someone there that validates her choices. She is even given a secondary romance, the extreme opposite of her baby daddy, to show her that good guys do exist. The only person who seems to question Grace’s choices and offer any commentary is her bff, Jennifer. Jennifer is a brash young lady who we are repeated told is beautiful but dateless because of her lack of social boundaries. She says it like it is and apparently that is a no-no in this town. Of everyone in the book, I like Jen the best. She is the only one who seems able to break from the author’s stereotyping and become a defined character.
The antagonists of the story are weak figures who are randomly injected into the story and are shown in an extreme unflattering light to ensure we dislike them. I found Grace’s parents to be ridiculous in their actions. To be so religiously conservative but have no qualms about trying to force an abortion on their daughter? I was puzzled that no conversations were held with the minister of their church. I would assume both Grace and her parents would have sought spiritual guidance if they were that ingrained in their church’s doctrine.
Nick the baby daddy, was rarely seen and no evidence was granted in order to provide a solid explanation as to why a supposedly smart girl like Grace would ever sleep with him, much less even go out with him. They called him the “pussy whisperer” for goodness sake. The first time we meet him, this “supposed” all american jock on a lake dock with a joint in one hand and his other hand down a girl’s bathing suit top. Grace is asked continuously throughout the book as to the attraction and even she can’t tell us what the attraction was. He’s let off the responsibility hook early on.
The ending is indeed a fairy tale ending as everything falls into place for Grace and she is once again spared any true emotional life choices. As I stated earlier, Screwed isn’t a bad book but it’s not a realistic book. Any teen who may be facing a similar problem is not going to gain any real life knowledge or perspective from this book when dealing with the consequences of an unplanned teen pregnancy. Not everyone has a billionaire fairy godmother or a perfect prince charming waiting in the wings to make their lives magically better.
Overall Rating: D