Kids Book Review: Lucy Unstrung

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Lucy Unstrung
Tundra Books
Age 8-12, 13-18
240 Pages
written by Carole Lazar

Synopsis from Tundra Books:

Teens who get pregnant and raise their babies are often in the news. But what about those children who are growing up with parents scarcely half a generation older than themselves? In this wise and funny first novel by Carole Lazar, Lucy is a sensible, perhaps even rigid, thirteen year old who is convinced that Grandma, God, and the Catholic Church are on her side. She tries hard to make her twenty-eight-year-old mother see the error of her ways. It’s not that her mother is wild – in their household even a fancy coffee causes a scene – but she has had to put off her own teenage years and she’s chaffing at the restraints on her life. Lucy is faced with the loss of her family, her home, her school, and even her best friend. As she struggles to preserve what she can from her past life, she finds that while Grandma, God, and her church are still there for her, there are problems she has to solve for herself.

I liked the book Lucy Unstrung for two reasons: the catholic influence on Lucy and the relationship with her mother who, although older than her, is still trying to live her youth.

Okay, first to clarify the catholic influence part. Being Catholic and raising my own kids catholic, I often wonder how my kids will integrate religion in their lives. Lucy is at a turning point where she starts to question, not her faith, but the emphasis she’s put on it to make her decisions. It’s become a bit of a security blanket for her and when she’s removed from that blanket (attendng a public school, her parent’s seperation), she discovers that some things she has to sort out on her own and that a prayer won’t solve everything.

The relationship between Lucy and her mother is another great aspect of the book. The topic of teen pregnancy isn’t new but Lucy Unstrung looks at life down the road, after early motherhood. As Lucy’s mother seems to revert back to her youth, trying to recapture moments she feels she’s missed from having Lucy so young; Lucy is put in a potion of playing the adult, questioning her moms behaviour and trying to sort out how best to handle her family’s situation. Both Lucy and her mother discover some realities they weren’t expecting and it’s only by talking and working together they build a new life.

Lucy Unstrung offers the underlying message that making the right decisions on what you wear and do, who you hangout with, can impact not only your future but that of your kids. Although the book deals with the issue of a child from a teen pregnancy, Lucy Unstrung is also a good book dealing with a daughter’s relationship with her mother as well as the balancing of childhood and nearing adulthood that preteens go through.

You can add Lucy Unstrung to your personal library by visiting your local book store or visiting Tundra Books. Visit our Kid’s Books section for other great book recommendations. What are you reading with your kids?

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