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Fiction Reading

By Margaret Atwood


‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ by Margaret Atwood

“Atwood’s dystopian classic imagines a near-future world in which most people are sterile, and where a totalitarian theocracy has taken control of America. Marriage is pre-arranged, most women are not allowed to read or write, and all women must dress in specific clothing to show their station—whether wife, Aunt, Martha, or Handmaid. The titular Handmaids are fertile women who have somehow disobeyed the social or gender rules alone the way, and have therefore been forced into what is essentially reproductive slavery—their entire function is to bear children for the legitimate wives of men, via The Ceremony, which I won’t spoil for you by describing here. In fact, the men would like it if the Handmaids didn’t even look at anyone otherwise. And if you don’t fit into one of the prescribed categories of female, or if you refuse to follow the rules, or if you fail to conceive after two years? You’re declared an Unwoman, and banished to the dangerous outskirts, never to be heard from again. Though honestly, that might be better.” – Lithub, 10 Dystopian Novels to Inspire You to Fight for Your Reproductive Freedoms

By Bonnie Pipkin


‘Aftercare Instructions’ by Bonnie Pipkin

“Pipkin doesn’t shy away from hard topics in this novel, tackling both family addiction and abortion, and the character’s journey feels authentic and the story leaves you feeling raw.

But it’s the structure of the novel that really impressed me. The story begins with Genesis in Planned Parenthood, abandoned by her boyfriend. Scenes after her abortion are written in the form of aftercare instructions, and flashbacks to how she ended up making this choice are structured as a three act play. Neither feels gimmicky.

Genesis is such a strong but vulnerable character, and she is navigating friendship and first love and family drama and while she struggles, she perseveres.” – Librarian Style, Young Adult Novels about Reproductive Rights

By Sharon Biggs Waller


‘Girls on the Verge’ by Sharon Biggs Waller

“This new and very timely release is the story of Camille, who unexpectedly ends up pregnant after the first time she has (very bad) sex and is forced to give up her summer at an elite drama workshop to go on a road trip to access an abortion.

While chronicling the challenges a young woman faces when trying to end an unwanted pregnancy, it’s also about navigating friendship. Camille’s best friend is religious and struggles to accept Camille’s choice, but ultimately supports her. An unexpected new friend, Annabelle, supports and helps without judgement.

This book is maddening, heartbreaking, and eye-opening. Though I never had to go on a 600 mile road trip to help a friend get an abortion, I hadn’t read something that reminded me how important and complicated friendship was a teenager.” – Librarian Style, Young Adult Novels about Reproductive Rights

By Louise Erdrich


‘Future Home of the Living God’ by Louise Erdrich

“Though not strictly YA, Erdrich’s latest is a New York Times Notable Book of 2017 and deserves a widespread audience. In this speculative reality, pregnant women are criminalized, hunted, and oppressed because the babies they’re carrying appear to be victims of reverse evolution. In fact, time itself seems to be running backward, and Cedar Hawk Songmaker, born to an Ojibwe mother and raised by progressive adopted parents in Minneapolis, is caught in the middle of extreme circumstances. Bestseller Erdrich, who is half-Ojibwe, continues her tradition of writing thoughtful portrayals of Native American life.” – Barnes and Noble, 7 YA Books About Reproductive Rights

By Megan McCafferty


‘Bumped’ and ‘Thumped’ by Megan McCafferty

“Another suspenseful duology that depicts teenage girls entering into “contracts” with adults, this futuristic series in which everyone over the age of eighteen is infertile centers on sixteen-year-old twins Melody and Harmony, who were separated at birth but now find their lives suddenly intertwined. Melody has accepted, and possibly embraced, her fate as a surrogate baby incubator for a wealthy couple. After all, baby bumps are super popular. Harmony, on the other hand, wears a veil just like all the other Church Girls raised in the Goodside community. She’s been taught that “pregging for profit” is a sin, and she’s determined to put her sister on the right path for the next life. A satirical, surprising, and engaging read.” – Barnes and Noble, 7 YA Books About Reproductive Rights


“Teenage girls already think they’re the most important people in the world, but hey, get a virus to make everyone over 18 infertile and they sort of will be. Then birth control will become illegal, teenagers will be coerced and paid to carry babies for adult women, and young girls will (continue to) be told that their sole purpose is breeding. Like, OMG.” – Lithub, 10 Dystopian Novels to Inspire You to Fight for Your Reproductive Freedoms

By Rita Williams Garcia


‘Like Sisters on the Homefront’ by Rita Williams Garcia


“Whip-smart and obstinate, fourteen-year-old Gayle, a city kid, is already raising a baby boy when she becomes pregnant a second time. Gayle’s mom decides a change of scenery is in order and packs Gayle off to Georgia to live with family. Swapping Jamaica, New York, for the Deep South is a tough sell for Gayle, especially considering her uncle, aunt, cousin, and great-grandmother are religious, strict, and, to Gayle’s mind, hopelessly naïve. She resents being uprooted until she slowly comes to realize the point of the move is to discover her roots. It’s easy to see why Garcia has won the Newbery, Coretta Scott King, Scott O’Dell, and PEN/Norma Klein awards—her books sing.” -- Barnes and Noble, 7 YA Books About Reproductive Rights

By Jodi Picoult


‘A Spark of Light’ by Jodi Picoult

“The warm fall day starts like any other at the Center—a women’s reproductive health services clinic—its staff offering care to anyone who passes through its doors. Then, in late morning, a desperate and distraught gunman bursts in and opens fire, taking all inside hostage.

After rushing to the scene, Hugh McElroy, a police hostage negotiator, sets up a perimeter and begins making a plan to communicate with the gunman. As his phone vibrates with incoming text messages he glances at it and, to his horror, finds out that his fifteen-year-old daughter, Wren, is inside the clinic.

But Wren is not alone. She will share the next and tensest few hours of her young life with a cast of unforgettable characters: A nurse who calms her own panic in order save the life of a wounded woman. A doctor who does his work not in spite of his faith but because of it, and who will find that faith tested as never before. A pro-life protester disguised as a patient, who now stands in the cross hairs of the same rage she herself has felt. A young woman who has come to terminate her pregnancy. And the disturbed individual himself, vowing to be heard.

Told in a daring and enthralling narrative structure that counts backward through the hours of the standoff, this is a story that traces its way back to what brought each of these very different individuals to the same place on this fateful day.

Jodi Picoult—one of the most fearless writers of our time—tackles a complicated issue in this gripping and nuanced novel. How do we balance the rights of pregnant women with the rights of the unborn they carry? What does it mean to be a good parent? A Spark of Light will inspire debate, conversation . . . and, hopefully, understanding.” -- Goodreads

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