Choices by Katrina L. Burchett 2007
IQ “It was sad to her she was judged so harshly for making responsible choices while her peers, who were making irresponsible choices without considering the consequences, were supposedly cool.” Bridgette
Choices tells the stories of five teenage girls and how big a role sex plays in their lives. All of the girls are Christians except Angel (although at times you couldn’t tell any of them were Christians). Shauntice’s father abuses her mother, but she still has a strong faith. Terry is interested in her, but she’s afraid to trust him, thinking all guys only want one thing and could very well likely turn out to be abusive. Angel’s mom is a workaholic, she doesn’t believe in God and she has no idea where her father is. She’s been having sex since thirteen and sleeps with many different guys. LaKeeta purposely becomes pregnant. Bridgette practices abstinence. Hope has a strict mother who hasn’t taught her anything about sex.
My favorite character was Hope. Actually, it should be rephrased as the ‘character I didn’t mind’. All the other characters bothered me immensely; therefore I didn’t have a favorite. Hope’s mother won’t allow her to watch TV, go to parties, hang out with her friends, drive or do anything else fun. All Hope does is go to school, come home and go to church. Her mom buys all her clothes and they’re plain and unflattering. I don’t know how Hope put up with her mom for as long as she did, because I would have gone crazy. Her mother was just cruel sometimes, but mostly she was just oblivious to the pain she was causing her daughter. Her husband tried to help Hope out and speak to his wife, but she ignored him. I think the dad could have tried a little harder. Also her story was the one I’m most curious about. Choices is going to be a trilogy and I want to know what happens between her and her mother.
LaKeeta wasn’t that bad of a character, I just thought she made a silly mistake. She gets pregnant on purpose, but it never explains why all that clearly. I think if it was explained better, I might have felt sympathy for her and liked her better, but it’s not so I don’t. Also she whines about pregnant and it’s annoying because it’s her own fault. I do what to find out about what’s going between her and the father of her child. LaKeeta’s very cagey about him, we know who it is, but we don’t know why he’s not around (it seems like he wants to be, but LaKeeta doesn’t want his help). She’s a very sincere Christian though and seems like a good friend.
Shauntice was a nice character, but I just wanted her to stop running away from Terry. He clearly liked her and proved to her countless times that he cares about her. I’m indifferent to seeing her story continue as I think you can tell what happened based on the ending. She taught me something though; she kept her faith even though her father was an abusive alcoholic. I can barely keep my faith and I’m not going through anything nearly as tough. I admire her for that.
Angel drove me crazy. The guy she slept with (Randy) treated her like dirt, and she kept going back to him. To top it all off, they don’t even use protection. Also, she was best friends with Shauntice who had told her that mother was abused. She should know the signs since her best friend has told her stories about it! But at the same time, she made good points. She wasn’t a Christian and she was always calling out so-called Christians when they weren’t acting Christ-like, which I applaud.
Bridgette was my least favorite character. To me she embodies what is wrong with certain Christians today. She was judgmental and had a holier-than-thou attitude which I detested. I could care less about what happens in her story.
My main problem with this book was at times I felt it was too preachy. I’m not sure if that was because the teens were mostly very religious or if it’s just me. I also think there were too many details that were inconsequential. Descriptions of clothes, rooms and houses, that didn’t add anything to the story. I would recommend this book to all teens, even if you aren’t a Christian because I think some of the stories are very interesting and don’t get told as often (Hope’s and LaKeeta’s stories, everyone else’s is a bit of a cliché). And ultimately, I think the topic of sex in books is just so overplayed, that Choices could have been better if it was more original and offered a fresh, new perspective instead if reiterating the same stories and consequences. I’m not sure if I would buy the next book in this trilogy, but I would check it out of the library, because I do want to know what happens to some of the teens. Some of the endings are tidy, while others clearly leave an opening for the next book.
Disclosure: I received 2 copies of this book from the author. Thanks Ms. Burchett!