Title: The Inconceivable Life of Quinn
Author: Marianna Baer
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: Abrams Books
Release Date: April 4th, 2017
Length: 376 pages
Source: Gifted to me by the lovely Jess at Gone with the Words
Quinn Cutler is sixteen and the daughter of a high-profile Brooklyn politician. She’s also pregnant, a crisis made infinitely more shocking by the fact that she has no memory of ever having sex. Before Quinn can solve this deeply troubling mystery, her story becomes public. Rumors spread, jeopardizing her reputation, her relationship with a boyfriend she adores, and her father’s campaign for Congress. Religious fanatics gather at the Cutlers’ home, believing Quinn is a virgin, pregnant with the next messiah. Quinn’s desperate search for answers uncovers lies and family secrets—strange, possibly supernatural ones. Might she, in fact, be a virgin?
The premise of this book is why it was on my to-read list (and my wishlist- thanks, Jess!) Teenage virgin gets pregnant with no memory of it- there are so many possibilities to explore. I was hoping for magical realism (a la Sarah Addison Allen’s Garden Spells) or surprise scifi.
My overall impression of this book is: meh.
The high points:
- Quinn’s assumptions and questions felt realistic. She doesn’t shy away from the why, but tries to uncover it through her memories (including wondering if she could’ve been raped and not remember it).
- Jesse handles the situation in a believable way (teenage male pride being what it is).
- The actual hero of the book makes a choice that sacrifices her family and comfort, which gave it the gravity it needed (even though it was a small choice).
- Any time a place is associated with some local magical mythology, I’m a fan. Especially an island.
The low points:
- Quinn’s father comes across as villainous, and her mother comes across as saintly, rather than both parents being complicated human beings.
- Quinn’s siblings felt half-developed, mostly there to be plot points.
- Quinn herself had moments of realistic behavior (see above) but her voice felt wooden and forced.
- Quinn’s memories are told to us, not shown- she we’re divorced from any emotional sympathy with her for any of it, which makes it difficult to care about what’s happening to her.
- The tension is very inconsistent.
It’s a quick read that doesn’t ask you to invest much, so take that as you will.
I’m a coffee-fueled, hobby-addicted bibliophage who makes cruelty-free mineral eye shadows (inspired by novels). I’m usually in front of a screen (writing, reading, or gaming), but I’ve been known to emerge for geekery, good food, and dark chocolate.