When on a visit to her friend Augusta in the USA, Megan, aged 14, joined ‘the Kissing Club’; she ‘became a professional virgin and also gave up telling lies’, but she found the first part easier than the second. So, in her A-level year, how did she become pregnant without even a boyfriend around? Her parents go into denial about the whole thing, leaving her with little support apart from the rather geeky Corey, and having to do a lot of growing-up before the arrival of the baby.
An awful lot of ‘issues’ surface in Clarke’s novel. Megan’s parents are highly ambitious for themselves and their daughter; in particular her mother is obsessive about weight-control, her own and her daughter’s. Megan’s favourite teacher has his own problems, and for a while a teacher-from-hell thinks he might be the father of Megan’s baby. Meanwhile, her Granny Blake who has a serious problem with drink and rackety living has a fall, necessitating a stay with Megan’s family. A few other dramas surface along the way too, but the core of the book revolves around mother/daughter relationships: Megan’s with her mother, and her mother’s with her own mother. Resolution is achieved rather simply; would that all alcoholics could be dried out as relatively quickly as Granny Blake, and tense, over-achieving mothers be unwound by a few drinks and a spot of salsa dancing. Nevertheless, this is a decent attempt to write about an unexpected teen pregnancy, and a few other matters too, in a way that tries to explore different sides of a question in a non-judgemental way.