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3.52  ·  Rating Details  ·  327 Ratings  ·  65 Reviews
In the same vein as her critically acclaimed debut novel, Upstate, Kalisha Buckhanon again shares an emotionally beautiful story about today's youth that magnifies the unforgettable power of hope and the human spirit.

Buckhanon takes us to Chicago, 1992, and into the life of fifteen-year old Shivana Montgomery, who believes all Black women wind up the same: single and rais

Hardcover, 274 pages
Published June 4th 2010 by Direct Brands Bargain (first published January 8th 2008)
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Mocha Girl
Oct 11, 2009 Mocha Girl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As the title implies, Kalisha Buckhanon's sophomoric offering, Conception, is nothing short of outstanding. Initially, I was truly concerned if she could deliver as strong and solid a follow-up to her hit debut Upstate - but with this second novel, she removes all doubt. She is truly a talented writer.

Buckhanon returns to familiar territory - the trials of adolescence set in 1992 on the South Side of Chicago where the story focuses on the unpopular, unpretty, undereducated, unmotivated 15-year-
May 17, 2009 Jamie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who love urban fiction, especially if they feel "guilty" about its literary quality
In 1992 Chicage, 15-year old Shivana gets pregnant by the married man upstairs. Then she meets 19-year old Rasul and it seems life might change for the better for both of them.

This is street lit meets literary fiction and both halves are successful. The chapters in which the unborn fetus talks about its previous conceptions might seem pretentious, but darned if it doesn't work to really build on African American history.

And the Ending! OMG the Ending!

I loved this book!

Gift booklist.
May 05, 2008 Yvette rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Teenage young girls
Story of 15 year old Shivana who finds her self accidentally pregnant. She shares her stress, fears and hardship of her new experience while seeking a resolution to this adult issue. It was a pretty insightful story with an unexpected ending
At the tender age of fifteen, Shivana already has her mind set on what the life of a black woman is. She thinks that eventually all black women get stuck in the losing battle of getting pregnant by a man that never sticks around. Shivana’s own mother has followed the same path so that’s all she’s ever known. Shivana is suddenly pushed into adulthood when she becomes pregnant by an older man. She now has to make a decision on whether or not to keep the baby. In this journey, Shivana also becomes ...more
Aug 18, 2008 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sad. Beautiful. Sad. Reminds me of my 5 years in Chicago, though unlike Shivana, the protagonist, I was on the white side of town-- noting the oft denied but clearly present segregation of the city for the first time when I got on the El on the wrong side of the track due to my lack of internal compass, only realizing I had done so when the last white person on the train was myself and I was being peered at by those who knew exactly where they were headed, wondering why I was still there. Ms. Bu ...more
Jan 26, 2013 Micah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library, fiction, black
This is a weird one. It's definitely the story of black girls in the 90s and the shit that goes through their lives. What I love is that this book could only be written by a black woman. It deals with intense subject matter in a way that only works if you're very familiar with what you're writing about. It deals in subtleties and actualities of life without falling into steretypes in any way. It's awesome. The weird thing is that large portion of this book that takes place from am unborn charact ...more
✟Sabrina Rutter✟
This book was and wasn't what I expected it to be (if that makes sense). I loved this book and couldn't put it down. The reason it doesn't have a five star rating from me is that at first it was a bit confusing. There is still one part I'm confused by but I can't get into it without giving an awesome part of this story away.
I love Buckhanon's writing! It's beautiful and the kind you want to take your time with. It's not long winded descriptions which I absolutely can't stand, it's almost like p
Jan 08, 2013 M. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very intense and dark book.
Sep 30, 2009 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance
I thoroughly enjoyed this author's debut adult novel, Upstate, so I was looking forward to reading this one. I loved it! Whoo-whoo for Kalisha Buckhanon! She creates wonderful urban romances. Realistic. I mean, I kept thinking, "these kids are stupid" as the character's actions unfolded. But, I kept reading and stayed up late to finish the book in one sitting.[return][return]The setting is Chicago in the early 1990's (and I loved the few music references) in the "almost" projects. Shivana has an ...more
Feb 17, 2009 Christina marked it as abandoned  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009-reads
In Conception, a fetus narrates her own history of reincarnation from within the womb while her potential teenage mother debates whether or not to have an abortion in Chicago during 1992. It’s an interesting premise, but the execution didn’t work for me. I would have preferred more of the teen mom’s day-in-the-life story than the fetus’s prose, albeit the fetus is more likable than the teenager, Shivana. Denial’s her best friend, and while I first I empathized with her, I quickly grew to hate he ...more
Feb 15, 2009 MMatchak rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
The story of 15-year-old Shivana who ends up pregnant to a married man. She wants to break out of the cycle of poverty and men leaving women and children behind that has plagued her family and her community. She meets 19-year-old Rasul who also dreams of making something out of himself and gives her hope that life doesn't have to be like that which she has known. Intertwined with Shivana's story is that of the soul she has conceived, a soul who has unsuccessfully tried to come to life three time ...more
Aug 18, 2008 Izzy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who wants to explore teenage pregnancy
Shelves: comsi-comsa
Conception by Kalisha Buckhanon, the author's second novel, opens with a first person narrative of the spirit that wants to enter the soul of fifteen-year-old Shivana Montgomery’s unborn child. It’s intriguing. It’s a device that will keep you reading if only for the clarity that Buckhanon shelves out with captivating language. “When the months crept on and I grew older inside Shivana than with any others in the past,” says the Spirit who narrates stories of the bodies it has inhabited before. T ...more
Apr 01, 2011 Tianna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"At least when somebody's suffocating, you can tell: you see their faces turn blue, their lips quiver, their eyes buck, and their throats jerk. But when a man is mentally packing his bags the suitcase is never out until he's already standing on the other side of the door." This book was about a teen girl named Shivana who gets pregnant in high school by her neighbor's husband. Shivana wasn't a wealthy girl her family didn't have a lot of money , she didn't really wear nice clothes and people at ...more
Jasmine Diaz
Mar 16, 2011 Jasmine Diaz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was about a girl named nakisha she is 15 yrs old and pregnant with a married mans baby who ends up in prison for selling dough. She runs away from home 2 times the 1st time was because she was scared that the wife was going to come after her and kill her so she ran away. She wanted to get an abortion badly because she lied to her mom and told her she wasnt pregnant then she ran away again and ended up going to a womens shelter were she had to go to church.. She and her new boyfriend wh ...more
Jul 07, 2008 Marnie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I would have given this book a better rating if it had a better ending. The writing was really good but the ending was horrible. Having the unborn baby tell parts of the story was a really original concept & I liked the baby's personality. I didnt like Shivana's personality though. She's a nasty person who has a lot of problems in her life. At the beginning she gets pregnant at 15 by a married 36-year-old drug dealer. I found myself getting angry about the people's problems in this book, bot ...more
May 09, 2008 Megan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: untrue
The book offers a glimpse into the life of a character whose life may seem strange to most, whose perspective is both raw and young. Living in the city with her mother in a small apartment, she is struggling to understand life, love, and self-worth while living in a hostile environment.

I'm reminded of "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn", as this is also a personal account of what it is like to grow up in an unforgiving city. The honesty and personality of the characters make this book very enjoyable to r
This is a story of a young black girl who gets knocked-up by the father of the kids she is baby sitting. But the book alternates between what is happening to her and what her unborn fetus (baby, what ever you what to say) has gone through though out history, trying to get born.

Honestly this book gave me the creeps and at the same times made me what to bash my head against the wall! This girl makes stupid mistake, after stupid mistake. You don't have sex as a teen, at the very least, not without
Mar 05, 2008 stacia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked it, but it took me a while to figure out that I liked it. It didn't immediately endear me like Buckhanon's first novel, "Upstate," did.

The main character in this one, Shivana, is really unlikeable. Once I got beyond that, though, I grudgingly invested in her struggles and her future... only to have something totally unexpected happen to her in the end. This twist is really the triumph of the story.

There's also the disembodied voice of an unborn child/fetus intercut between Shivana's cha
Damera Blincoe
Ok. I had originally wanted to add this title to my to-read books for our monthly book discussion group, but unfortunately we only had five copies in the system. Anyhoo. I've finally had a chance to read it and I'm truly glad that I did. This book was sad and tragic from the very beginning although the ending was quite not what I thought it would be. The main character Shivona is one that I feel a lot of teenage girls in her predicament can relate to. She is anxious and self-conscious and scared ...more
Anne-Marie Faiola
Expertly written 2/3rds (beginning/middle) and slightly rushed, odd, depressing ending but still a story that needs to be told; teen pregnancy and poverty.
A darkly difficult book in passages, but beautifully written and very compelling. The story follows Shivana, a 15 year old black girl from Chicago who ends up getting pregnant at the "hands" of a much older man, and has to manage her abject poverty, abusive mother, and damaged view of relationships while trying to deal with the unexpected and unwanted pregnancy. The plot also follows the story of her unborn child, and the other times the baby has been conceived and lost.

It's a well-told story th
Andrea Quinn
***SPOILER ALERT**I found this book strange. It was werid how the character's unborn baby had a voice of it's own. It told the story of how the unborn child had been trying to find life in previous mothers but somehow never made it (to be born) I guess it was creative. The ending was a WTF ending. I thought it would be all happy and end nice with the baby being born..but then SHE DIED WTF? Major plot twist! So now the baby never found a home and is going to have to wait to be "re-born" or "conci ...more
This tells the story of a girl who lives with her mother but they have nothing in common with each other so their relationship isn't that good. She has a job babysitting and the man of the household ends up trying to hit on her and she falls into the trap and gets pregnant by him. She knows her mother will never accept her so she turns to the person that she know will not turn her downs and that is her boyfriend rasul and her aunt jewel. She ends up running away with her boyfriend to go to newyo ...more
Sep 23, 2008 minta rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really wanted to like this book more but the ending was so horrible and kind of ruined it for me. I didn't like the baby's voice throughout the story - it was actually annoying. But there were a lot of parts where I enjoyed reading the book b/c the writing was so good. It was hard to relate to Shivana because seriously, she made so many poor choices. Granted, she is 15 years old and grew up in the semi-projects or whatever she calls it. At first i emphathized w/ her but then I was ...more
Ursula Shelton
Wow, it was a very interesting book. We must all keep in mind that life is about choices. Without giving away too much of the book, Shavanna fits into several roles; she's a daughter, a neice, a fried, a babysitter, a student, and as a young teen she's sleeping with her neighbor's husband. Shame, shame, shame. She's one of those teenage girls that know everything and finds herself in a situation she's not mature enough to handle. This may not be your type of book, but read it any way. I know tha ...more
Mar 21, 2009 Ejiro rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a real eye opener for me. I did not realize what hopelessness does to a group of people and how it is easy to turn a blind eye to it. It is always easy to judge someone, something in a second but when you delve past the surface you find that each person on this Earth is just going through their day, doing the best they can. This book is about a 15 year old girl, who finds herself pregnant by a drug dealing 36 year old man in the south side of Chicago. It also interestingly tells the tal ...more
Feb 19, 2008 Alexa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recently, everyone ahs been up in arms about pro-pregnancy books. This one is as well, albeit in an entirely different format where the soul of the baby gets to speak and recount the mothers he/she has passed through. In this iteration, she is inside Shivana, a fifteen year old black girl who lives in harsh circumstances on the South Side of Chicago. Shivana has a great voice, a very serious voice and her interactions with her mother make her a teenager. But overall she doesn't feel like a teena ...more
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May 05, 2012 Lorrie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary
Bravo, Kalisha!!! Your 2nd book is fabulous!! You have grown so much as an author. To speak in the two different voices/dialects (Shivana & the unborn spirit) was truly ingenious. Your artistic description of the kitchen curtains dancing as a young girls braids in the breeze....beautiful. This was just one example of your metaphors. I thought your plot idea was truly magnificent, and I really enjoyed this book. What a neat, beautiful idea!! The tragic, but then too many l ...more
Jan 09, 2016 Sam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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Kalisha Buckhanon's novels are Solemn, Conception and Upstate. Her short stories are widely published in many online and university print literary journals. Her articles and essays appear on several popular women’s blogs and cultural websites. Her writing awards include an American Library Association ALEX Award, Friends of American Writers Award, Illinois Arts Council Fellowship, and Terry McMill ...more
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“At least when somebody's suffocating, you can tell: you see their faces turn blue, their lips quiver, their eyes buck, and their throats jerk. But when a man is mentally packing his bags the suitcase is never out until he's already standing on the other side of the door.” 5 likes
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