SheWunders's Reviews > Unraveling

Unraveling by Michelle Baldini
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Aug 24, 08

bookshelves: 2008-08, ya-childrens_lit
Read in August, 2008

Unraveling is the story of Amanda, a very normal fifteen year old sophomore, who is struggling; struggling with her mother, her friends, her family, and her sexuality. At fifteen that’s status quo.

Amanda makes some poor choices and ends up losing her virginity to a guy (Rick) who doesn’t care about her and is only using her. Again, status quo. Well, maybe not status quo, but it happens more than it should.

Amanda is faced with moving on, repairing herself, and healing broken relationships.

I thought I’d hate this book and truly I don’t know if I do. I guess the jury is still out, but it did bring back some teenage emotions of old.

Amanda: “Why is the first time such a big deal?” I asked. The word deal hung in the air.
Aunt Jen: “Every time is a big deal, really. I guess it’s just that once you lose your virginity, that’s it; you don’t own it anymore.”
Amanda: “Own it?”
Aunt Jen: “I mean it’s really one of the first times as a young adult you can control, or really decide when you go through a certain rite of passage…”

Errr... wow... "Own it?" Aunt Jen is speaking from experience here and her emotions and intentions are valid, but "own it?" Is love (and the physical act of love - sex) something to be owned? Is it a possession that can never be returned? No, love can be returned and many times fold. You can never have another "first time," but you can receive the love you give. I just think ownership sends the wrong message. Besides there's always a "first time" for everything. But I stand behind Aunt Jen's statement, "Every time is a big deal, really." That's true. Every time is a big deal and it should be.

Amanda describes her first sexual encounter - "Just as I was floating, reality a million miles away, he was done. Over and out. Message delivered, mission accomplished, line disconnected." And that was it. Rick said a handful of words to Amanda after that and their relationship was over. Done. Ouch.

Let’s get this out of the way – not all guys who deflower girls are using A-holes. I’m going out on a limb to say that normal guys are quite normal about sex, but Rick isn’t normal. He’s 100% Grade-A jerk, thus explaining Amanda’s emotional upheaval. This shouldn't happen, but it does. A cautionary tale? You bet.

I guess what I'm trying to say here (after much rambling) is that for a YA coming-of-age novel Unraveling is a bit over the top. I think it's a cautionary tale that sends both the right and wrong message.

Right message - Share your love (emotional and physical) wisely. When you invest in a person and love them you always leave yourself open. You can choose who you love. Choose with your head and heart. And even after hurt you can still choose - everything.

Wrong message - Losing your virginity to someone gives them ownership. You are still you and you still get to choose. I think Amanda gets that right in the end.
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