The First Part Last by Angela Johnson
New York Simon & Schuster 2003 131p.
2004 Printz Award Realistic Fiction
Angela Johnson, author of The First Part Last, tells this story in alternating chapters. One chapter tells of what is going on right now and the next one looking back on how it was then, before baby Feather came into being. This is a heartwarming story about two high school students Bobby and Nia who make a decision to have unprotected sex and end up being pregnant. The story is told in first person by Bobby, a 16 year old inner city boy, as he recounts about his carefree life before baby Feather and now the sleepless, anxious days of juggling school and Feather.
In this short and easy to read novel, Bobby tells of the everyday struggles with wanting to still be a teen, the ups and downs of pregnancy, telling their parents, and what he thinks is the ultimate decision of trying to decide if they should give the baby up for adoption. Teen readers will find this book realistic and insightful. They will feel compassion as the ultimate decision that Bobby really makes is to keep baby Feather and bring her up as a single father. Bobby shows his vulnerability but he remains a strong character as he develops a loving relationship with this new person that belongs only to him.
Teen realistic fiction readers find this book worthwhile as it deals with teen relationships, inner-city life, love, parents and becoming a teen parent.
Cover Art: This cover art will interest realistic fiction readers as you see a teenage boy with a look of uncertainty as he holds a baby in his arms.
5Q 4P J & S Lexile 790
Awards: 2004 Printz, 2004 Coretta Scott King
Extended Learning: Use with Life Changing Event Unit.
Website with Author Information: http://www.visitingauthors.com/authors/johnson_angela/johnson_angela_bio.html