Julia is a 17-year-old who, wild about her boyfriend Carter, gets pregnant by him. Her family supports her in keeping the child, finishing high school, and planning to continue her education at a local community college. Carter proposes marriage but Julia doesn’t want to get married because they “have to.” He likewise stays involved and supportive. The little baby arrives (“Adele Cassandra”), and while Julia’s parents help and teach her, responsibility for Adele/Addie does fall on Julia, who begins to find her own way as a mom. Well, it’s hard on Julia, of course–she is shunned a bit by others, she must watch her former classmates go off to college and embark on new lives, and she chafes at being told what to do all the time by her parents (this, of course, would be happening even without the complications of teenage motherhood).
Her sister Cassandra (“Cassie”) is a competitive swimmer moving into the seventh grade. With all the hubbub over Julia’s situation, she finds herself feeling forgotten by the rest of the family. They don’t attend her swim meets, they don’t talk/listen with/to her so much, etc. Her friends’ parents don’t want their daughters hanging out around Julia, and slowly those relationships begin to change as well (again, some of this would no doubt have happened anyway).
Well, everyone is finding their way in this less-than-ideal and unplanned situation.
One night Julia takes Addie and ups sticks, running away. Cassie sees her through the window loading up the car, throws some belongings in a duffel bag, and runs downstairs to join them. They go on a fine little road trip. Julia gets some breathing space. Cassie re-bonds with her sister, with whom she had previously been very close. Addie gurgles and coos and embraces all that’s on offer. The sisters bring themselves to voice fears and resentments and restore good communication. After a week, Cassie is ready to go home and her parents arrange for her to fly back. Julie is not ready to go back and wanders a bit longer, though she eventually does come home. The trip does have consequences for Cassie, who is grounded briefly and loses some ground in her swimming training.
There is nothing objectionable in this book, which has the one good YA reading virtue of pointing out that no matter how loving and involved parents and other adults are, they don’t know everything and also make mistakes. Young and old, the characters display strengths and weaknesses and make progress in realizing their separate identities and capabilities.