Helen in Trouble

Wendy Sibbison

 "A 16-year-old girl's unexpected pregnancy leads her on a hero's journey in this 1963-set debut historical novel.
   “Waking up in a university library with her 18-year-old boyfriend, Quentin Caffrey, after a night of drunken, frat-house partying, prep schooler Helen Bird is panicked, and not just because she missed her chaperone's curfew. . . .Helen must soon face up to the truth: She's pregnant, and only an abortion can save her future. It requires the girl to find an inner determination she didn't know she had, reach out to a friend, trust strangers, and ask for help. Both in the process and its aftermath, these resources come through for her, allowing Helen to make rich connections with feminine strength and caring, finally breaking her and her family's walls of silence. . . .The author does a fine job of tying Helen's everyday life, during which she must hide every sign of her pregnancy, to the compelling archetypal elements in her experience. The correspondence is especially powerful when—emotionally and literally—the girl must make a tenebrous voyage to [a] rough, ill-lit neighborhood before reaching her destination's unexpected warmth.
   “A beautifully written, compassionate coming-of-age tale with subtle mythic overtones."
    --Kirkus Reviews (starred review)