Immaculate – Katelyn Detweiler – Viking Children’s – Published 26 May 2015
Mina is seventeen. A virgin. And pregnant.
Mina is top of her class, girlfriend to the most ambitious guy in school, able to reason and study her way through anything. But when she suddenly finds herself pregnant—despite having never had sex—her orderly world collapses. Almost nobody believes Mina’s claims of virginity. Her father assumes that her boyfriend is responsible; her boyfriend believes she must have cheated on him. As news of Mina’s story spreads, there are those who brand her a liar. There are those who brand her a heretic. And there are those who believe that miracles are possible—and that Mina’s unborn child could be the greatest miracle of all.
I’m not sure if I enjoyed this book or not. I think I’m sitting on somewhere in between. I found it interesting. It is certainly concept that captures your attention, but I did struggle with some aspects.
Firstly the writing style. I found this book to be a fairly slow read. There were sections of this book that felt long. During excessive and sometimes repetitive recountings I would find myself thinking, I know this already, we’ve covered this before. Also, there is a whole lot of introspection in this book. Not necessarily a bad thing, but sometimes I found there was just too much and it slowed the book down. The ending seemed abrupt in comparison to the rest of the book – a quick resolution, of sorts, that didn’t fit with the rest of the book. Although, I’m not sure how else it could have been handled, and it does work.And now to the plot itself. This storyline seems to have captured people’s attention – how will the topic of immaculate conception be handled? What angle with the author take? Well, this is not a retelling of the story of Mary, mother of Jesus. This book does not set out to prove the existence of God. The main character struggles with these questions herself and seems to settle on almost the opposite conclusion. Instead this book is about the reactions of Mina herself and the reactions of her friends, family and that of the wider community. It’s about choosing to believe in something, anything, even if you yourself are unsure about what that is. And ultimately, I hope that people find it’s about not casting judgement – not judging people for having faith and not harming others if they have a faith that differs from your own. Maybe that’s not what the author set out to achieve, but that’s what I took from it.Is this book sacrilegious? I can’t answer that. I think it’s important to remember that this book is filed under fiction. It’s a story, just like any tale about dragons, time travel, or a boy and a girl falling in love. It asks the question What if?The publishers provided a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Category: Young adult fiction.
Age guide: 14 and up.
Advisory: Some coarse language, sexual references, mature themes.
Themes: Pregnancy. Faith. Family and friendship. Bullying. Romance.
Published: 26 May 2015 by Viking Books.
Format: Hardcover and ebook. 464 pages.
Author’s website: Katelyn Detweiler.
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