#Blogtour Aftercare Instructions by Bonnie Pipkin @bonnie_pipkin @Legend_Press

Aftercare Instructions hi-res - New

Aftercare Instructions by Bonnie Pipkin  Legend Press 

Troubled. That’s seventeen-year-old Gen according to her small New Jersey town. She finds refuge and stability in her relationship with her boyfriend, Peter, until he abandons her at a Planned Parenthood clinic during their appointment to terminate a pregnancy. The betrayal causes Gen to question everything. As Gen pushes herself forward to find her new identity without Peter, the flimsy story of their undying love
begins to unravel. But it’s when Gen lets go of her past, the one she thinks she knows, that she’s able to embrace the complicated, chaotic true story of her life.

My Review

Robin Wasserman, author of last years bestseller Girls on Fire describes Aftercare Instructions as  ‘A raw, riveting story of love and family and the strength to stay standing when both begin to crumble.’  This sentence brilliantly sums up the story of Genesis Johnson aged 17 and the aftermath of her abortion at Planned Parenthood. Abandoned by her boyfriend Peter, Genesis was expected to get herself home and just get on with it, but can anyone be normal after experiencing one of the most difficult days in their lives?

In Pipkin’s novel the answer is most definitely no. You see Genesis was no ordinary teenager. Her Mum suffers serious mental health issues, her father is dead, dying from a heroin overdose when she was very young and her younger sister resides with their Grandparents. Like so many teenagers today, Genesis is a carer, the parent rather than the child.

This is where Pipkin’s novel excels taking us to the very heart of Genesis. Her raw emotions as she stumbles out of the clinic leapt from the page, and I couldn’t help but feel my heartstrings being tugged at the utter desperation she felt at Peter’s abandonment.

As the reader I wanted to know how she got into this state and how or if she ever recovered.  Told in alternating chapters we had the present and in the other, a play script narrated the events that led up to the abortion. At once you could see both sides of Genesis’s character. The past, a happy Genesis discovering love for the first time, the present the harrowing struggles of a young teen. Her emotions and inner psyche are laid bare, the rawness shone through and Pipkin took me on a veritable emotional rollercoaster. The immense and uncensored detail were at times unsettling to read but totally in context, and extremely powerful and effective. Yet, it wasn’t all doom and gloom and Pipkin brilliantly balanced the utter depths of despair with glimmers of hope and renewal.

Genesis was supported by a veritable cast of characters that I both loved and disliked. Peter, the boyfriend was just hopeless and I really didn’t like him, finding him spineless and cowardly. I’m not really sure what I thought about Genesis’s Mum and her struggles with mental illness. Part of me felt huge empathy, another part felt frustrated that she was unable to support her daughter and to simply be her Mum and I am guessing this is how the author wanted me to feel.

Other characters play their part, in particular Seth who I loved for his boundless energy and positivity. I loved the way in which Pipkin used him as a means to show Genesis the possibilities that lay ahead for her, and accepted her for who she was, never expecting more than she was prepared to give.

The imagery and myriad descriptions are brilliant, both evocative and raw. The themes covered are presented in a realistic and non sensationalist manner, and would not be out of place in some teens life anywhere in the world. Classed as YA, I would certainly recommend to the older teens who visit my local library and its contemporary feel make it an excellent crossover novel.

It is is novel that will stay with me for a long time and I am so glad I took the plunge back into the YA genre.

Thank you to Imogen Harris and Legend Press for a copy to read and review and for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the  blogtour.

About the author

Bonnie Pipkin Author

Originally from California, Bonnie now lives in Brooklyn. She has an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts, teaches literature courses at Kean University, officiates weddings, and looks after a very cute cat. Aftercare Instructions is Bonnie’s first novel.
Follow Bonnie at ww.bonniepipkin.com

The Aftercare Instructions blogtour continues until May 15th, make sure to visit my fellow bloggers and find out their own thoughts on this wonderful novel.

aftercare instructions blog tour jpeg

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