Arthur A Levine Books
Engaged & Underage on MTV. Ever heard of it? For those of you not interested in reality TV shows or MTV, Engaged & Underage is a show featuring young couples getting married. As soon as I picked up I Now Pronounce You Someone Else, I was reminded of the show.
Bronwen is your typical teenager–in fact, she’s a pretty good girl. She gets good grades and respects herself. In fact, she breaks up with her high school boyfriend when he tries to pressure her into having sex on prom night. However, Bronwen’s home life leaves much to be desired. Her father died when she was young and while she initially got along with her stepfather, their relationship took a nosedive when Bronwen became a teenager. And her mother . . . don’t get me started! Bronwen’s mother is the most distracted, disillusioned mother I’ve read in a novel in recent years. The issues at home causes Bronwen to create the personae of Phoebe Lillywhite. Bronwen fantasizes that she was born into the Lillywhite family but switched at birth–this helps her explain away the differences she has from her family.
Bronwen’s average life changes drastically when she meets Jared Sondervan. Jared is a senior in college, while Bronwen is a senior in high school. The two have a whirlwind summer romance and fall deeply in love. It is unlike any relationship Bronwen has been in, and she is convinced Jared is the one for her, so when Jared proposes, Bronwen says yes without hesitation. Although they promise a long engagement, the two quickly decide to get married the following August just one year later. Suddenly, Bronwen’s senior year is filled with wedding plans.
The premise kind of seems a little much–I was afraid I would be irritated by Bronwen’s mature decisions given her age. How believable is it for a teenager to actually be getting married? Well, I will tell you I read this book in 24 hours. I never felt any disbelief–Bronwen was actually a very logical, self assured person. I felt that the figures in her life–her parents and her best friend–responded the way you would expect. They were discouraging and felt Bronwen was too young.
I know people get married young and their marriages work out, but it is not an ideal situation. I wanted Bronwen to enjoy her senior year and go to college. Instead of going about her college career as she had planned by living in the dorms, she plans to live with Jared. In fact, she doesn’t even go to her senior prom because she feels like she is too adult for that now. I felt like she was throwing her youth away.
I have been skeptical of YA recently, being much more likely to skip over YA titles. YA fiction can be very worthwhile, but I was starting to get bored by it. Based on my reluctance to read YA fiction, I was afraid I would dislike this one from the start. My reaction was the exact opposite though. I Now Pronounce You Someone Else was refreshing and a great summer read. I wish I had saved it and read it poolside.
Please check back tomorrow for my Q&A with Erin McCahan, author of I Now Pronounce You Someone Else!
I borrowed this book from my mom.