Hanging On To Max by Margaret Bechard

Hanging on to Max“It’s Sam Pettigrew’s last year of high school. And he’s spending it figuring out how, at age seventeen, he is supposed to care for his baby son, Max. Max wasn’t part of the plan. He wasn’t even part of the backup plan. But he’s here now, and Sam is attending an alternative high school with other teen parents like himself. Talk about a wake-up call. But Sam is determined to make it work, to show everyone – his dad, his new girlfriend, himself – that he has what it takes to be a good dad. Trading footballs for diaper bags and college brochures for feeding schedules, Same gives fatherhood his best shot. Only no one told him it would be this hard. What if his best isn’t good enough?”

I read this novel back when I was in middle school and loved it. But reading it from a tween perspective and now in my early 20’s I’ve noticed that some of my thoughts about this book have changed. During my first read of it I found myself feeling sorry for Sam. He had such a hard time still being a kid and having to raise one as well. I never really did understand why he did what he did. I didn’t understand the reality of teen parenting because I never went through that myself, nor did any of my close friends. But now, I understand the hardships that Sam faced. His life truly was difficult. I still found myself tearing up while reading about those mountains he faced but I understood his character so much more. Honestly, I can’t even imagine having a child at my age right now and being able to support them. It really is important to have ones life in order before they bring another human being into the world. My mom was a teenage parent and this novel helped me see how hard it must have been for her as well. But luckily for her she was the Claire from this novel. Her family had her back and supported her in any decision that she made. For those of you who are teen parents I don’t know how you do it. Except that may God bless you! I’d highly recommend that teenagers, especially eight through even senior year, read this novel. It gives a great insight into how challenging it can be to raise a child and go to school.

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