Lean on Me
by: Candy Crum
Publication: March 14, 2014
Length: 221 pages
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance
DISCLAIMER: Though this is a YA novel, it still contains violence, language, and other situations some may not be comfortable with.
When sixteen year old Briana Grace discovers that she's pregnant after only having sex one time with her emotionally and physically abusive boyfriend, Mike Rhodes, her life begins to twist and turn upside down. She discovers who truly loves her and who she can really trust. Her boyfriend turns on her and nearly kills her when she won't agree to an abortion. Bri has to fight for her life and that of her little girl. She struggles to learn how to turn her life around and rise above all the bad after the world turns against her when more and more people learn of her pregnancy. No matter what, there's one friend that she can count on through thick and thin. He has been her best friend since childhood and they've never seen anything more from their friendship... Until now. She must learn to trust her heart again so she can see the bright future with the one who’s been there all along.
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This was my first novel by Candy Crum. I was initially drew to it due to the subject matter. As a former teen mom, I wanted to see how she would handle a teen pregnancy. Boy, was I ever in for more than I expected!!
The story itself was well written and had wonderfully developed characters. This is one of those stories where someone asks you what it's about and you launch into a 10 minute speech of everything that happened and how emotional it was. Just ask my husband.. ha. He won't be asking me about books for a while.
I loved Briana. She is such a strong personality. Only 16 when she becomes pregnant, yet she has the force of will to stand up to her parents (who immediately disown her) and get herself out of an abusive situation. She is pretty much my hero.
And then we have Matt.. The best friend. Matt is the type of guy that we all want our daughters to fall for. Loving, responsible, always there to take care of Briana and protect her. He's pretty much perfect.
Oh the drama. This book surprised me with the sheer amount of various dramas that were put forth. Most authors focus on one specific drama and go from there.. Not our Candy.. She manages to tackle teen pregnancy, abusive relationships, finding love, abortion, difficult decisions and pregnancy complications. Any of these topics would have made for a wonderful story and IMO it takes a special author to be able to take on them all and write a novel that astounds the audience.
From the very beginning you will fall in love with Briana.. I did . You will most likely want to strangle her parents.. I did. You will hate Mike (abusive boyfriend) and spend lots of time wondering how justice will be served and cross your fingers that he gets what's coming to him. I am still amazed at the evil that is Mike. You will root endlessly for Matt and Briana to finally be together.. And towards the end, you will struggle with the decision that Matt must make and wonder if you would have made the same one..
As I said above, I believe that Candy managed to encompass many things in this book.. -Teaching us about teen pregnancy in a more realistic view- it's not all smiles.
-Teaching us about abusive relationships and how we should be strong and get out.
-Teaching us to be strong - like Briana- and stand up for what we believe in. No matter what.
- Teaching us (as parents) that we should support our children no matter what. Everyone makes mistakes.
In conclusion, I was deeply moved by this book. I recommend it for anyone who likes a good story. While it does tackle difficult situations, it is a wonderful young adult/new adult book. Initially when I saw that subject, I thought to myself - No way would I let me young adult reader be reading about pregnancy ect.. But there are no sex scenes and it's very clean in that regard.. I immediately had my teenager read it (she too fell in love).