Rhonda was sure she had absolutely nothing in common with her classmate Sarah Gamble. Sarah was pretty and popular - a prep school cheerleader with perfect teeth. Rhonda, on the other hand, was clumsy and overweight - a prep school nerd who had taken the SAT exam four times already. But when Sarah suddenly shows up at the West Columbia Community Center to get Rhonda to tutor her in trigonometry, Rhonda discovered that she and Sarah were more alike than she imagined.
Even though she doesn't like Sarah, Rhonda agrees to tutor her. One, she had a crush on Sarah's cute older brother, David. Two, she hoped to get a letter of recommendation from Sarah's mother, a judge on the South Carolina Supreme Court who had graduated from Georgia Tech, the college Rhonda wanted to attend. After a few hours of tutoring, it didn't take Rhonda long to figure out that Sarah was hiding a secret - she was pregnant!
Rhonda knew what Sarah was going through; she had been in the same situation herself a few years ago. Her father had pressured her to get an abortion, a decision she regretted to this day. Sarah's family isn't so understanding, however. When her mother and brother find out, they explode! Sarah's brother punches the baby's father. Sarah's mom (who knows about Rhonda's past) issues an ultimatum: convince my daughter to get an abortion like you did or you'll get no college letter of recommendation from me. No letter means no full-scholarship. Once again Rhonda the Rhombus is stuck with a tough decision to make.
With a title like My Life As a Rhombus
the probability of finding a clever math pun or two is about 84% (they appear at the end of the chapters). But chances are you'd never guess how well Varian Johnson, a male author, writes about a female main character struggling with teenage pregnancy. I think the author shows sensitivity to this controversial subject without taking sides. The recommended reading level is age 12 and up, but personally I think this book is more suited for older teens who can handle these tough issues.
For other book reviews about teen romance, try The First Part Last
by Angela Johnson (also about teen pregnancy) or Romiette and Julio
, a romance novel by Sharon Draper (see links below).