When I first heard about Gaby Rodriguez, I just knew she would get a book deal and that I would purchase her book for my library. I was impressed that she not only chose to fake a pregnancy for her senior project but that she managed to pull it off until the scheduled reveal at the end of her “second trimester.” Even more impressive than her skill at pulling off this elaborate ruse, though, was her reason for doing this project. Gaby grew up in a community where teen pregnancy was very common. In fact, her own mother and seven older siblings had all become parents as teens. Gaby decided to pretend to “live down to” people’s expectations to raise awareness of the way our culture reacts to teen pregnancy and treats the parents-to-be. In order to get the most accurate results from this experiment, Gaby had to keep her project secret from all but a few people in her life. The only people who knew the truth were her mother, her boyfriend, one of her best friends [who would report back about the reactions of teachers and students], one sister [who would report back about the reactions of family members], and some school administrators who had to approve the project.
It was amazing [albeit disheartening] to read about how quickly people changed their opinions of Gaby. While she was still in the top 5% of her class, and she still belonged to two leadership organizations, many people automatically assumed her life was ruined as soon as they heard she was pregnant. Based on all of the negative attention her boyfriend, Jorge, received, Gaby also came to understand why so many teen dads take off. Being physically able to run away from a situation that everyone assures you will “ruin your life” certainly sounds like an understandable response to me. This book is a good way to get a conversation started about how we, as a society, can do better to prevent teen pregnancy and also how we can better support teen parents so they provide themselves and their children with a better life — and hopefully help their own children break the cycle of teen pregnancy.