Hanging on to Max
by Margaret Bechard

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When Brittany announced that she was giving the baby up for adoption, Sam, not even sure why, decided that he was going to raise the baby on his own. His widowed father is not thrilled but begrudgingly agrees to support Sam and baby Max, until Sam graduates high school and gets a job. However, Samís dad agrees to only give financial support and that Sam must work after high school. Sam then transfers high schools to an alternative school that provides a day care for its students with babies. He also befriends Claire, another single parent who adores her daughter, Emily. Together, the two study for the SATís, although Sam knows that college really canít enter into his future. When a teacher encourages Sam to pursue his studies and a minor accident lands Max in the hospital, Sam begins to think about what is best for both him and Max.

This is both an uplifting and sad book on the topic of teenage parenthood. Having Claire as a contrast to Sam is a good way of pointing out how different every situation is. While Claire gets emotional support from her family, Sam is pretty much alone. Readers also get to learn about other similar situations through Samís classmates. Various flashbacks to Samís life with Brittany, and his motherís death help to round out Samís story a bit better.

While the ending is realistic, it seems to come out of nowhere. The epilogue is reassuring that Sam made the right decision, although it leads one to wonder when the story itself takes place. The epilogue is set about nineteen years after the ending. The book, however, does not appear as if it takes place nearly two decades ago. Despite these confusions, the book is another good book for Young Adults on the subject of teen parenting.

For another book about boys as single fathers, try The First Part Last by Angela Johnson.

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