REVIEW: Freshman Forty by Christine Duval

July 6, 2013 Uncategorized 3

Freshman Forty 
by Christine Duval
Publication date: February 21st 2013
Genre: New Adult Contemporary


When eighteen-year-old Laurel Harris discovers she’s pregnant four weeks into the start of her freshman year at prestigious Colman College, she has all intentions of telling her father. But being away at school makes it too easy to hide. And while

she can’t explain to her friends, or to herself even, the reasons why she doesn’t want the baby’s father to find out about the pregnancy, the rest of her world begins to unravel.

Freshman year is hard enough. Most girls get through by forming close friendships, finding new boys and a phone call from mom or dad on Sunday. Laurel has to navigate all of it while hiding an unplanned pregnancy from a summer fling…

An imperfect heroine plagued by bad choices and haunted by the memory of her deceased mother and grandparents, readers are sure to identify with Laurel as she navigates teen pregnancy, in secret, in a remote college setting

New Adult Addiction
New Adult Addiction

Freshman Forty was a nice surprise and a totally refreshing departure from the typical fare in the new adult genre.  I’ve read a lot of new adult books over the past year and one thing I noticed that was missing was the pregnant girls!  Well, Freshman Forty fills that niche, because as soon as Laurel Harris start her freshman year at college she finds out she’s pregnant.

Laurel handles it pretty much the way most eighteen year old pregnant girls would – denial.  Sure, she does go to the doctor (for most of her pregnancy), but she never really takes full responsibility for the predicament she finds herself in.

I loved how Christine Duval perfectly captured the fear and uncertainty of being a young unwed mother-to-be.  Laurel experienced all the typical emotions such as being afraid to tell her father and the baby’s father what was happening, her struggle with the possibility of getting an abortion, not having any friends who could relate to what she was going through, and being rejected by a guy she was beginning to like.

I really felt for her struggle, especially when she had some medical complications – it was very emotional and made for a nail-biting read near the end.

So really, this book is like getting inside Laurel’s head and taking this pregnancy journey with her.  And she does conquer almost all her issues, although I think she waits a little too long to really grasp the fact that there are more people involved in this than just herself

One of the major conflicts in the book is Laurel’s relationship with her father. I thought this was very believable and really made her life more difficult than it might have been had her father taken more interest in her. Add in the fact that he’s starting his life over (after her mother’s death years before) and the new girlfriend is about to become the new wife (and more) to Laurel’s father, and her sadness, insecurities, and fears all become heightened.

There was really the only one major issue that made me question Laurel and that’s her non-existent talk with the father.  Laurel completely disregards the baby’s father.  In fact, she has almost zero guilt about the fact that she’s making decisions about a life without the input of the father.  But, she does rationalize it by admitting that she’s just trying to maintain control over something in her life at this point.

That’s understandable, it just would’ve been nice to get that point of view as it was happening.  I’m not sure if there’s a sequel planned, but the ending is rather open ended and does not resolve the final issue, so another book would bring the story full circle.


Christine Duval has been writing creatively since the fourth grade when she penned her first short story entitled “London Terror,” about the murder of a cat in London. She grew up on the North Shore of Long Island and lived in Italy twice as a teenager: once when she was sixteen in Bologna and in a small town on the Adriatic Sea called Porto San Giorgio; then in Florence when she was nineteen. Her parents wondered if she’d ever come back.

College was spent in the Finger Lakes: the inspiration for Colman, Milton, and Kashong Lake in Freshman Forty. It really is cold, wet and grey there – OFTEN! But when the sun comes out, boy is it pretty.

Life eventually took her to New York’s Upper West Side, the place she’ll always consider home. Though for now she resides in New Jersey with her family and a very spoiled love bird who can’t decide if he’s a boy or she’s a girl.

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3 Responses to “REVIEW: Freshman Forty by Christine Duval”

  1. Lizzy

    I’m not typically into contemporary, but I like the refreshing change of plot. Having been through a difficult pregnancy myself (at least on me, the baby was perfectly healthy), I can really relate to her struggles.

    Great review!

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