Book Review: Under Threat by Robin Stevenson
Franny is close to her parents, adores her horse and is head over heels in love with her girlfriend, Leah. But Franny’s parents are abortion providers at the local hospital, and an anonymous stranger is prepared to do whatever it takes to stop them. A stranger who phones at all hours. Who knows where they live. Who knows Franny’s name. When Leah’s older brother, Jake, refers to her parents as baby killers, Franny starts to wonder if perhaps the threats aren’t coming from a stranger at all. If she tells the police about her suspicions, she could lose her girlfriend. But if she doesn’t—and if she’s right—she could lose her parents.
If you’re looking for a book that tackles the issue of abortion rights head on, this is it. In fact, I can’t think of any other book that addresses abortion even close to the way this book does. As the description above says, Franny’s parents are abortion providers. They frequently get harassing phone calls and are used to changing their phone number and working with the police to ensure their safety. But the recent calls seem more threatening than usual—they keep happening over and over, and the caller leaves suspicious packages that could be anthrax or could be a bomb at both Franny’s home and her parents’ place of work. Franny suffers from nightmares and is constantly worried something will happen to her parents. Franny is proud of what her parents do. There is a lot of very frank and impassioned talk about the reasons why it’s important that abortion is legal, what happened when it wasn’t, what has happened to abortion providers, and anti-abortion terrorism.
Though she is proud of her parents’ work, Franny is worried what her girlfriend Leah’s religious mother will think. So far she’s just told her that her parents are doctors. But when a bomb threat causes her parents to go public with their story, in hopes of discovering someone who might be able to provide some leads in the case, Franny can’t hide the truth any more. Leah’s mother’s reaction is surprisingly compassionate and nuanced, but her brother Jake’s is not. Franny wonders if he could be behind the threats and has to decide what to do with her suspicions.
Part of the Orca Soundings series, this high interest book is a quick but extremely captivating read. I wanted to cheer for some of the great, smart, and bold things that Franny says. This is a well-written and unparalleled look at a highly charged topic.
Review copy courtesy of the author and publisher
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
Publication date: 03/01/2016
Filed under: Book Reviews
About Amanda MacGregor
Amanda MacGregor works in an elementary library, loves dogs, and can be found on Twitter @CiteSomething.
SLJ Blog Network