Arthur A. Levin Books - 1st June 2010
Seventeen-year-old Bronwen Oliver doesn't just want a family. She has one of those, and there's nothing terribly wrong with them apart from bickering grandparents, an image-obsessed mother and a brother she describes simply as Jesus. But there's no natural sense of connection between Bronwen and her family, leaving her with the belief -- and the hope -- that she was switched at birth, that she was never supposed to be Bronwen Oliver but someone else entirely.The concept of a teen getting married isn't something I've read in contemporary YA that doesn't involve an abomination /vampire baby with an abysmal name. It sometimes comes up in fantasy YA where the setting is molded on Medieval times but in a setting reflecting today's society? Not so much. Even in the media teenage marriage is only brought up if 1) a girl is pregnant or 2) someone desperately wants to lose their virginity in line with their religion. I might sound a tad harsh but let's face it, that's all we are exposed to in terms of the media.
When she begins dating college senior Jared Sondervan, she finds herself thoroughly embraced by the loving family she has always wanted and does not hesitate to say yes when Jared proposes on her 18th birhday. Plans for the Perfect Beach Wedding before her junior year of college become plans for the Perfect Beach Wedding before her freshman year of college. And a wedding so soon isn't exactly what Bronwen wants. But Jared is. And his family is. Or so she thinks.
Before Bronwen can determine what she truly wants, she must first determine who she truly is, and the answer, she discovers, is only partially what she thought it was. She wasn't switched at birth, but she's also not Bronwen Oliver and hasn't been for a very long time.
My mother married at 19 and it didn't end well. She freaked out the week before I turned 19 with a subconscious fear that I might get married that week. She wanted me to know myself before I pledged a lifetime with another. I think that's fair enough...even if she sounded like an absolute nutter at that time.
I love the idea that Erin McCahan's novel deals with the concept of identity and retaining that in a relationship. In looking for family in places other than your own home. It's an interesting concept and has the potential to catalyse discussion about teen marriage, the nature of family and identity.
A debut novel, I Now Pronounce You Someone Else, could be an exciting addition to the already fantastic Tenner list.