The Jewel, by Penny Ward
What happens when the boy is left holding the baby?
The Jewel was written as a young adult novel. It is about a 16 year old boy, left with his new-born daughter when his girlfriend leaves. It tackles the age-old problem of teen pregnancy. The telling shows the story from each character’s point of view, as his brother and parents step in to help. New babies change everything and Juliet is no exception. Her Grandparents have a lot of learning to do, as does her uncle who finally gets the courage to come out as gay.
I find that women relate well to it, and it certainly is a way to open a dialogue with teenage children and grandchildren. It is written with simple language and short chapters to encourage less able readers. The content is definitely age appropriate.
I taught in a unit for pregnant schoolgirls many years ago. This book was written way back then, because I wanted teenagers to know that having a baby isn’t easy, doesn’t solve problems… that it’s a thing for grown ups, not kids who should still be out having a good time.
Lucy, the baby’s mum, has been let down by her own mother, by the educational system and by society. Adam has a lot of growing up to do, and his love for his daughter is very real. But interestingly, I liked his younger brother Colin more.
When you write, the characters sometimes take over the plot… I maybe knew where I had planned to go, but ultimately, the story wrote itself.
I decided to target those who had relatively poor reading skills so chapters are short and language is straightforward.
One reviewer wrote that the baby teaches all the characters to be true to themselves, and points out just how complex and harrowing that honesty can be.
I’d ask you to read the reviews, buy the book for yourself, your children, your grandchildren. I would love it to be used in high schools, and in all honesty, if it prevented one unplanned pregnancy, I’d be happy. It’s a way to open conversations with your vulnerable adolescents.
Where to find The Jewel by Penny Ward
It is available on Kindle and any other reader £2.99), from Amazon (£5.99 plus postage) or directly from me (£6.60 includes Postage and Packing. Please PM me.
Cost £6 plus £1.50 p & P from Penny Ward (PM me in The Silver Tent or Synergy), or from all Amazon stores.
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