Heat Factor: There’s one fairly explicit scene around the midpoint
Character Chemistry: They really like each other, but…it’s complicated
Plot: Poppy accidentally gets pregnant, decides to keep the baby, falls in love, and finds herself
Here’s the premise of this book: Knocked Up, but instead of ending up with the stoner dude, Katherine Heigl falls in love with her Planned Parenthood escort. So for anyone who agreed with Heigl when she pointed out that Knocked Up was “a little sexist” and wanted something else, something more for the heroine, here’s your chance to explore one alternate fantasy, which leans into themes of self-love and self-discovery, and is overall very charming and warm (with bits of fun snark in Poppy’s narration).
Our story opens with Poppy heading to Planned Parenthood to get the abortion she feels she has no choice about. After all, the sperm donor is her loser ex, she’s working a dead-end job, she dropped out of college—and her terrible mom is not shy about reminding her about her shortcomings. While there, Poppy takes her first (of many) big steps to claiming ownership over her own life: she decides that she wants to keep the baby. (This book is adamantly pro-choice.) Even if doing so makes no logical sense, she knows, in her gut, that this is the right decision for her. Also while there, she meets Rhiannon, who escorts her through the mob of protesters outside the clinic.
Poppy’s decision to keep her baby leads her to embark on a mini-life-revamp. See, her mom and older sister always give her shit about not finishing anything, and she needs to prove to herself that she can be a responsible adult since she’s going to be a mom, so she decides that she is finally going to learn to knit. For real this time. Enter, once again, Rhiannon, who is also a member of the local stitch n’ bitch group that Poppy joins.
Before I get to the romance side of thing: Poppy’s growth journey is really great. At the beginning she vacillates between liking herself the way she is and feeling completely unable to live up to the expectations of others. She’s doing her best, and she doesn’t always succeed—but she does keep going, keep working on being kind to herself.
Rhiannon and Poppy are definitely attracted to each other, but Poppy’s pregnant—so how do they make this relationship work if they just want to date, not immediately become a family? How can Rhiannon maintain her boundaries of taking it slow, when Poppy has no other support network? How can Poppy work to navigate an adult relationship when her mom constantly undercuts and infantilizes her? In other words: the conflict is largely realistic rather than bonkers.
I will say that the conflict between Rhiannon and Poppy got a little repetitive: Rhiannon would pull away, Poppy would be hurt, Rhiannon would apologize and explain that she is having difficulty negotiating the boundaries she’s setting for herself, wash/rinse/repeat. The dynamic is absolutely relatable, but because the book is narrated entirely from Poppy’s POV, we only see Rhiannon’s evolving perspective second-hand. Rhiannon’s opacity is not a weakness, per se, but it does contribute to the fights feeling repetitive.
My other quibble is with the found family that Poppy cultivates. We don’t spend enough time with the stitch n’ bitch crew for me to really believe that this group of people adopts Poppy so fully and wholeheartedly, but maybe that’s because I’ve never had a stitch n’ bitch crew at my back. Maybe they do immediately adopt new members and take care of them when it’s needed. Too bad I have no desire to learn to knit.
I voluntarily read and reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. We disclose this in accordance with 16 CFR §255.
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