Evelyn is sixteen, wants to be valedictorian, and is pregnant. She’s really a good girl who has been playing bad in an attempt to get her preoccupied, distant parents to pay attention to her. The result, however, has lasting consequences. When the baby’s father slacks off, Evelyn is faced with some difficult decisions.
There’s no shortage of teen pregnancy novels, so when a new one is published, it has to stand out in some way. Unfortunately, Caela Carter’s Me, Him, Them, and It doesn’t distinguish itself as a standout issue novel in any way. The pronoun-heavy title gives you the gist of the novel, its cast of characters, and hints at how crowded the story will be with its issues.
And it is a crowded story. Carter attempts to tackle way too much in this novel. Everything from adoption, sexual orientation, divorce, religion, and race is touched on here, and one gets the sense that Carter was trying way, way too hard. The result is that nothing has a lasting impact.
A drawn-out narrative doesn’t help matters. Carter’s story drags on for so long that readers will feel like 9 months have actually passed as they read Evelyn’s self-indulgent narrative. This book could have benefited from some tight editing and a heavy hand with the ‘delete’ key.
Of course, part of the problem with the narrative is that Evelyn is such a hard character. Reader reactions will vary with regard to Evelyn’s personality, but many readers will be put off by her selfish, brash approach to life. There are times where it feels very authentic, but it doesn’t make it any easier to like this heroine. A cast of flat characters does nothing to help the fact that the narrator is grating.
This might work for teens looking for every book about teen pregnancy they can find (it happens), but there are so many other, better options out there it’s hard to recommend this one. Overly long and with a lead character many readers will dislike, this is best for readers who can power through to the fairly satisfying, if rushed, conclusion.
Me, Him, Them and It by Caela Carter. Bloomsbury: 2013. Library copy.