Sixteen-year-old Ivy is shocked when the plus sign appears on the pregnancy test. She meant to spend the summer working to save up money for college and swooning over her boyfriend Lorenzo, but now she’s planning a road trip to her grandmother’s home to legally obtain an abortion. Despite the heaviness of what will happen at the end of the trip, Lorenzo is determined to make their “abortion road trip love story” a beautiful experience for Ivy, creating an enchanting path from Paris, Texas to Rome, Oregon. On their journey, Ivy finds herself a part of a secret community, a community built of women who have been silent about their own experiences.
Small town teen girl gets pregnant and seeks an abortion—on the surface, it doesn’t seem like it’s a new story. But Caletti finds a way to tell a beautifully tender love story that is surrounded by a call to action against those who want to take away the bodily autonomy of individuals with uteruses. It’s a story that pulled me in from the get go and pulled my heart in all different directions.
One of the things I loved most about this story was the women that Ivy meets along the way. Our society has this unspoken rule that we don’t talk about abortion or miscarriage or infertility—there is a certain stigma and shame associated with it. But as we follow Ivy’s journey from Texas to Oregon, we also get stories of other women who have had to make a difficult decision surrounding a pregnancy. Despite this being a work of fiction, Caletti has opened the door with this book to start bigger conversations and allow those who have been shamed into silence to share their stories.
It is beautiful to see the great support system that Ivy has around her (that a lot of teens don't have in her same situation). Her mother, brother, and boyfriend rally around her and immediately support her without an ounce of judgement or blame. They are the perfect example of the kind of people we should all 1) strive to be and 2) surround ourselves with. In a book that centers around an abortion, there are some tender moments that warmed my heart and restored some faith in humanity.
And listen, I know we all love the morally grey villain as a book boyfriend, but sweet Lorenzo absolutely stole my heart and I will fight anyone who says a bad word about him.
In a post-Roe world, this story is incredibly timely and unfortunately too easy to believe will happen. I hate to say it, but I can absolutely see this book being banned or challenged in all the places like Ivy’s hometown, though I will hold out hope that it will find its way to the teens that need it. As someone who has felt that exact shame and hidden from the stigma, I know exactly how isolating it can be and a story like this is just a little thing that can help you feel less alone.
And, of course, can’t leave out the important content warnings: abortion, sexual assault, parent with cancer, slut shaming, and homophobia. Take care of yourself while reading.
PLAN A by Deb Caletti is available now and you can pick up a copy for yourself here.
Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher for free and have voluntarily written this review. If you purchase a copy using my Bookshop affiliate link above, not only will I receive a small commission (which will fuel my coffee and tea addiction and help to keep me up all night reading more books to recommend to you), but you will be supporting indie bookstores as well! If you prefer Amazon, visit my Amazon storefront and click on the list titled "2023 Book Recommendations."