Book Review – The Inconceivable Life of Quinn by Marianna Baer

TILOQTitle: The Inconceivable Life of Quinn

Author: Marianna Baer

Publisher: Abrams / Amulet Books

Publication Date: 4th April 2017

Format: ARC e-Book

Note: This book was received from the publisher in return for an honest review


About the book:

Quinn Cutler is sixteen and the daughter of a high-profile Brooklyn politician. She’s also pregnant, a crisis made infinitely more shocking by the fact that she has no memory of ever having sex. Before Quinn can solve this deeply troubling mystery, her story becomes public. Rumors spread, jeopardizing her reputation, her relationship with a boyfriend she adores, and her father’s campaign for Congress. Religious fanatics gather at the Cutlers’ home, believing Quinn is a virgin, pregnant with the next messiah. Quinn’s desperate search for answers uncovers lies and family secrets—strange, possibly supernatural ones. Might she, in fact, be a virgin?


What I Thought:

I was a little disappointed at how much I struggled with this book. The Inconceivable Life of Quinn tells the story of a 16-year-old high school student who finds herself pregnant. Quinn at first is adamant that she can’t be as she hasn’t had sex, but then has to face up to the reality that she is, along with the press presenting her as someone who thinks she’s the second Virgin Mary. The combination of political drama with the religious aspect grabbed my attention, and I was keen to see how well the author dealt with the religious aspect, I’m not particularly religious myself but I didn’t want to see the whole of Christianity painted as crazy fanatics, although I am well aware that like any religion you will find extremists.

So why did I struggle with it, there were a couple of reasons. One small fact that bugged me was her parents were referred to consistently by their given names and it took me a while to work out they actually were her parents, that and the fact her father really just didn’t come across as very likeable, I understand he was under the pressure of running for congress, and a story about his teenage daughter being pregnant would certainly complicate the campaign, without the additional reporting of Quinn’s virginity, but I just didn’t like the way he treated his daughter, there was a secondary plot relating to his mother and her suicide, and it was clear he was keeping things from Quinn, at one point I actually suspected that he’d been abusing her and that he was the father. I wasn’t particularly keen on Quinn’s mother either but I felt as though she redeemed herself a little more towards the end of the book.

My primary reason is the supernatural element that hit right towards the end of the story. This is partly my fault for not reading right to the end of the blurb, the idea of political scandal grabbed my attention and I was sold, so for me it really came out of the left field, up until this point in the story it’s played fairly straight and explores various possibilities including that fact she’s lying, or that she has suppressed memories of an attack due to trauma, it looks at the impacts that the press reporting has on all the family, from her father’s campaign to her younger sister’s guilt. The consequences for Quinn with the lack of support from friends at school and the stress that having religious fanatics camped outside the house has on everyone. This part of the book I really enjoyed and I was looking forward to finally getting an explanation when the local myth surrounding the island she grew up on and it’s connections to her grandmother were suddenly thrown into the mix – and the worst part we don’t actually ever get a firm conclusion it’s just left a bit in the air and you’re left to assume that this myth is true and was the reason she became pregnant. Now for some that might be enough, but I’m the sort of person, who if I’ve invested time in something, likes to find out an answer once and for all. I know life isn’t always so neat which is probably why I like the stories I read to be.

In terms of positives I quite enjoyed reading the different viewpoints – the story is told primarily from Quinn’s viewpoint but there are chapters throughout the book that pick up different viewpoints – These chapters are easily identified as they give the character’s name as a chapter heading. I thought this worked really well to bring in other viewpoints to the story, even, or perhaps especially, when the character involved really had quite a small role overall.

Would I recommend it?

I’m sure others may love this, the reviews on Goodreads are a bit of a mixed bunch but there are certainly a number of positive reviews on there. This book just wasn’t for me, I don’t mind a good fantasy book if I know that’s what I’m going into but this was so straight leading into the final act of the book it just completely threw me.

2.5 Stars

Sarah

1 Comment

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