Author: Marianna Baer
Publisher: Amulet Books
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?
I have to start this review by saying that The Inconceivable Life of Quinn is one of the strangest books I have ever read, and I am completely unsure how I feel about it. It is such a weird and yet utterly compelling story. When I read the summary for this book I was instantly intrigued and knew I had to read it. Quinn Cutler is the sixteen year old daughter of Brooklyn politician who is currently running for US Congress. The family is facing a ton of media scrutiny, so there couldn't actually be a worse time for Quinn to find out she is pregnant. The situation is made a whole lot worse because Quinn has no memory of ever having sex, as far as she is concerned she is a virgin and so is her long term boyfriend. It is a huge scandal for the family, and an alienating experience for Quinn as almost no one believes her. We follow Quinn as she tries to figure out how this happened, whether she has repressed the memory of a sexual assault or if something more supernatural is happening, or if she should believe those who think she is carrying the next messiah.
The best way to sum up reading this book:
Going into this book, I had absolutely no idea what to expect. The summary hints to a supernatural element, whilst also making it seem like it could be a clean cut contemporary. The book makes for interesting, compelling and frustrating reading. You're so eager to get answers, whilst feeling like you can't trust Quinn as she is an unreliable narrator at times. I really loved the mystery of it all, it grabs you and you're desperate to find out what actually happened to Quinn. I just had to know how Quinn has found herself pregnant, whilst insisting she is still a virgin. I was so curious to see how the author would wrap it all up.
If you're looking for a book that will keep you guessing, this is definitely that book. Almost the entire book I couldn't decide what I thought was really going on and I never would have guessed either. Be warned that this is a slow paced book, where the plot revolves solely on finding out the truth to Quinn's pregnancy. I can tell this book will divide opinion, some won't be able to deal with the end as well as others will. Personally, I do wish that I had got more of a payoff. But then I also couldn't put this book down, there is just something so compelling about Baer's writing that grabs me. The book could definitely have committed to magical realism elements earlier on in the story and then the end would have worked better.
This book is just so hard to review, and that is because I have honestly never read anything else like it. It was a unique reading experience and those are rare to find the over saturated market of YA, where sometimes it feels like you have read the same story ten times over. So I have to applaud Baer for being able to grip me and then genuinely surprise me. She's someone to watch and I will be very curious to see what she comes up with next. If you're looking for something different, that will keep you guessing till the very end then this is definitely worth reading.