Everyone is talking about Aftercare Instructions, Bonnie Pipkin’s electric debut novel:
“Important, fierce. Pipkin stole my heart with this book.” —A.S. King, author of Still Life with Tornado
“Mighty, innovative, and nearly impossible to put down.” —David Arnold, author of Kids of Appetite
“Incredibly honest and empathetic.” —ALA Booklist
“Big-hearted, sensitive, and engrossing.” —Publishers Weekly
“Troubled.” That’s seventeen-year-old Genesis according to her small New Jersey town. She finds refuge and stability in her relationship with her boyfriend, Peter—until he abandons her at a Planned Parenthood clinic during their appointment to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. The betrayal causes Gen to question everything.
As Gen pushes herself forward to find her new identity without Peter, she must also confront her most painful memories. Through the lens of an ongoing four act play within the novel, the fantasy of their undying love unravels line by line, scene by scene. Digging deeper into her past while exploring the underground theater world of New York City, she rediscovers a long forgotten dream. But it’s when Gen lets go of her history, the one she thinks she knows, that she’s finally able to embrace the complicated, chaotic true story of her life, and take center stage.
Aftercare Instructions, a debut full of heart and hope, follows Gen on a big-hearted journey from dorm rooms to diners to underground theaters—and ultimately, right into readers' hearts.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
We can’t overstate how much we LOVED Bonnie Pipkin’s debut novel. The story starts with teenager Genesis Johnson having an abortion after getting pregnant with her Christian boyfriend, Peter. But that dramatic episode is just the backdrop for a journey of self-discovery that forces Gen to reevaluate her relationships and digest the enormity of a tragedy that’s befallen her family. Alongside gorgeously written, funny, and poignant scenes that take Gen from her small New Jersey town to Brooklyn lofts and an experimental East Village theater, Pipkin provides flashbacks of Genesis and Peter’s story told as a dramatic play.
As Pipkin's sensitive and big-hearted debut opens, 17-year-old Genesis Johnson has been abandoned at Planned Parenthood by her boyfriend, Peter, while she's getting an abortion. After, Genesis veers from place to place and friend to friend seeking solace, grieving, despairing, and raging at Peter, who seems to have disappeared at the most vulnerable moment of her life. Pipkin's chapters are framed by postabortion instructions ("Talk to Someone If You Experience Feelings of Detachment"), and screenplay-style scenes, interspersed throughout, recount how Genesis and Peter fell in love. These dueling formats powerfully underscore what feels like an unbridgeable divide between then and now for Genesis, while amplifying the role theater plays in her life: downtown New York City shows were a point of connection between her and her late father, and she auditions for a role at the urging of a boy she hooks up with during an anger-fueled bender. Genesis's conflicted relationships with her mother, grandparents, and friends are as engrossing as her breakup with Peter, and her story packs a big emotional punch. Ages 12 up.