Raven never expected to be a mother at sixteen. Is she going to be just another high school dropout, a project girl with few prospects? Could be, except Raven has ambition. Still, when is she going to find the time to finish school? Then her older sister tells her about a spelling bee that promises the winner a scholarship for college. Spelling? There isn't a subject she's worse at. But once Raven's got her mind set, nothing gets in her way...
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Janet McDonald grew up in a public housing project in New York City. A graduate of Vassar College, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, and New University School of Law, she is currently a lawyer in Paris.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
A note from the author Spellbound is a pun, a conundrum, and a cautionary tale. Raven, held by the magic of words -- their spelling, their meaning, and their power to liberate -- confronts and resolves the most intimidating predicament a teenage girl can face: sudden motherhood. The teenaged single mother is so familiar a phenomenon that to many she might appear ordinary. But when a baby bursts forth in the midst of a young life, for that girl, that mother, her very singular, unique, and promising journey is altered, and in too many cases truncated, forever. Her choice is existential -- strive or glide. Raven strives. Aisha glides. And that is where their friendship diverges. I was inspired to write their story by my four wonderful nieces who, one after another, became mothers much too young. Undaunted, each of them returned to school, sometimes years later, somehow finding the multiple arms to juggle a child, a job, and a dream.
From Spellbound Raven watched her mother's eyelids twitch and listened to her snore. The sound startled the baby, then his body relaxed again, limp and heavy. Maybe I'll get that job they had in the paper today. Then I can help out more, Mommy won't have to work so much overtime. She considered the bundle on her lap, its warmth and weight, and listened to the hiss of air as the baby sucked from an empty bottle. He was growing real fast. Three months old and soon it would be April, then he'd be four months, May, five months . . . and on and on, for years and years. What did the future hold for them? She was scared. Please, God, please, God, please, God, if you're up there, please give me that job.
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