quinn“Most people, it seemed, dreamt and fantasized about being able to fly like a bird” (86). For Quinn Cutler, her dreams have always been about the ocean. Since she was a child, she’s had a deep connection to the sea, specifically the water by her family’s summer home. They haven’t been there in years, though, not after Quinn almost drowned because she couldn’t stay away from the waves.

Years later and Quinn has adjusted to living a normal life in the city. Well, as normal as it can be when your dad is running for Congress. While in the limelight, her family tries to remain low-key and wholesome, which isn’t necessarily hard. That all changes when Quinn goes to see her doctor for what’s supposed to be an average visit.

The doctor tells her that she’s three months pregnant, which is impossible because she’s never been with anyone, not even her long term boyfriend. She and her family fight the revelation until an ultrasound reveals “A muffled, rhythmic sound. A distant drumming, fast and strong. A heartbeat. A heartbeat that wasn’t Quinn’s own” (34).

Quinn can’t remember anything that could have led to this and it’s infuriating, especially when nobody believes that she didn’t do anything. Because something must have happened with someone, right? People tell her it must have been something traumatic, and even if it was, she just wants to remember. “Whatever it was, it couldn’t be as bad as not knowing” (53). The only time when she feels closer to the truth is when she’s in water. “Being in the water was the only time her skin didn’t feel like it belonged to someone else” (226).

The Inconceivable Life of Quinn is Marianna Baer’s second novel and it’s a sprawling tale of mystery, fear, hope, and faith. Quinn struggles with the fact of her supposed virginity and what that might mean for her baby. She’s not exactly religious, but other people are, and suddenly she’s the new Virgin Mary. Baer handles this theme with care, approaching the topic with curiosity. As the mystery of Quinn’s baby becomes clearer, connecting to her relationship with the ocean, Baer’s writing becomes mystical and suspenseful. Her story brings up many difficult topics that often accompany teenage pregnancy and Baer doesn’t shy away from pursuing dark paths. In the end, though, Quinn’s story is not only entertaining and hopeful, but also “Enormous. Overwhelming. Inconceivable” (341).

  • Posted by Abriana

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