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Baby Love

Written by Jacqueline Wilson

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Baby Love Review

Family / Home Stories Featured Books for Young Adults Gritty Reads Historical Fiction Personal Social Health Economic (PSHE)

An honest, compassionate, 1960-set exploration of teen pregnancy, family friction, class difference, and unexpected helping hands

Once again, Jacqueline Wilson has created a pitch-perfect, heartfelt story for older readers, with emotionally engaging insights into teenage pregnancy and motherhood in the early 1960s, and a timelessly resonant representation of treading that tricky tightrope between childhood and teenhood. Imagine a moving, teen-centred episode of Call the Midwife with added empathy.

14-year-old Laura comes from a proud working-class family. Young for her age, Laura hasn’t had any experience of boys until she befriends glamorous, wealthy Nina, the daughter of two doctors. Laura is incredibly flattered by Nina’s attention, but aware she lives in what’s known as the “Shanty Town”, while Nina has everything she could possibly wish for, and kissing experience to boot. The dynamics between the two girls is incredibly realistic, perfectly capturing the differences between them.

A trip to the lido sees Laura coaxed into spending time with a pair of older French boys. Uncomfortable with Nina’s flirting, Laura leaves, but one of the boys insists on walking her home, and leads her into the cricket changing rooms. She’s not sure what happened, but a few months later she discovers she’s pregnant. Deemed to be “spoiled goods”, Laura’s parents send her to a special home for girls in her circumstances, where she’s the youngest, where girls are typically forced to give up their babies.

Truly moving, true-to-life, rich in detail that evokes the 1960s setting, and suffused with compassion, the beautiful afterword sees Laura in her seventies, reflecting on the courageous, life-changing decision she made all those years ago, thanks to the help of her forward-thinking aunt.

Joanne Owen

Other Info

“I wrote Baby Love to show how different life was back in 1960. I still remember it vividly. If a young teenage girl became pregnant she would usually be sent to a Mother and Baby Home and coerced into giving up her baby for adoption. It seems horrifying now, especially as women my age are still grieving for their lost children. My heart goes out to them.” Jacqueline Wilson

Baby Love Synopsis

** Not suitable for younger readers.


A heartbreaking, compelling and timely story for older readers about teen pregnancy, family trouble and unlikely friendships, set in 1960.

When Laura meets a French exchange student, Leon, she is flattered by his interest in her. She's never had any sort of boyfriend before. One night, Leon walks Laura home - and her life will never be the same again. Things start to change for Laura - first her moods, and then her body. Laura isn't prepared for what she learns next - and doesn't even know how it could have happened. When her family learns her secret, they are horrified. Sent away to save them from shame, Laura meets girls just like herself, whose families have given up on them - and they become a family for each other at the most difficult time in all their lives.

An emotional and moving tale for fans of Dear Nobody and Juno. 

Baby Love Press Reviews

"I've been waiting for Jacqueline Wilson to return to teen fiction for so long and this is more than worth the wait. She understands the complex interpersonal relationships of teenagers so well and writes with an unparalleled realness and rawness. Her examination of class differences is heartbreaking and teens today will identify with Laura even with the book being set in the 60s. I loved this book. It was heartbreaking but warm, unflinching yet somehow cosy. Nobody writes like Jacqueline Wilson. Long may she reign! I couldn't get the characters out of my head." Holly Bourne, author


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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9780241567104
Publication date: 17/03/2022
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd an imprint of Penguin Random House Children's UK
Format: Hardback

Book Information

ISBN: 9780241567104
Publication date: 17th March 2022
Author: Jacqueline Wilson
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd an imprint of Penguin Random House Children's UK
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 496 pages
Suitable for: YA readers
Genres: Family / Home Stories, Gritty Reads, Historical Fiction, Personal Social Health Economic

About Jacqueline Wilson

Jacqueline Wilson wrote her first novel when she was nine years old, and she has been writing ever since. She is now one of Britain’s bestselling and most beloved children’s authors. She has written over 100 books and is the creator of characters such as Tracy Beaker and Hetty Feather. More than forty million copies of her books have been sold. As well as winning many awards for her books, including the Children’s Book of the Year, Jacqueline is a former Children’s Laureate, and in 2008 she was appointed a Dame. Jacqueline is also ...

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