Detour For Emmy

by Marilyn Reynolds

In the 9th grade, Emmy is an A student, a soccer star, and a lead soprano in the school choir. She falls for a junior who is also one of the choir's lead singers. Art is a dream of a boyfriend until Emmy finds that she's pregnant. His response is immediate denial and abandonment. Emmy's mother is angry and pushing for an abortion. Her guidance counselor claims that Emmy's life will be ruined by this turn of events, and only one of her friends tries to stand by her. Emmy must discard her plans and dreams of going away to college on a scholarship and find new plans and dreams that include life as a single mom.

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ISBN: 978-1-929777-05-1
256 pages

Grade level: 8-12

Reading level: 4.4

Interest level: 7-12

Lexile count: 730

AR:11.0 IL: UG BL: 4.4

Reviews:Teen comments wrote:

When my son was born, I had no intention of going back to school or to work. Then I read Emmy. She’s my idol now. Because of her I’m going back to school full-time. – B. McG., age 16

It is a great book on how a girl decides to do what is right since her boyfriend won't. – Mayra

I read this book for health class but really liked it, and couldn't put it down. — Eletric Eel

Detour for Emmy is the best book in the whole world!!!! It’s a story about a girl who falls in love with "the boy of her dreams" in high school. The author’s style is quite interesting since it’s a girl’s perspective and it was a great experience reading her work. I love the fact that the author writes a bunch of stories about teens. Since it’s about teens it was easy for me to read it since I’m a teenager myself and it’s interesting because I would want to be able to click as well in high school when I talk to girls. I would recommend this book to whoever likes high school drama, boy/girl relationships, and family drama. — Damon L.

This book hit home hit home with me. I recommend this book for any teenage parent to read. It is well written and is not full of fluff. It says what can happen in such a situation and the reality of what it is like to raise a baby as a teenager. It doesn't beat around the bush it says it how it is and that is all that matters. Teenagers need to know the reality of such a situation and this book shares with them that reality. — Marie Z.

I've always been one for fiction books of teen pregnancy and this is one of my favorites. Marilyn Reynolds really call pull at your heart strings with this story of a teenage girl becoming pregnant, her boyfriend leaves her and her family is broken. Love how you can see the girl’s passion of only wanting the best for her baby. — Devon

I loved this book as a teenager. Although I was not a pregnant teenager, I found this to be a very realistic book because a lot of girls in my high school were pregnant. Even though Emmy's situation is terrible, you find yourself rooting for her! — Jennifer


I really liked this book because it was extremely realistic and down-to-earth. When I became pregnant a year ago I bought many books on teen pregnancy, but most of them were so hokey and the mother almost always gives the baby up for adoption in the end. I liked this book because it gave me an idea of how hard it would be if I decided to keep my baby. I am proud to say today I have a beautiful 5 month old daughter. This book really helped me figure some things out, and I would recommend it to any pregnant teenager out there! — A customer

Teacher comments wrote:

Very good story line. Good book for young adults. If you think this book is too explicit, then you need to walk down the halls of a public middle school and overhear some of the conversations going on. They need to read and be aware of the consequences of their actions. Parents could discuss this book with their teen instead of running from the truth.

As a director of a crisis pregnancy center, I found the message of this book tremendous. A young teenager getting pregnant, older boyfriend dumping her, unsupportive mom, friends telling her to have an abortion ... the typical situation I hear every day. 

Publishers Weekly wrote:

At the end of eighth grade, Emmy is at the top of the world. She's popular, does well in school, has two best friends and sings in the chorus. Ninth grade is more of a challenge, yet Emmy continues to thrive and even falls in love. Then she gets pregnant. Thoughtful and thorough, this novel vividly portrays teenage love and its consequences. Emmy faces her choices with a believable mix of bravery and weakness, earning the reader's sympathy. The author, who teaches English at an alternative school in California, demonstrates a true understanding of her audience along with a solid interest in providing important information. With its timely news about social programs serving pregnant teens, its candor and its message about summoning one's inner strength, this instructive tale is both cautionary and inspirational. Ages 12-up.

Booklist wrote:

Gr. 8-12. Emmy's mother is an alcoholic; her beloved brother is in trouble with the law; and her father is long gone. But in high school, Emmy is a straight A student, a soccer star, and lead soprano in the choir, and she attracts an absolute hunk, upperclassman boyfriend, who's also "going places." Although they have sex on a regular basis, they always use protection--except for one night. When Art finds out Emmy is pregnant, he denies he's the father and breaks up with her. Emmy, who sees having the baby as the only way she'll ever have someone who will love her back, resists the pressure to have an abortion. She faces her mother's anger, prejudice at school, the fear and pain of pregnancy, and the burdens of caring for the child--and manages to get her life back on track. The story might be a cliche, but, unfortunately, it is a relevant cliche for the many teen mothers who live it every year. Writing in an appealing conversational style, Reynolds adds plenty of interesting plot elements to keep the pages turning. The characters, especially Emmy as first-person narrator, are well-drawn, complex, and believable. 

About the Author

Marilyn Reynolds is the author of eleven books of realistic teen fiction: Telling, Shut Up, No More Sad Goodbyes, If You Loved Me, Love Rules, Baby Help, But What About Me?, Beyond Dreams, Too Soon for Jeff, Detour for Emmy, and Eddie's Choice, all part of the popular and award-winning True-to-Life Series from Hamilton High. Ms. Reynolds also co-wrote the Emmy-nominated script for the ABC Afterschool Special teleplay of Too Soon for Jeff.

In addition to books for teens, Ms. Reynolds is also the author of a book for educators, I Won’t Read and You Can’t Make Me: Reaching Reluctant Teen Readers; Over 70 and I Don’t Mean MPH,a collection of essays on the gifts and challenges of longevity; and 'Til Death or Dementia Do Us Part, a memoir chronicling her husband's descent into Frontal Temporal Dementia. Her newest book is Over 80: Reflections on Aging, a collection of essays.

Ms. Reynolds worked with reluctant learners and teens in crises at a southern California alternative high school for thirty years. She remains actively involved in education through author visits (Zoom or in-person) to middle and high school students ranging from struggling readers to highly motivated writers who are interested in developing work for possible publication. She offers staff development workshops for educators and is a frequent guest speaker for programs and organizations that serve teens, parents, teachers, and writers.

To request a visit, ask a question, or learn more about her work, visit

Other Books By Marilyn Reynolds