Too Soon For Jeff

by Marilyn Reynolds

Jeff Browning is a talented high school debater who stands a solid chance of winning a scholarship to the college of his dreams. When Christy, his girlfriend, announces that she is pregnant and she will neither have an abortion nor give the baby up for adoption, Jeff is forced to deal with the consequences of his actions. Ready or not, Jeff is going to be a father, and the course of his life is changed forever.

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ISBN: 978-1-929777-03-7
224 pages

Grades 7-12

Reading level: 4.6

AR: 9.0 IL: UG BL: 4.6

Unanimously selected by the American Library Association (ALA) for its Best Books for Young Adults list

An ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers

New York Public Library Best books for the Teen Age

Made into an ABC-TV After School Special, nominated for an Emmy

Too Soon for Jeff has also been translated into Chinese (not available through New Wind Publishing).

Reviews:Teen readers wrote:

This book really is a great book. Many teenagers in high school can relate to this. Teen parents or soon to be teen parents will get to see the struggles of having a child during high school. I very much enjoyed this book. — Morgan

Being a teen mom, I found this book very helpful to understand my son's father's point of view. Like Christy I was TOTALLY against abortion and we struggled quite a lot with that issue. We are no longer together, sadly to say, but I feel like if I would have read this book sooner, it could have helped us to work things out instead of fighting all of the time. I would strongly recommend this book to many teen moms that feel stranded, and like they are the only one out there in this position. — Briana

This book was awsome! I read the whole book in a day. It is so good that you can't put it down. It helps you understand the pressure that teen parents are under, and what decisions they have to make. I recomend that everyone reads this book. — A kid

Do you like real life stories filled with action and a catchy beginning? Well this is the book for you. You'll actually feel the character, from emotions to what there going through and probably even shed a couple tears. Yup, that's right! You'll feel how it is to be lonely and have an idea of how a pregnant teenagers life is. — Ivette V.

School Library Journal wrote:

Grade 8-12. The realities of teenage sexuality are portrayed in this story of Jeff Browning and his girlfriend Christy. They have been together for a year, and he has just decided that he needs more independence and time to spend with his friends. He is a high school senior looking forward to a promising college career in debate. When Christy reveals that she is pregnant, life changes drastically. Jeff is outraged that she often "forgot" to take the pill, and insists on an abortion. The young woman protests, and has the baby, hoping Jeff will stay with her. His family is angry, but supportive, while Christy's belligerent father makes the situation worse. Unlike many teenage fathers, Jeff does finally take responsibility for his son and learns to balance college life with fatherhood. Believable characters and an easy-to-read text will make this an appealing story that emphasizes the consequences and responsibilities of sexual behavior among young people.

Booklist wrote:

Gr. 8-12. Jeff Browning has a plan for his future. As a champion debater he stands a chance for a scholarship to the college of his dreams. So when his girlfriend, Christy, happily informs him she's pregnant, though she had told him she was on the pill, Jeff feels betrayed. Christy refuses to consider abortion or adoption, and Jeff announces that it is her choice, but it is too soon for him to be a father. As Christy's pregnancy progresses, Jeff is forced to confront the disapproval of his mother, classmates, and respected teachers, as well as his own guilt. As much as he tries, he can't turn his back on his own child. Whether Jeff is ready or not, he is going to be a father--his plan for his life changed forever. In Jeff, Reynolds has crafted a character both maddening and sympathetic; he is totally believable as a teen who has an underlying sense of integrity but refuses to accept that he must face the consequences of his actions. Reynolds' Detour for Emmy is a tale of teen pregnancy from the mother's point of view; this teen father's story is a thoughtful book for both young men and young women.

Kirkus Reviews wrote:

Jeff, almost 18, and Christy, two years younger, have been going together for months. Because Jeff is feeling threatened by Christy's possessiveness, he decides to break off the relationship. But before he gets a chance to bring the subject up, Christy tells him that she is four months pregnant with his child. Jeff is horrified; he knows that they are both too young and unprepared for parenthood, that a child will signal the end of each of their plans for the future. He tries to get Christy to have an abortion, but she is adamant in her refusal. Meanwhile, Christy's father insists that Jeff marry his daughter, and Jeff's mother, about to start an important mid-life career change, announces that she will not give up her future to be a full-time grandmother for the child. Jeff, a basically decent young man, is confused and ashamed, worried about what his future (and Christy's, and the child's) holds. Reynolds's last book, Detour for Emmy, concerned the life choices facing a pregnant 15-year-old girl and was named an ALA Best Book for Young Adults. This one is at least as well written as Detour but is perhaps even more important than the earlier novel since so little has been written about the problems of young unmarried fathers-to-be. Another candidate for next year's BBYA list. (Fiction. 12+)

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