An image of a classroom next to an image of the book 16 & Pregnant sitting in an open locker.

16 & Pregnant: A Novel

An educational partnership between MTV Books and Power to Decide. 

The cover of the book 16 & Pregnant from MTV Books.
About the Book

The bond between two best friends is put to the test when one of them gets pregnant in this contemporary teen novel from MTV Books inspired by the iconic reality show.

16 & Pregnant: A Novel honestly and openly explores pregnancy through the eyes of two young Black teens in modern-day Nevada. Debut author LaLa Thomas combines personal insights, heartfelt dialogue, and authentic emotions in this powerful portrait of American teen life.

A headshot of author LaLa Thomas.
About the Author

LaLa Thomas is a professor, scholar, combat Army veteran, English teacher, and an author of multiple genres. After her first years of teaching and mentoring in one of the most struggling school districts in the nation, she decided to use those experiences and create stories through characters who represent young Black voices. She is a proud Afro-Caribbean American, who is thankful for all the gifts her ancestors have given her. 

About the Partnership

Power to Decide and MTV have been working in partnership for 25 years to help ensure that all young people have the support they need to make informed decisions and to talk openly about sex, love, relationships and the power to decide their futures. 

By sparking important conversations, our collaboration on MTV’s iconic series Teen Mom and 16 & Pregnant helped accelerate the historic decline in teen pregnancy rate.

We are proud to work together on this next chapter! We hope you will use the discussion questions in our resource guide to get the conversation started. Check out the facts and let us know what you think. 

Nine in 10 young people say it would be much easier to avoid sex and postpone pregnancy if they were able to have more open, honest conversations with their parents about these topics.

Tell us what you think about the book! Tag @MTVBooks and @PowerToDecide and use #TalkingIsPower.

Did You Know?

  • One in four girls in the US will become pregnant at least once by age 20. 
  • Teen pregnancy and birth rates have dropped about 70% since the early 1990s. Declines have been in all 50 states and among all groups. Young people are waiting longer to have sex and are more likely to use contraception when they do.
  • The average age of first sex in the US is 17. 
  • Nine in 10 young people say they are not ready for a pregnancy right now, but 40% aren’t using birth control consistently.
  • Half of teens say they have never thought about how a pregnancy would affect their lives right now.
  • If you have unprotected sex on a regular basis, you have an 85% chance of getting pregnant within a year. Thinking “it can’t happen to me” doesn’t count as protection. 
  • Most abortions are to people who already have children. More than half of abortions are via medication.
  • More than half of young adults worry that birth control harder to access in the future as a result of the Supreme Court's decision overturning Roe v. Wade.  
  • More than 19 million women in need live in contraceptive deserts, without easy access to the full range of birth control options. 
  • Black women are three to four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications and face more barriers to accessing abortion care than their non-Black peers.
  • Daughters of teen mothers are more than three times as likely to become teen moms themselves.
  • 30% of teen girls who drop out of school cite pregnancy or parenthood as a reason, and less than 2% of young teen mothers get a college degree by age 30.
  • All pregnancies at 16 are considered high-risk, meaning there are more health risks for the person and their pregnancy. Extra care, support, rest and nutrition are key, even while everything is going fine with the pregnancy. 
  • Not knowing that you’re pregnant in the first weeks of pregnancy can make things even riskier: if you don’t know you’re pregnant, you’re less likely to be eating nutritious foods, getting enough rest, or getting medical care. 
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