25 Young Adult Books That Explore Teen Pregnancy and/or Abortion

Today’s post is sponsored by Candlewick Press and Baby & Solo!

Title Baby & Solo
Author Lisabeth Posthuma
Intended Target Audience Young Adult
Publication Date May 11th 2021 by Candlewick
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Joel’s new job at the video store is just what the therapist ordered. But what happens if the first true friend he’s made in years finds out about What Was Wrong With Him?

Seventeen-year-old Joel Teague has a new prescription from his therapist — a part-time job — the first step toward the elusive Normal life he’s been so desperate to live ever since The Bad Thing happened. Lucky for Joel, ROYO Video is hiring. It’s the perfect fresh start — Joel even gets a new name. Dubbed “Solo” after his favorite Star Wars character, Joel works his way up the not-so-corporate ladder without anyone suspecting What Was Wrong With Him. That is, until he befriends Nicole “Baby” Palmer, a smart-mouthed coworker with a chip on her shoulder about…well, everything, and the two quickly develop the kind of friendship movie montages are made of. However, when Joel’s past inevitably catches up with him, he’s forced to choose between preserving his new blank slate persona and coming clean — and either way, he risks losing the first real friend he’s ever had.

Set in a pop-culture-rich 1990s, this remarkable story tackles challenging and timely themes with huge doses of wit, power, and heart.

As reproductive rights and bodily autonomy continue to be challenged in the United States and around the world, sex education and access to all forms of birth control, including abortion, are more important than ever. Individuals in all different circumstances can experience an unplanned and/or unwanted pregnancy and they should be empowered to make an informed decision that’s right for them as opposed to the individual moral or religious beliefs of their legislators. Today, I’m proud to have partnered with my friends at Candlewick Press to share 25 young adult books that explore the topic of teen pregnancy and/or abortion, including Candlewick’s own Baby & Solo by Lisabeth Posthuma.



Publication Date April 7th 2020 by Sourcebooks Fire
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From Laura Bates, internationally renowned feminist and founder of the Everyday Sexism Project, comes a realistic novel for the #MeToo era. The Burning will prompt all readers to consider the implications of sexism and the role we can each play in ending it.

What happens when you can’t run or hide from a mistake that goes viral?

New school. Check.
New town. Check.
New last name. Check.
Social media profiles? Deleted.

Anna and her mother have moved hundreds of miles to put the past behind them. Anna hopes to make a fresh start and escape the harassment she’s been subjected to. But then rumors and whispers start, and Anna tries to ignore what is happening by immersing herself in learning about Maggie, a local woman accused of witchcraft in the seventeenth century. A woman who was shamed. Silenced. And whose story has unsettling parallels to Anna’s own.





Publication Date January 21st 2020 by Quill Tree Books
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Two-time Edgar Award finalist Lamar Giles spotlights the consequences of societal pressure, confronts toxic masculinity, and explores the complexity of what it means to be a “real man.”

Del has had a crush on Kiera Westing since kindergarten. And now, during their junior year, she’s finally available. So when Kiera volunteers for an opportunity at their church, Del’s right behind her. Though he quickly realizes he’s inadvertently signed up for a Purity Pledge.

His dad thinks his wires are crossed, and his best friend, Qwan, doesn’t believe any girl is worth the long game. But Del’s not about to lose his dream girl, and that’s where fellow pledger Jameer comes in. He can put in the good word. In exchange, Del just has to get answers to the Pledgers’ questions…about sex ed.

With other boys circling Kiera like sharks, Del needs to make his move fast. But as he plots and plans, he neglects to ask the most important question: What does Kiera want? He can’t think about that too much, though, because once he gets the girl, it’ll all sort itself out. Right?





Publication Date October 3rd 2017 by HarperTeen
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National Book Award Winner, PEN America Award Winner, and New York Times Bestseller!

Perfect for fans of This Is Us, Robin Benway’s beautiful interweaving story of three very different teenagers connected by blood explores the meaning of family in all its forms—how to find it, how to keep it, and how to love it.

Being the middle child has its ups and downs.

But for Grace, an only child who was adopted at birth, discovering that she is a middle child is a different ride altogether. After putting her own baby up for adoption, she goes looking for her biological family, including –

Maya, her loudmouthed younger bio sister, who has a lot to say about their newfound family ties. Having grown up the snarky brunette in a house full of chipper redheads, she’s quick to search for traces of herself among these not-quite-strangers. And when her adopted family’s long-buried problems begin to explode to the surface, Maya can’t help but wonder where exactly it is that she belongs.

And Joaquin, their stoic older bio brother, who has no interest in bonding over their shared biological mother. After seventeen years in the foster care system, he’s learned that there are no heroes, and secrets and fears are best kept close to the vest, where they can’t hurt anyone but him.

Don’t miss this moving novel that addresses such important topics as adoption, teen pregnancy, and foster care.





Publication Date May 3rd 2016 by Greenwillow Books
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How do you define yourself? By your friends? Your family? Your boyfriend? Your grades? Your trophies? Your choices? By a single choice? From the author of the acclaimed Poisoned Apples comes a novel in verse about a young woman and the aftermath of a life-altering decision. Fans of Laurie Halse Anderson and Ellen Hopkins will find the powerful questions, the difficult truths, and the inner strength that speak to them in Ask Me How I Got Here.

Addie has always known what she was running toward, whether in cross country, in her all-girls Catholic school, or in love. Until she and her boyfriend — her sensitive, good-guy boyfriend — are careless one night, and she gets pregnant. Addie makes the difficult choice to have an abortion. And after that — even though she knows it was the right decision for her — nothing is the same. She doesn’t want anyone besides her parents and her boyfriend to know what happened; she doesn’t want to run cross country anymore; she can’t bring herself to be excited about anything. Until she reconnects with Juliana, a former teammate who’s going through her own dark places.

Once again, Christine Heppermann writes with an unflinching honesty and a deep sensitivity about the complexities of being a teenager, being a woman. Her free verse poems are moving, provocative, and often full of wry humor and a sharp wit.





Publication Date October 1st 2013 by Balzer + Bray
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For fans of Sarah Dessen and John Green, this is a breathtaking debut about a couple who fall in love…twice.

Before: Reena Montero has loved Sawyer LeGrande for as long as she can remember. But he’s never noticed that Reena even exists…until one day, impossibly, he does. Reena and Sawyer fall in messy, complicated love. Then Sawyer disappears without a word, leaving a devastated — and pregnant — Reena behind.

After: Almost three years have passed, and there’s a new love in Reena’s life: her daughter. Reena’s gotten used to life without Sawyer, but just as suddenly as he disappeared, he turns up again. Reena wants nothing to do with him, though she’d be lying if she said his being back wasn’t stirring something in her.

After everything that’s happened, can Reena really let herself love Sawyer LeGrande again?





Publication Date July 19th 2012 by Philomel Books
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It’s senior year, and while Kenzie should be looking forward to prom and starting college in the fall, she discovers she’s pregnant. Her determination to keep her baby is something her boyfriend and mother do not understand. So she is sent to Spain, where she will live out her pregnancy, and her baby will be adopted by a Spanish couple. No one will ever know.

Alone and resentful in a foreign country, Kenzie is at first sullen and difficult. But as she gets to know Estela, the stubborn old cook, and Esteban, the mysterious young man who cares for the horses, she begins to open her eyes, and her heart, to the beauty that is all around her, and inside her. Kenzie realizes she has some serious choices to make – choices about life, love, and home.

Lyrically told in a way that makes the heat, the colors, and the smells of Spain feel alive, Small Damages is a feast for the heart and the soul, and a coming-of-age novel not easily forgotten.





Publication Date August 20th 2019 by Dial Books
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For fans of All The Bright Places and Looking For Alaska comes “a daring, inventive story about love and loss and longing, reminding us that every choice can be a new chance. A dazzling, not-to-be-missed debut.” – Kathleen Glasgow, author of Girl In Pieces

In one impulsive moment the summer before they leave for college, Scarlett and David plunge into a brief and irresistible swirl of romance, particle physics, and questionable decisions.

Scarlett and David have known each other all their lives in small-town Graceville, Colorado, where David is just another mountain in the background, until, one day, he is suddenly so much more than part of the scenery. Magnetic, spontaneous, David is a gravitational force. And Scarlett, pragmatic, wry, eye on the future, welcomes the pull he has on her even as she resists it.

Moving between the present and the past, this is the story of a seemingly grounded girl who’s pulled into a lightning-strike romance with an electric-charged boy, and the enormity of the aftermath. Smart, bold, and emotionally deep, Shana Youngdahl’s debut explores grief, guilt, and reconciling who you think you need to be with the person you’ve been all along. It’s an aching, transporting reminder that between the past that shapes us and the unknowable future, we have only the present to forgive ourselves and forge ahead.





Publication Date August 7th 2018 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
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For fans of Nicola Yoon and Nina LaCour comes a striking novel about difficult choices from acclaimed author Brandy Colbert.

Since she was seven years old, Yvonne has had her trusted violin to keep her company, especially in those lonely days after her mother walked out on their family. But with graduation just around the corner, she is forced to face the hard truth that she just might not be good enough to attend a conservatory after high school.

Full of doubt about her future, and increasingly frustrated by her strained relationship with her successful but emotionally closed-off father, Yvonne meets a street musician and fellow violinist who understands her struggle. He’s mysterious, charming, and different from Warren, the familiar and reliable boy who has her heart. But when Yvonne becomes unexpectedly pregnant, she has to make the most difficult decision yet about her future.

From the author of Pointe and Little & Lion, comes another heartfelt novel about the twists and turns that can show up on a path meant only for you.





Publication Date September 10th 2019 by HarperTeen
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Perfect for fans of Juno and Jennifer E. Smith, Unpregnant is a heartfelt and hysterically funny YA debut about fierce friendship, reproductive rights, and the wild road to adulthood.

Seventeen-year-old Veronica Clarke never thought she’d want to fail a test — that is, until she finds herself staring at a piece of plastic with two solid pink lines. With a college-bound future now disappearing before her eyes, Veronica considers a decision she never imagined she’d have to make: an abortion.

There’s just one catch — the closest place to get one is over nine hundred miles away. With conservative parents, a less-than-optimal boyfriend, and no car, Veronica turns to the only person who won’t judge her: Bailey Butler, a legendary misfit at Jefferson High — and Veronica’s ex-best friend.

What could go wrong? Not much, apart from three days of stolen cars, crazed ex-boyfriends, aliens, ferret napping, and the betrayal of a broken friendship that can’t be outrun. Under the starlit skies of the Southwest, Veronica and Bailey discover that sometimes the most important choice is who your friends are.





Publication Date June 10th 2014 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
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In this dazzling debut novel, a pregnant teen learns the meaning of friendship — from the boy who pretends to be her baby’s father.

When the entire high school finds out that Hannah Shepard is pregnant via her ex-best friend, she has a full-on meltdown in her backyard. The one witness (besides the rest of the world): Aaron Tyler, a transfer student and the only boy who doesn’t seem to want to get into Hannah’s pants. Confused and scared, Hannah needs someone to be on her side. Wishing to make up for his own past mistakes, Aaron does the unthinkable and offers to pretend to be the father of Hannah’s unborn baby. Even more unbelievable, Hannah hears herself saying “yes.”

Told in alternating perspectives between Hannah and Aaron, Trouble is the story of two teenagers helping each other to move forward in the wake of tragedy and devastating choices. As you read about their year of loss, regret, and hope, you’ll remember your first, real best friend — and how they were like a first love.





Publication Date August 29th 2017 by HarperTeen
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Rebecca Barrow’s bright, honest debut novel about chance, choice, and unconditional love is a heartfelt testament to creating the future you truly want, one puzzle piece at a time.

There’s a box in the back of Audrey’s closet that she rarely thinks about.

Inside is a letter, seventeen years old, from a mother she’s never met, handed to her by the woman she’s called Mom her whole life. Being adopted, though, is just one piece in the puzzle of Audrey’s life — the picture painstakingly put together by Audrey herself, full of all the people and pursuits that make her who she is.

But when Audrey realizes that she’s pregnant, she feels something — a tightly sealed box in the closet corners of her heart — crack open, spilling her dormant fears and unanswered questions all over the life she loves.

Almost two decades ago, a girl in Audrey’s situation made a choice, one that started Audrey’s entire story. Now Audrey is paralyzed by her own what-ifs and terrified by the distance she feels growing between her and her best friend Rose.

Down every possible path is a different unfamiliar version of her life, and as she weighs the options in her mind, she starts to wonder — what does it even mean to be Audrey Spencer?





Publication Date September 10th 2019 by Inkyard Press
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When it comes to being social, Athena Graves is far more comfortable creating a mixtape playlist than she is talking to cute boys — or anyone, for that matter. Plus her staunchly feminist views and love of punk rock aren’t exactly mainstream at St. Ann’s, her conservative Catholic high school.

Then a malicious rumor starts spreading through the halls…a rumor that her popular, pretty, pro-life sister had an abortion over the summer. A rumor that has the power to not only hurt Helen, but possibly see her expelled.

Despite their wildly contrasting views, Athena, Helen, and their friends must find a way to convince the student body and the administration that it doesn’t matter what Helen did or didn’t do…even if their riot grrrl protests result in the expulsion of their entire rebel girl gang.





Publication Date February 23rd 2016 by Wendy Lamb Books
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This deeply moving and authentic debut set in 1970s Alaska is for fans of Rainbow Rowell, Louise Erdrich, Sherman Alexie, and Benjamin Alire Saenz. Intertwining stories of love, tragedy, wild luck, and salvation on the edge of America’s Last Frontier introduce a writer of rare talent.

Ruth has a secret that she can’t hide forever. Dora wonders if she can ever truly escape where she comes from, even when good luck strikes. Alyce is trying to reconcile her desire to dance, with the life she’s always known on her family’s fishing boat. Hank and his brothers decide it’s safer to run away than to stay home — until one of them ends up in terrible danger.

Four very different lives are about to become entangled. This unforgettable William C. Morris Award finalist is about people who try to save each other — and how sometimes, when they least expect it, they succeed.





Publication Date May 26th 2015 by Viking Books for Young Readers
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Mina is seventeen. A virgin. And pregnant.

Mina is top of her class, girlfriend to the most ambitious guy in school, able to reason and study her way through anything. But when she suddenly finds herself pregnant — despite having never had sex — her orderly world collapses. Almost nobody believes Mina’s claims of virginity. Her father assumes that her boyfriend is responsible; her boyfriend believes she must have cheated on him.

As news of Mina’s story spreads, there are those who brand her a liar. There are those who brand her a heretic. And there are those who believe that miracles are possible — and that Mina’s unborn child could be the greatest miracle of all.





Publication Date May 11th 2004 by Speak
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The world is a terrible place not to have a best friend.

Scarlett was always the strong one.

Halley was always content to follow in her wake.

Then Scarlett’s boyfriend died, and Scarlett learned that she was pregnant.

Now Halley has to find the strength to take the lead and help Scarlett get through it.

Because true friendship is a promise you keep forever.





Publication Date October 18th 2011 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
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Jill MacSweeny just wishes everything could go back to normal. But ever since her dad died, she’s been isolating herself from her boyfriend, her best friends – everyone who wants to support her. When her mom decides to adopt a baby, it feels like she’s somehow trying to replace a lost family member with a new one.

Mandy Kalinowski understands what it’s like to grow up unwanted – to be raised by a mother who never intended to have a child. So when Mandy becomes pregnant, one thing she’s sure of is that she wants a better life for her baby. It’s harder to be sure of herself. Will she ever find someone to care for her, too?

As their worlds change around them, Jill and Mandy must learn to both let go and hold on, and that nothing is as easy – or as difficult – as it seems.





Publication Date October 29th 2019 by Feiwel & Friends
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In Girls Like Us, Randi Pink masterfully weaves four lives into a larger story – as timely as ever – about a woman’s right to choose her future.

Four teenage girls. Four different stories. What they all have in common is that they’re dealing with unplanned pregnancies.

In 1972 rural Georgia, Izella is wise beyond her years, but burdened with the responsibility of her older sister, Ola, who has found out she’s pregnant. Their young neighbor, Missippi, is also pregnant, but doesn’t fully understand the extent of her predicament. When her father sends her to Chicago to give birth, she meets the final narrator, Susan, who is white and the daughter of an anti-choice senator.





Publication Date June 27th 2017 by Flatiron Books
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“Troubled.” That’s seventeen-year-old Genesis according to her small New Jersey town. She finds refuge and stability in her relationship with her boyfriend, Peter ― until he abandons her at a Planned Parenthood clinic during their appointment to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. The betrayal causes Gen to question everything.

As Gen pushes herself forward to find her new identity without Peter, she must also confront her most painful memories. Through the lens of an ongoing four act play within the novel, the fantasy of their undying love unravels line by line, scene by scene. Digging deeper into her past while exploring the underground theater world of New York City, she rediscovers a long forgotten dream. But it’s when Gen lets go of her history, the one she thinks she knows, that she’s finally able to embrace the complicated, chaotic true story of her life, and take center stage.

Aftercare Instructions, a debut full of heart and hope, follows Gen on a big-hearted journey from dorm rooms to diners to underground theaters ― and ultimately, right into readers’ hearts.





Publication Date November 5th 2019 by HarperTeen
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A poignant exploration of family and the ties that bind, from New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Hand.

Cassandra McMurtrey has the best parents a girl could ask for; they’ve given Cass a life she wouldn’t trade for the world. She has everything she needs—but she has questions, too. Like, to know who she is. Where she came from. Questions her adoptive parents can’t answer, no matter how much they love her.

But eighteen years ago, someone wrote Cass a series of letters. And they may just hold the answers Cass has been searching for.

Alternating between Cass’s search for answers and letters from the pregnant teen who placed her for adoption, this emotionally resonant narrative is the perfect read for fans of Nina LaCour and Jandy Nelson.





Publication Date June 25th 2019 by Bloomsbury YA
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New York Times bestselling author Brigid Kemmerer pens a new emotionally compelling story about two teens struggling in the space between right and wrong.

When his dad is caught embezzling funds from half the town, Rob goes from popular lacrosse player to social pariah. Even worse, his father’s failed suicide attempt leaves Rob and his mother responsible for his care.

Everyone thinks of Maegan as a typical overachiever, but she has a secret of her own after the pressure got to her last year. And when her sister comes home from college pregnant, keeping it from her parents might be more than she can handle.

When Rob and Maegan are paired together for a calculus project, they’re both reluctant to let anyone through the walls they’ve built. But when Maegan learns of Rob’s plan to fix the damage caused by his father, it could ruin more than their fragile new friendship…

In her compulsively readable storytelling, Brigid Kemmerer pens another captivating, heartfelt novel that asks the question: Is it okay to do something wrong for the right reasons?





Publication Date April 30th 2019 by Inkyard Press
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There’s a first time for everything.

First time playing quarters.

First time spinning the bottle.

First totally hot consensual truck hookup with a superhot boy whose digits I forgot to get.

First time getting pregnant.

Surprised you with that one, didn’t I?

Surprised me, too. I’d planned to spend senior year with my bestie-slash-wifey, Devi Abrams, graduating at the top of my class and getting into an Ivy League college. Instead, Mom and I are moving in with my battle-ax of a grandmother and I’m about to start a new school and a whole new life.

Know what’s more fun than being the new girl for your senior year? Being the pregnant new girl. It isn’t awesome. There is one upside, though — a boy named Leaf Leon. He’s cute, an amazing cook and he’s flirting me up, hard-core. Too bad I’m knocked up with a stranger’s baby. I should probably mention that to him at some point.

But how?

It seems I’ve got a lot more firsts to go.





Publication Date February 25th 2020 by Roaring Brook Press
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From award-winning author Karen Blumenthal, Jane Against The World takes a deep and passionate look at the riveting history of the fight for reproductive rights in the United States ― and how Roe v. Wade was only the beginning.

As the decision of Roe v. Wade continues to be challenged, the fight for reproductive rights is becoming more and more urgent ― making Blumenthal’s eye-opening work even more crucial. Tracing the path to the landmark decision in Roe v. Wade and the continuing battle for women’s rights, Blumenthal examines, in a straightforward tone, the root causes of the current debate around abortion and repercussions that have affected generations of American women.

This revealing book is the perfect tool to facilitate difficult discussions and awareness of a topic that is rarely touched on in school but affects each and every young person. It’s also perfect for fans of Steve Sheinkin and Deborah Heiligman.

This journalistic look at the history of abortion and the landmark case of Roe v. Wade is an important and necessary book.





Publication Date April 9th 2019 by Page Street Kids
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Meredith Hall has a secret. Every night she takes the ferry to meet Ben, her best friend and first love. Though their relationship must remain a secret, they’ve been given a second chance, and Mer’s determined to make it work. She lost Ben once before and discovered the awful reality: she doesn’t know how to be happy without him…

Until Wyatt washes ashore ― a brash new guy with a Texas twang and a personality bigger than his home state. He makes her feel reckless, excited, and alive in ways that cut through her perpetual gloom. The deeper they delve into each other’s pasts, the more Wyatt’s charms become impossible to ignore.

But a storm is brewing in the Outer Banks. When it hits, Mer finds her heart tearing in half and her carefully constructed reality slipping back into the surf. As she discovers that even the most deeply buried secrets have a way of surfacing, she’ll have to learn that nothing is forever ― especially second chances.





Publication Date February 26th 2013 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
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Me: Evelyn, closeted good girl turned bad.
Him: Todd, her supposed Friend with Benefits.
Them: Her cold, distant parents.
It: The baby that’s growing inside her.

When Evelyn decided to piss off her parents with a bad reputation, she wasn’t planning to ruin her valedictorian status. She also wasn’t planning to fall for Todd-the guy she was just using for sex. And she definitely wasn’t planning on getting pregnant. When Todd turns his back on her, Evelyn’s not sure where to go. Can a distant mother, a cheating father, an angry best friend, and a (thankfully) loving aunt with adopted daughters of her own help Evelyn make the heart-wrenching decisions that follow?

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Hi! I’m Jen! I’m a thirty-something introvert who loves nothing more than the cozy comfort of home and snuggling my two rescue cats, Pepper and Pancakes. I also enjoy running, jigsaw puzzles, baking and everything Disney. Few things bring me more joy than helping a reader find the right book for them!

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