Mandate Pictures (Producers) & Reitman, Ivan (Director) (2009). USA: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Minnesota teen Juno sets up some spontaneous sex with her cute, diffident boyfriend Paulie, and she ends up pregnant. On her way to the abortion clinic she has an encounter with a ‘Pro-life’ classmate, who tells her that her baby currently has fingernails. This thought causes Juno to rethink the abortion, and she decides to give the baby to a childless couple. She and her friend look at “Baby wanted’ ads and she visits Mark and Vanessa. On first visit, Vanessa seems to be a chilly neat freak, while Mark is the cool guy who likes the same movies and music as Juno. Juno happens to see Vanessa at the mall playing with a child, and she appears much warmer in that role. Juno spends some time alone with Mark, and it’s soon evident that he is immature, selfish, and a little creepy. Meanwhile, Paulie is taking another girl to the prom and this bothers Juno more than she thought it would. Mark and Vanessa’s marriage appears to be on shaky ground; Paulie has a big track meet; the baby is due to arrive any minute—Juno has many decisions to make.

Reader’s Annotation
Teen Juno is pregnant and keeping the baby to give it away. She’ll need all her considerable acumen to make the right decisions about the baby’s new parents and her own feelings for Paulie, the baby’s dad.

From the first scene with the bizarre Rainne Wilson pharmacy clerk, I was disoriented but delighted by the self-aware, surreally idiosyncratic dialogue. No real people talk like Juno, but we wish they did. I enjoyed the character of Juno, especially the fact that she was so articulate, and I loved seeing for once the portrayal of a blue collar family who were intelligent, flexible, and loving. Michael Cera and Ellen Page, really the entire cast, were wonderful. The live-animation credits were a pleasure, and the soundtrack is a must-itune. What I did not enjoy: I hardly ever believed that Juno was real—she seemed like a 30 year old’s dream of a teen—a girl with the right taste in music who can take care of herself, thus being free to take care of others, such as her childlike boyfriend and the immature prospective adoptive father. The depiction of Juno’s pregnancy, both emotional and physical, was also a fantasy, with lots of the anxiety and exhaustion airbrushed away.

About the author
Diablo Cody is the self-chosen name of Brooke Busey, which, strangely, also sounds like a made-up name. She is always described as “the former stripper”. She is a blogger and wrote a book about her year of stripping.

Contemporary comedy

Curriculum Ties

Booktalking Ideas
Vanessa—control freak or good mom?
Mark: when it’s creepy not to grow up
Juno and Leah’s slang

Reading Level/Interest Age
12-18 YALSA

Challenge Issues
Teen sex; positive images teen pregnancy; abortion controversy.

Be knowledgeable about the film and prepared to discuss it calmly. Provide complaint form per board policy;
Gather student responses;
2009 YALSA Fabulous Films & Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults

Why Included?
See awards and reviews summarized at

Selection Tools
2009 YALSA Fabulous Films & Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults

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