Trouble by Non Pratt
In a nutshell. Hannah gets knocked up at 15 and the new boy, Aaron, offers to be the baby daddy. My instant reaction was a little something like…
And then I read the first line.
And the first page:
You get the idea. The information is slowly released and the pace is fast. There’s a beginning, a middle and an end that quite cleverly falls in line with Hannah’s first, second and third trimesters. The only thing I can fault is that the Katie debacle is never addressed. It feels like it’s left hanging but I guess it’s not a major issue. If you read the first seven pages and you don’t like it, then maybe it’s not the book for you, and in that case…
But if you read it and enjoyed the story, comment below. Even if you didn’t, tell me why.
The narration is told by both Hannah and Aaron. Hannah as narrator is spot-on, demonstrating a sometimes slutty, sometimes sassy attitude. Her vulnerable moments are gold and pull at your heartstrings (before I read this, I didn’t even know I HAD heartstrings!). It makes you laugh and it very nearly made me cry. Aaron’s narration is as distinct as Hannah’s though at times, he uses rather advanced vocabulary for a 15-year-old but that aside, it’s flawless.
The characterization is outstanding. I’m not going to rattle on and on about how (im)perfect her characters are or how Hannah is probably one of my favorite YA characters of the year. Instead, I’m going to quote some of the lines that stuck with me:
- “Tilly has a boyfriend, but their relationship brings a whole new meaning to the phrase “taking it slowly”. They’re practically taking it backwards” – HANNAH
- “Katie overshares to the point that I could play pick-the-ex by looking at nothing more than snapshots of their penises.” – HANNAH
- “It’s Mark Grey that answers and he’s so drunk he doesn’t bother talking to our faces, just our tits.” HANNAH
- “It’s a bad sign when you don’t understand the first question. Even worse if you don’t understand the first fucking page.” – HANNAH
- “I didn’t recognize the boy, but he sounded very pleased with what was happening – my best mate bouncing around on him like a space hopper, her back to me.” – HANNAH
- “I can smell myself, which is not a good sign, but I’m past caring. I guess that’s not a great sign either.” – AARON
- “‘So… what now? You popped your cherry on your holibobs and now you’ve confessed it’ll magically grow back?” – AARON
- “Mom picks me up after Physics… Watching The Big Bang Theory with Robert was a waste of time.” – HANNAH
Quality of Writing: 20/20
Aaron’s poetic descriptions are balanced by Hannah’s crude but real observations. Both characters represent two very different kinds of teenager and I think the writing makes the issue approachable and teaches a lesson while still managing to entertain.
- “Katie then launches into a full-blown character assassination, as she adds some last-minute touches to her make-up.”
- “She’s wearing a woolly beanie pulled low to cover her ears and it’s pushing the tip of her fringe across her face like a bird’s wing.”
I wish I got a little more scene-setting. I know where I am most of the time but I still want to be able to visualize the environment. I get enough to piece together the kind of places Hannah’s and Aaron’s journeys take them on but I want to know more.
Comparative Literature: 10/10
I haven’t read any other books on pregnancy (and I’m guessing I’m not exactly the target market) but I loved every minute of this book. It reminds me of Jay Asher’s 13 Reasons Why in the profound and haunting way he deals with suicide and Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower where Charlie confronts his emotional and traumatic repression, his social anxieties and his depression. What’s more, Pratt’s depiction of pregnancy is educational, humorous, tragic and so much more.
NOW, to Skip to the GOOD BIT:
- Sharp, dual narrators that depict two different kinds of teenager
- Secrets and lie that are waiting for the opportune time to shock the reader
- Fully-realized, relatable, human characters
- A story that will ensnare you with the first line and never let you go
Overall Score: 95/100
Books You May Also Like:
Popular by Maya Van Wagenen – for an underdog’s story about making friends and what it means to be popular
13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher – for another story that deals with the another big social issue – suicide – and will change the way you think