Trouble by Non Pratt
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
First, I have the UK (Teal) edition, and whereas I do really like it now, I know teenage me would have cringed to have a book with sperm so prominently featured on it! The US version is a little more subtle, and the German version (Fuck you Leben!) is quite… to the point? Despite the sperm, this book actually really fits in colour-wise with the rest of my bookshelf (teal is REALLY popular at the moment) so I’m happy.
Trouble is written in dual-narrative between Hannah and Aaron. Hannah is a troublesome 15 year old who has just discovered sex and booze, and Aaron is a student who’s just transferred from another school. Hannah finds herself pregnant unexpectedly, and the book follows her pregnancy (it’s split into three trimesters) as she battles the bump, family issues, and her ex-best friend. She finds a friend in Aaron, who, despite never having slept with Hannah, suggests that he pretend to be her baby’s father.
Trouble is a thought-provoking, and at time, shocking book (in a good way). It’s rare to find teenagers written about honestly and realistically, living in the UK and not off at boarding school/fantasyland. I love unconventional families, and Trouble also features elderly people and parents as real people and not just plot devices to control our main characters. The juxtaposition of Hannah and Aaron is interesting, and there’s a really good cast of supporting characters, from the friendly Gideon and Anj, to angsty older stepbrother Jay.
This is no idealistic teenage fantasy – these teenagers drink and sleep together and fail exams. They lie and keep secrets and make mistakes.
The writing is really good (I read the first page on Kindle then knew I had to get the book), and the story has twists and turns. Overall, a really engaging novel that I read in a few days.
My only issue (and what stops the book getting the hallowed 5 stars) is that it ends quite abruptly (something I’ve found quite common with my reading choices lately). There’s no real resolution of a few plot lines – an epilogue would have been really nice here!
If you’re looking for something realistic from UK YA fiction, you can’t go much wrong with Trouble by Non Pratt.
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