“So it’s just me. Fifteen, pregnant, single mum.”
Hannah is fifteen. Typical popular school girl, always trying to get the attention she constantly desires. She’s built herself a reputation, known for fooling around with the guys and following the footsteps of her best friend. She finds herself pregnant, and unable to tell anyone about it and especially can’t say who the father is. Then she encounters the new boy, Aaron, an enigmatic contrasting character who is trying to find his place in a unfamiliar location. As relationships falter and rumours develop, the two begin to reveal more about each other and terrible secrets circulate.
This kind of premise is actually annoyingly realistic. It represents (a small amount) of the sad truth of the youth of society. It’s a little cringy, as I know people from my high schools that went through pregnancy at such a young age. It’s a tough one to perceive. Once I get past the tiresome plot, I can appreciate the genuine representation of the controversial concept that is teen pregnancy. Hannah’s reaction is understandable. She’s confused, and she’s trying to find light on the matter. But I fail to connect to her as a protagonist. She’s just too whiney. I feel like she’s naive and irresponsible. Let’s be real here.. She’s fifteen. That’s a lot to put on the shoulders of a fifteen year old in the middle of her GCSE’s. She does deal with concerns that every teenager does. Friendship and family are a big subject in this, which is refreshing to read.
Then we move onto Aaron. As the story is told with duel perspectives, we do get to delve into his thoughts, although probably not a much as I would have liked. We’re hinted from his first appearance that there’s a lot more to Aaron then first meets the eye. He’s reserved and can’t quite seem to properly fit in with the ‘popular’ crowd. Gossip repeatedly flies around regarding his undisclosed past, and I can’t help but feel sympathy towards him a lot of the time. When he does get round to narrating his viewpoint, he comes across a very sad and downhearted individual, haunted by his past mistakes.
“‘There’s no such thing as ‘just sad””.
I would have liked to have unfolded more of Aaron as a character and maybe focus on his story more than Hannah’s. But that’s just a personal preference. As well as me just not enjoying Hannah’s portrayal.
The writing on a whole, I found to be a bit mundane for my liking. I don’t know if it’s just me slowly growing out of the YA writing style or what, but it prevented me from connecting at all. There were moments when I thought it was intending to be humorous, but it deteriorated quickly.
“This casserole is lovely. The beans look like tiny foetuses. FYI, I’m growing one of those. Foetuses, not beans.”
A slightly comical way to reveal a pregnancy, but I just can’t appreciate the word ‘foetus’ as a descriptive graphic.
It’s different and somewhat individual, yes. But in the end, it felt too similar to ‘Juno’ a lot of the time. And I love that film. There was even a direct reference to the parallel narrative – I impressed myself that I noticed that.
BUT. I do feel like I’m obliged to give this book credit. I’m a sucker for anything contemporary. And the relationship between Aaron and Hannah was a solid one. There wasn’t any romance there, which is what would usually would have seen in more typical YA contemporary. And Hannah’s relationship with her family was a stable one too. She’s lucky to have such understanding and accepting parents.
“Lola’s written ‘BABY’ in chocolate chips on the top. She started too far over and the ‘Y’ is squashed along one side of the cake.”
Can I just say that this is probably the most relatable part for me. It’s brilliant
There are just a lot of elements of the story that I personally didn’t get along with. Even the ending, although somewhat endearing, was immensely unresolved. There was so much that was left lacking closure. What happened to Jay? Did Hannah actually pass her exams? Did Hannah’s parents finally accept Aaron as an important part of her life? And surely Hannah would finally grow up and show more of a definite adjustment to real life.
I get a bit more aggravated with this book, the more I think about it and I’m not even sure why. It’s a shame because I truly thought this had potential for me.
Trouble by Non Pratt
Published: 2014 by Walker Books