I need to preface this review with the following statement. I adore Non. She is one of my favourite people and sometimes I feel we actually share the same reading brain. I loved the books she commissioned when working for Catnip. We meet up from time to time (not enough though) and just talk about books for hours at a time and then stroke said books in foyles. When she first told me about her book I knew I'd love it and I am so so so pleased today to be able to offer you all this review. Yes you could argue I'm terribly biased but even if I didn't adore Non as much as I do I would adore this book (then probably adore her from afar instead).
A boy. A girl. A bump. Trouble.
Hannah’s smart and funny ... she’s also fifteen and pregnant. Aaron is new at school and doesn’t want to attract attention. So why does he offer to be the pretend dad to Hannah’s unborn baby?
Growing up can be trouble but that’s how you find out what really matters.
I have been waiting to read trouble for a long time and I am delighted to say it didn't disappoint. Trouble is the story of Hannah and Aaron. Hannah is 15 and pregnant and Aaron is the new boy at school who pretends to be the father of her child. It was the perfect read for me for several reasons.
Firstly the voices of both Aaron and Hannah are spot on. The way they think, the way chat about things with their friends captures all those thoughts and feelings of a 15 year old and it draws you completely in. As a result I was the with them from page one and had to keep reading as I needed to know more about these characters. Hannah is clever and funny and whilst she does necessarily use it in the traditional way at school you really get the feeling that she is the sort of girl you would have wanted to hang out with when you were at school. Aaron is absolutely adorable and I loved his loyalty and finding out more about his past and why he was the way he was. Not only were the two main characters spot on the whole host of secondary characters from the other kids at school to Aaron elderly friend Neville (whom I must admit I have a special soft spot for) were brilliantly well done too.
For me this book is all about friendship and the main characters learning what it is to be a good friend. As the book goes on you get to see shifts in the social groups both Hannah and Aaron associate with and it is brilliant to see them at that last stage of high school going into adulthood as they suss out which of their friends are true friends and deserve the loyalty the other can offer.
One thing I do love about this book is the way in which teenage sex is handled. It isn't judgmental and sees sex as an ordinary part of growing up and teenage life as it should be. It doesn't have a preachy message about it either although it does comment on the way in which society can look down on teenage girls who enjoy doing the deed. I also loved how one of the characters was gay but he wasn't included as a gimmick or put on a pedestal but treated normally. We need more of that in YA fiction please.
Ultimately for me the best part of the book was the relationship between Hannah and Aaron and seeing how it develops over the course of the book. I loved how they bonded but still fell out and argued like proper teenagers. I loved seeing Hannah through Aaron's eyes and I loved seeing how they supported one another through some really though situations.
All in all a fantastic read, heart warming whilst dealing frankly with serious issues in a sensitive and funny way. I, for one, will be recommending this far and wide for a long time to come