08/02/2015 – I started this book yesterday morning and was a little wary of reading another YA book because I had attempted to read Alice Oseman’s Solitaire the previous day and, for the first time since I started reading YA, I started questioning was I maybe too old? The language used between the characters and the book’s setting just made me feel ancient and I gave up on it after 6 chapters. Anyway, that’s a whole other review and I’m here today to talk about Trouble because it’s restored my faith in the belief that YA is just a perspective and it can be read at any age.
Firstly, we meet Hannah who is 15 and seems to be quite a ‘forward’ girl for her age (dare I say promiscuous?) The gang that she hangs about with are all rather crass in the way that they speak about sex and relationships and the new boy, Aaron, just doesn’t seem to fit into their mindset.
Quite soon into the book, we discover that Hannah is pregnant and, although she knows who the father is, the reader isn’t told. At this stage, because of the abuse and gossip she has to put up with in school, Aaron steps in and tells her that he will claim that the baby is his, even though there has been no physical relationship between them.
I had to admit that there are things in this book that I just couldn’t find realistic. OK, so she’s found a guy decent enough to step up and protect her against the school gossips, even though it isn’t his problem whatsoever. Secondly, he tells his parents the truth (that he, in no way, can be the father of the baby) and they go along with it, even though his father is a teacher in the school they both go to so he’ll have to deal with the gossip too…..? Thirdly, when the name of the father DOES come out, her parents are beyond shocked at the revelation but, at no point, do they mention that this was actually illegal, being as the father is 18 and Hannah only just 15. Instead, they get over their shock in what seems to be two pages of the book and accept that this has happened. It was all just too perfectly-dealt-with, in my opinion, and actually made me laugh in disbelief a couple of times when reading that this would ever happen in real life.
I do, however, give the author credit for other parts of the book – the teens hanging out in the park, drinking illicit alcohol is very real. There are problems with this in lots of towns all over the country. The “popular” clique at the school who don’t think of the consequences of stirring up/making up trouble for other students, as long as they keep their position as the cool kids; most schools can boast a group like this. The dialogue, also, is definitely true to real life and, although it was sort of skipped over quite quickly, as a mother myself, I found myself agreeing with some of the thoughts going through Hannah’s mind when she was in labour. I kept thinking, “Yes, I hear ya! I’ve been there and thought exactly that!”
All in all, I found Trouble to be a story that was easily read and was mostly true to life. Yes, there were some parts of the story that made me say “as if!” but they didn’t annoy me to the point that I felt like throwing the book aside. I loved Hannah. On the back on the book, it describes her as “funny and smart” I would agree with both these things. I liked her attitude and, although she wasn’t intelligent-smart, she was street-smart and could stand up for herself. We see this clearly in the confrontation with Marcy, halfway through the book. Aaron, also, is very likeable. He’s a decent, hardworking young fella and, when it comes out about his past, I felt myself feeling so sorry for everything that he has had to put up with.
I enjoyed this quick read and would definitely recommend it to others. I’d say it would be perfect for mid to late teens, although I’m 36 and I enjoyed it from an older perspective, sort of a been there and lived-through-it view 😉 (although I have to stress that I was 21 when my first baby was born and that was a frightening enough experience! I honestly can’t imagine what a 15 year old must feel like and I wished the author had touched more on Hannah’s inner journey; the few insights that were given didn’t go into too much description)
I’ll be putting this back on my shelves and will probably re-read in the future, although I maybe wont be giving it to my young teens to read just yet, simply because of the crude language and the casual way that sex is portrayed throughout.
I’m giving it 4/5
Hannah is smart and funny.
She’s also fifteen and pregnant.
Aaron is the new boy at school.
He doesn’t want to attract attention.
So why does Aaron 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.”