When I was in high school my social life revolved around the mall. Buying clothes and make up and cheap jewelry wasn’t really about wanting those things, it was just the primary activity of my friend group. Now, I feel that way a little about buying books. I don’t need anymore books. I have plenty of unread ones at home and ARCs to read and the New York library has literally everything … but sometimes it’s just fun to chat and browse through the many amazing book stores in New York City. Which is what I was doing two weeks ago when a friend urged me to buy Trouble, by Non Pratt, at The Strand. Boy am I glad I listened, because this book totally knocked my socks off (not that I need socks due to the preternaturally warm December weather we’re having.
Hannah Shepard, a fifteen-year-old girl with a reputation, is pregnant. Most people assume she doesn’t know who the father is. Aaron Tyler is the new kid in school. He offers to pretend to be the baby’s father … and Hannah says yes. Both Hannah and Aaron have a secret, but somehow this isn’t it.
What I mean to say is that, while of course, much of the book revolves around them keeping this secret. They each have another secret, one they are keeping from the other and (for much of the book) from the reader. The way this plays out is masterfully done and kept me turning pages so fast I forgot I was reading.
Their distinct voices and the care they show for each other in alternative perspectives is addicting. At first I was reading to find out what would happen. But soon I realized I just wanted to spend time with these flawed, messy, characters who felt so real, but also expressed love and friendship in ways I’ve rarely seen in a YA novel.
The conceit of this novel is enough for a story to rest on, but somehow this one doesn’t. The characters, their families, and their histories all felt very real. And for someone who grew up loving the Georgia Nicolson books, it was fun to be back in the clever, quippy, slang-filled world of a British high school (or whatever they call high school over there).
P.S. Merry Christmas Eve to everyone who celebrates. Hope Santa brings good books like this one to you in the morning!