Hannah and Aaron are fifteen-year-old students, attending the same school and studying for their GCSEs, yet they couldn’t be more different. Hannah is quick-witted, smart and loves to have a good time (although not quite as much as her peers like to think she does), but school work is rarely on her mind as much as boys are. Aaron is a quiet boy who prefers to keep to himself, hiding from the world, trying to overcome what happened at his old school. He can barely think about it himself, let alone tell anyone else. He avoids making friends and instead volunteers at a retirement home, looking after an old man, Neville, who doesn’t even seem to like him very much. Hannah and Aaron are unlikely friends, but when Hannah falls pregnant, Aaron steps up and tells everyone that he’s the father.
I’ve said before that I find British young adult contemporary novels to be much gritter than their American counterparts. Although I love the ‘really cute’ or ‘really sad’ contemporary novels that I tend to go for, Trouble is neither. It’s a brilliantly written and wonderfully authentic and realistic novel to add to the top of the pile of this increasingly popular genre. It’s also interesting to see just how different the two covers are. If cigarette smoke was removed from the cover for John Green’s Looking for Alaska, I’d love to know what they’d make of sperm on the UK cover of Trouble! (I think it’s a fantastic cover, by the way.). Trouble stands out because it does not shy away from the awkward, uncomfortable and often harsh reality of teenage life, but it’s still funny and touching, with two endearing characters that you’ll enjoy spending time with.
Trouble is a novel about normal British teenage life, but it looks at a controversial issue: teenage pregnancy. It isn’t judgemental or stereotypical and it avoids being unrealistic or idealistic (which I feel Juno falls into, even though I enjoyed it). It’s easy to stereotype pregnant teenagers, but Non Pratt looks behind these stereotypes to tell the story of two fantastic individuals. I rarely give books five stars, but Trouble is so incredibly honest, tackling a lot of troubling (no pun intended!) issues, not just teenage pregnancy, that I feel it deserves it. Its honesty also comes from its unique narration. Alternative perspectives are not uncommon, but I’ve not come across one that has such short chapters – sometimes only half a page long – and I wouldn’t have expected it to work so well. Trouble seamlessly switches between Hannah and Aaron to gives us a genuine view of what’s happening for both teenagers and shows us how easy it is to misinterpret someone else’s intentions. We watch as both Hannah and Aaron develop as characters – Hannah realises she does not have to be who her friends expect her to be and Aaron starts to enjoy life a little more.
Trouble is an extremely fun, wonderfully British and compassionate novel with a serious side. I started to read Trouble shortly before attending the Walker Blogger Night, just to see what it was like, and before I knew it, I was dropping my current book and taking it to work with me. If you enjoy young adult contemporary, you will want to have Trouble on your shelves. Everyone will be talking about this year and you won’t want to miss out.
Head over to the Trouble Tumblr to find out more about the book!
Published: 6th March 2014 (UK) 10th June 2014 (US)
Publisher: Walker Books (UK) Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (US)
Source: Thank you Walker Books for providing this book for review!