So I had sex with Fletch again last night.
Hannah and Aaron might both be taking their GCSEs but they’re on very different paths in life. Aaron is the new boy to the school and though he appears to be fitting in with the sports crowd ok, he has a past he’s not willing to discuss whereas everyone knows Hannah’s business! She’s loud, brash and loves nothing more than hanging out in the park making ‘friends’ with the boys in her year. But when she suddenly finds herself pregnant, a partnership strikes up between the unlikely two as they support each other in more ways than they ever thought possible.
Trouble is a charmingly honest and realistically told YA novel that is undeniably British and, in a market surrounded by high schools and college applications, is very refreshing! When giving your teen protagonists a voice, some YA authors are far off the mark in terms of language and the style of dialogue used – it can be dangerous false and patronising – but Non Pratt has absolutely hit the mark! She juggles two very different teen voices and their struggles to survive effortlessly. There is grit and honesty that comes from both Hannah and Aaron that is a rare find in YA school-based novels. Not only that, she creates two characters that develop and become whole the more you read the book.
Despite not being like either Hannah or Aaron at school (I’m afraid I was that annoying mix of swot and sports), there was something universally relatable about each of their stories. I think everyone pretends to be someone they’re not at school, just to survive and fit in, and the pressure that creates can become enormous. Each character deals with the expectation of perfection in a very different way and I love that Pratt puts as much effort in her minor characters as she does in her protagonists (SPOILER – Katie is a complete b****!).
Trouble is a bold and gutsy debut that explores the world of teen pregnancy with a true-to-life attitude. Secrets, lies and sex are weaved together to form a hilarious and moving narrative that entertains and grips the reader for the full term of the book!
ALSO I love it when a brilliant book is reflected in an equally brilliant cover and the UK cover for Trouble is superb! There is a clear risk putting sperm on the front of a YA title – could it be seen as pregnancy title? Will teens dare to pick up a title with sperm emblazoned on the front? – but I think it’s a risk that has paid off no end! Jack Noel, the designer, writes about his cover journey in four parts on the book’s Tumblr page (Part 1 here) and it is definitely worth a read.