Trouble by Non Pratt
Release Date: June 10, 2014
Publisher: Simon & Schuster | Simon & Schuster BFYR
Pages: 384 pages
Source & Format: Library; Hardcover
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Summary (from Goodreads)
In this dazzling debut novel, a pregnant teen learns the meaning of friendship—from the boy who pretends to be her baby’s father.
When the entire high school finds out that Hannah Shepard is pregnant via her ex-best friend, she has a full-on meltdown in her backyard. The one witness (besides the rest of the world): Aaron Tyler, a transfer student and the only boy who doesn’t seem to want to get into Hannah’s pants. Confused and scared, Hannah needs someone to be on her side. Wishing to make up for his own past mistakes, Aaron does the unthinkable and offers to pretend to be the father of Hannah’s unborn baby. Even more unbelievable, Hannah hears herself saying “yes.”
Told in alternating perspectives between Hannah and Aaron, Trouble is the story of two teenagers helping each other to move forward in the wake of tragedy and devastating choices. As you read about their year of loss, regret, and hope, you’ll remember your first, real best friend—and how they were like a first love.
Thoughts on Trouble
I spotted Trouble at the library one day, loved the cover and grabbed it on a whim. I sat down to read a few chapters the next day – just to sample it – and ended up reading the whole book. It’s not the type of book that I’d typically gravitate toward because it’s a little heavier and more raw, but I’m glad I read it.
Trouble focuses on Hannah and Aaron, two high school students. Hannah has just found out she’s pregnant… but who is the father? Aaron has just transferred to the school, and he’s kind of a loner. He’s got a lot of pain in his past, but no one really knows his story. When the whole school finds out about Hannah’s pregnancy, Aaron offers to pretend to be the dad and Hannah agrees to the plan.
Overall, I was a little torn on the two main characters. These are both teenagers who very clearly act and think like teenagers, even when that means you sometimes want to shake some sense into them. I enjoyed Aaron more than Hannah, but I struggled with both at times. I don’t know whether to applaud Pratt for depicting a girl who is so unlike most YA heroines and yet still feels realistic… or admit that I was really annoyed with Hannah for most of the book. She was so frustrating in her teenager-ness, if that makes sense. And I really wanted more character progression overall. There didn’t seem to be much growth for her or Aaron – they are both relatively the same at the end of the book as they were at the beginning. Their lives have changed, but I’m not totally sure that they changed at all.
The plot focuses a lot on the build-up – who is the father, when will people find out Hannah’s pregnant, how will she deal once the baby is here, etc. There’s all this rising action, but I never felt like I got any resolution. You find out the father, but you don’t really see the fallout of the revelation. You find out about Aaron’s past, but you never get to see him actually deal with it. He shares it, but there wasn’t emotional closure there. I can handle a slower plot if the writing or characters steals my heart, but that didn’t really happen for me in Trouble. There are a lot of things introduced in this book that just have little to no resolution. I can appreciate an open ending when it makes sense or has emotional closure, but this just felt messy to me overall.
And honestly, I had so many questions about some of the things happening in this book. I got lost in the story, but I became more aware of my issues with it after I finished reading. Certain things just don’t seem realistic to me – like that Aaron’s parents would let him pretend to the be father of Hannah’s baby. There are also real-world consequences surrounding the identity of the father, but those are never addressed. Personally, I felt uncomfortable with some of the sexual content in the book. I don’t want to pretend that teens aren’t having sex or having these conversations, but I still found it a bit too much at times. Some of my issues are related more to me as a reader, but a few are things that just didn’t add up when you think of them in a real-world context.
My immediate reaction when I finished Trouble was that I enjoyed, and I did while I was reading it. But my feelings changed a bit as I thought about it more. I liked that it felt different and so unique, and I was certainly caught up in the story because I finished it so quickly! I think the addictiveness of the book and the emotional moments at the end had me closing the book on a more positive note than I feel today. While it wasn’t quite right for me in the end, there was still something refreshing about this book!
“It's too much to be forgiven when all you want is to be blamed.”