Overall Impression: Smart, hilarious and packed to the brim with emotion. I’m wrapped up in a feels blanket and I don’t ever want to come out!!! (Please don’t make me.)
From the first moment I saw this novel, everything about it seemed to call to me; the bright blue pastel cover, the teen pregnancy subject matter and the mysterious blurb with its tantalising hook. As it turned out, Trouble not only met my expectations but succeeded them more than I could have ever predicted. It’s given me the worst book hangover since The Hunger Games, I couldn’t pick up another book for weeks! I’m a bit scared to review it if I’m honest and I’ve kind of been avoiding it because I don’t know how I can do it justice! I’ve written and rewritten this review endlessly because I have too many feelings and I want it to be right. It still isn’t right, but here goes nothing!
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?
Trouble is a dual perspective book that switches between the point of view of Hannah, a girl more interested in partying and the opposite sex than focusing on her GCSEs, and Aaron, the quiet new boy in school who just wants to keep his head down and pass by unnoticed. Coincidentally, I’ve been reading a lot of multiple perspective books lately but none have been as smart, snappy or compelling as Trouble. The POV alternates almost every page which not only means you quickly root for each character individually, but you also get to see how their impressions of each other change as events unravel. Both voices felt distinct and different which meant I didn’t find myself impatient to return to a favourite. Additionally, since Trouble doesn’t really have chapters it has an almost addictive quality where you fall into the trap of saying ‘just one more page’ before devouring the book for another two hours, it’s absolutely brilliant.
Pratt is an incredibly witty writer with a sharp sense of humour and a flair for sarcasm, but also has a gritty, tell all approach. She’s not one to shy away from swearing or innuendo, yet she’s also bold and eerily insightful with a knack for pulling at your heart strings and then yanking them out completely. At points Trouble left me an emotional mess! There were so many ups and downs that sometimes I found myself crying and snorting with laughter all at once. I should probably note that this novel is very British which could be a barrier to some. But for me, it made the novel feel all the more realistic, especially the depiction of school!
It’s safe to say the plot of Trouble had me hooked from the beginning. I read it in TWO DAYS. Becky doesn’t read books in two days, it just doesn’t happen! But this novel made me a woman possessed; I began it mid day on a Thursday and didn’t let go of it until 5am on Friday (except for the essentials like eating and peeing). After closing the last page I spent half an hour smiling at my ceiling like a lunatic replaying the story over and over in my head because I was too amped up on feels to sleep. Trouble poses key questions throughout the narrative that propel you through the story at immense speed. How did Hannah get into so much trouble? Who is the baby’s real father? Why is a fake baby daddy needed? Why did Aaron the new boy at school volunteer his services? The need to know only intensifies the more invested you become in the characters. At times Pratt gets tantalising close to giving you the answers, and then rips them away again with what probably constitutes a look of glee on her face. The story only got more riveting as it went on and took twists and turns that left me reeling.
Non Pratt tackles a wide array of controversial issues in this novel, underage sex, teen pregnancy and the importance of consent to name a few. As you can probably tell from the front cover, this book is up front and doesn’t sugar coat anything. It’s one of the most honest stories I’ve ever read yet it still remains uplifting and laugh out loud entertaining throughout. What’s truly remarkable is that it doesn’t at any point feel like an ‘issue’ book. I went into Trouble expecting to be hit over the head with teen pregnancy drama and possibly a few condescending morals but what I got couldn’t have been further from it. Trouble doesn’t seem like a teenage pregnancy book because the emphasis is placed elsewhere, on Hannah’s teenage woes, her relationship with her family and how it shifts, her heartwarming friendship with the new boy at school, her epiphanies about who her true friends are and the discovery of her self worth. There is the occasional offhand reference to pregnancy symptoms and while much of the conflict in Hannah’s life stems from her predicament, her situation does not define her. She breaks the stereotype we have in our heads of how a teen like Hannah would act. If I had to summarise what this book was about teen pregnancy wouldn’t be my first thought, it’s so much more about friendship, family, forgiveness and self empowerment.
Even taking into consideration the brilliant, snarky writing and compelling plot, it’s the characters that truly make Trouble shine. Hannah is a fierce protagonist with a never-ending amount of sass. At first I was worried I wouldn’t like her because she didn’t appear to treat herself or others with much respect and made a lot of cringe worthy comments and decisions (although it was nice to have a YA protag that wasn’t totally innocent for once). Let’s just say that she’s the kind of girl I would have avoided in school and looked at with a level of disdain (perhaps unfairly). However, I was soon completely sucked into Hannah’s life and the further I got into the story the more her ballsy exterior was peeled back to reveal a caring, smart and strong teen. Hannah has to deal with slut shaming, taunting at school and the cold shoulder from her parents all the while coming to terms with the idea of becoming a young mother, yet she makes every step with her head held high, confident and self-assured with the decisions she makes even though she is scared of where they will take her. It was so inspiring.
Aaron, the second protagonist in Trouble was equally hilarious and fascinating. As the new guy, he looks at the school from an outsiders perspective and is highly disparaging and resistant to the degrading school hierarchy. He’s reluctant to make new friends and the highlight of his week is spending time at an ‘old folks home’ talking to a rude, short-tempered old man. He seems to have insight beyond his years and soon picks up on things about Hannah that the others may have missed. Although it seems to go against everything he is trying to achieve, Aaron decides to help Hannah through her turmoil almost becoming her protector. As implausible as it sounds, the relationship works and is entirely believable. Aaron soon becomes a deep and complex character with so much hidden pain from his past that the reader can slowly unpick. Seeing the intense relationship between Hannah and Aaron grow was one of the best aspects of this novel, and I loved that although there was chemistry and flirtatious banter it was about their friendship first and foremost.
There’s some great minor characters in Trouble too, Katie, Hannah’s rebel best friend who is forever concerned with her reputation and looks, Jay, Hannah’s perfect step-brother who stands as a reminder of her own short-comings and even Hannah’s mum who works at a family planning clinic. (I know, awks right?)
I feel like this review is painfully inadequate at expressing how mesmerising this book is, (especially as I tried so hard to avoid spoilers) but all I can do is hope it’s piqued your interest enough for you to check it out! Trouble is one of the best books I’ve read all year and if I could only describe it in one word I would probably pick unconventional. It looks at controversial topics face on making you laugh the entire way though, it challenges your beliefs, but ultimately, it’s a book with immense heart and I feel like anyone who doesn’t read it will be missing out. I would recommend it to EVERYONE 15+. Please pick it up IMMEDIATELY.
Yours Sincerely, Becky.
Writing Style: 5/5
Character Development: 5/5
Would I recommend this book? Absofreakin’ lutely!
P.S. If you want to find out more, I wrote a spoiler free guest post for a feature sending Hannah and Aaron on a dream bookish date here!
30 thoughts on “Trouble by Non Pratt Review 5/5”
As if I wasn’t already coveting this book!!
It sounds so good, I just want to absorb it into my head like now. I may just have to take a trip over to the book depository and get it.
Hahaa, I know sorry! 😛
That’s because it is SOOOOO GOOOOD. Do it, Leah, buy the book! You won’t regret it. 😉
(I’m such a bad influence when it comes to books.)
Yay you finally reviewed it! Go, you! I want to pick this up, but I would feel so incredibly awkward carrying a book with that cover (though I must say it’s very clever).
*goes to look for other covers*
Aha! There we go: https://www.goodreads.com/book/photo/18689739-trouble . Perfect!
Yes, finally! It only took me about 2 months, LOL. I am so behind on reviews it’s unreal. I’m reading so fast this summer that it’s been tough to keep up. 🙂
I adore the cover of Trouble, but I can also totally understand why you might not want to carry it around in public! Apparently there was a lot of debate and concern about it when the design was made, but it was also the one everyone liked the most! (More about it here if you’re interested http://trouble-book.tumblr.com/post/82881890804/designing-trouble-part-3)
I do find it intriguing that the more conservative cover is the American one (I think), it says quite a lot about cultural differences! I’m quite surprised that UK was for it actually.
It’s interesting to see how famous authors were discussing the cover. It really is an interesting concept, but it all comes down to whether you’d be comfortable reading it in public or not. I think I’d be embarrassed handing it over at the cashier in a bookshop, haha.
Yeah, I feel USA likes to pretend to be conservative, but it is still home to many corrupt people. >.>
Yeah definitely, I found it interesting to see all the varying opinions and how the design changed over time!
Ha, so true. I must admit there are some paranormal romance covers out there that I hate carrying around because I know I’m going to get ‘the look’. A few times I’ve find myself trying to kind of angle the book so people can’t see it, LOL. But then I have a mini argument with myself about how I’m never going to see most of those people again anyway. 🙂
It honestly confuses me what the USA do and don’t accept, they seem SO accepting in ways the UK isn’t, but then there’s topic like this where they seem to swing in the opposite direction. Tis very confusing!
Oh yeah! I’ve totally been waiting for this review! This book sounds amazing. The last teen pregnancy book I read was Blue Moon and I kind of hated it. It was very moralistic plus…there were gypsies? Why?
Totally checking this book out ASAP
Huzzar! Sorry it took so long, Bec! Because I loved this book so much I really struggled to put my thoughts into words for a long time. Better late than never, eh? I’ve never heard of Blue Moon but it sounds like you had a bad experience! I don’t like moralistic or preachy. Trouble is neither of those thank goodness, it’s phenomenal. 🙂
YAY. So happy to hear that, you won’t regret it. 😀
I totally understand book hangovers. Stoner gave me a terrible one. So don’t apologise! Taking your time means the book is totally worth it. I so wish I had infinite cash reserves. I have so many books I want to buy at the moment! My Maze Runner trilogy arrived yesterday. All three for $27!
I can’t go into Dymocks at the moment >.<
As soon as I get paid, I will buy it!
Oooh, I’ll have to look out for that one!
I wish I had infinite cash too, wouldn’t it be nice? 😛
No way, that’s so funny. I just bought The Maze Runner boxset as well for £9.99! I’ve read The Maze Runner which was great, it wasn’t t perfect but really enthralling and it get your blood pumping! Now I’m diving straight into the second book because I need to know what happens next. I hope you enjoy it 😀
Well done Becky :-)a truly remarkable review your heart shines through in every well chosen and crafted word, summing up the joy of not only non’s book, but any of the books we truly love. ❤ ❤ ❤
Thank you, Steve! I’m glad you enjoyed the review and found it heartfelt. I’m glad you think I did Trouble and books everywhere justice.
Whoa!!! Two days?!?! Becky, who claims she’s a painfully slow reader read this in two days?!?! I must get this book now!!!! How’s that for exclamation marks?
Two days indeed! Crazy right? It normally takes me a week to read a 300ish page book if not more (most of the time more), so this was some kind of weird anomaly! DOOOO IT, CINDY. You’ll love Trouble. 😀
I highly approve the the exclamation use. 😉
Tee hee 🙂
Two days for a book and it gets 5/5? Wow. I’m reading this one!
As an aside, in 2011 I bookmarked a story about a teenage girl who *fakes* a pregnancy to see the reaction of her friends (Story idea!). Sounds like she went through the same as the character in Trouble. (seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2014846495_apusfaketeenpregnancy1stldwritethru.html?syndication=rss)
You so need to pick this one up, Tony, I think you’d love it. 😀
That’s an awesome story! I can only imagine all the horrible things she found out about the human condition. I bet she got some snide comments even from people she wouldn’t expect it from, you never know how people are going to react. What a brilliant way to make a stand!
Bravo. I’d seen this book cover pop up in the Amazon sidebar ages ago but I didn’t really pay a huge amount of attention to it. However, based on your review, I’ve purchased Trouble and I’m really looking forward to giving it a go! It sounds like my kind of book 😉 Your excitement is infectious.
Fabulous review as always!
Yes, I’m so surprised that this book hasn’t received more attention because it certainly deserves it! I guess it’s because it hasn’t had as much of a marketing campaign behind it in comparison to some of the super big releases. That’s why I’m making sure I shout about it. 🙂
YAYYYY! That awesome news! I have a feeling you will love it, I think the characters and their sense of humour will really appeal to you! I can’t wait to see what you think.
Thank you. 😀
Damn those essentials that interfere with reading! That review was stellar, Becky, nothing inadequate about it. I like characters with sass. Regarding what you say about the book being very British, especially when it comes to depicting school life, that’s something I’d definitely be interested in knowing more about. I read so many books and watch so much TV set in American high schools and colleges, that I probably know way more about American school life than I do British.. Love the cover too.
Awwh, thank you so much, Emma. 🙂 For some reason I really struggled with writing this one. I always find it tough to review the books I love because I want to do them justice, and for some reason this one was particularly hard.
I love characters with sass too!
So happy to hear your interested in the British aspect of it. Like you, most of the stuff I read and watch is American and it was so refreshing to read something that reflected more of my own culture. It’s very accurate at depicting teen life, the good, the bad and downright cringey. I love American fiction but variety is good too. 🙂 Hope you decide to pick it up!
I totally get your struggle when it comes to reviewing books you adore. I felt the same trying to get my thoughts into some semblance of coherency after reading Outlander.
I loved your review of Outlander, it made me want to read it!
Ah great review! (I’ve been waiting so long to hear your thoughts!) I agree so much with all of this, especially with how it’s not an “issue” book even though it features a largely controversial “issue”- it really didn’t feel like a teen pregnancy book! I also, like you, was afraid I wouldn’t like Hannah (because of her seeming lack of self-respect) and she wasn’t someone I would’ve ran in the same circles with, but I think that goes to show how awesome of a writer Non Pratt is, that Hannah ended up having a lot more depth and I saw past some of her bad decisions to like her at her core. It was a little hard for me to get into because like you said, it IS really British but after a few chapters I got used to it (and it was such an interesting change compared to all the American YA books I read) and I just loved how honest and uncensored this book is. Amazing review!
Thank you! Yes definitely, I mean, I had always heard people say in reviews ‘this is an issue book that doesn’t feel like an issue book’ but I’d never come across a novel where that was actually the case until Trouble. For instance with TFiOS people were like ‘ohh it’s not just a cancer book’, but that’s exactly what I got the whole way through!
I’m glad it wasn’t just me that was being judgey about Hannah. 🙂 I completely agree, it does show Pratt’s skill that she was able to make us root for someone that in real life we might not get on with that well.
Ah yes, I was curious to hear how you would cope with the British aspect! I wasn’t sure it that would affect your enjoyment of it (as someone who is British) because I’ve heard some Americans say they struggle with British books. But I read s LOT of American fiction and I’ve never really had a problem with it. (Although, that’s probably because I also mostly watch American films and TV so it seems totally normal, sometimes I even find myself using American words rather than British ones, LOL.)
Thank you. 😀
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Just read the first paragraph of this review and have ordered the book now – will read the rest after! 🙂 Thanks for the recommendation Becky!
Ohh wow really? That’s great! I hope Trouble manages to get you out of your reading slump. If anything can do it, this book can. 🙂
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