Plot: Hannah’s smart and funny … she’s also fifteen and pregnant. Aaron is new at school and doesn’t want to attract attention. So why does he offer to be the pretend dad to Hannah’s unborn baby? Growing up can be trouble but that’s how you find out what really matters.
My verdict: A funny contemporary view on the taboo of teenage pregnancy, blended families, where you end up labelled by teachers judged by friends and is condemned to being a disappointment and outcast all at 15. I applaud the author for not reducing the characters to the British stereotypes people and instead showing a shocked but supportive family and not every teenage pregnancy is a result of their social background. Non Pratt talks about prevalent issues such as a healthy attitude towards sex, the influence of social media and the clique culture in schools. Pratt doesn’t resort to the characters in the novel to be party animals either but young people with ambitions. This pregnancy shows the softer side of Hannah and the turning point in the novel where she realises this doesn’t have to the end of her life, she doesn’t need a dozen fake friends but instead chooses a small circle of trustworthy people. She doesn’t need her absent fathers lame excuses for not being around but instead chooses to seek solace with the family that she had got in her corner.
With regards to her life before the pregnancy she was a teenage girl wanting some excitement and attention from someone she deeply cares about however wrong it is. Non Pratt turns the novel on its head by disregarding the old stereotype of boy pressuring girls to have sex when in Hannah’s case it’s the other way around! We how teenage girls feel the need to claim their man (Marcy and Katie) and use to get one over on the other girl and with this particular group of girls all they care about are their looks and getting a boys attention (Again predominantly Marcy and Katie) where their so bitchy towards one another they don’t have a solid foundation for friendship (Unlike Hannah’s friends) and would rather be fake towards each other for the sake of popularity.
Aaron sees through all the cliques and the social class and sees Hannah for who she is and not the labels that get casually thrown around. Hannah thinks that sex equals love and affection whereas Aaron doesn’t and she’s thrown by that at first but then comes round to his way of thinking.
Through Aaron’s perspective we can see how fragile a boys mental health can be and through each chapter as we see him try to help Hannah we learn why and that’s the reason he’s doing it as well as caring for her he wants to be able to heal from his own trauma and slowly Hannah’s perceptive evolves and she sees that by him helping her she’s the distraction but as she navigates this trick friendship she realises that some people have it a lot worse. She helps him realise that he can’t bury his head in the sand anymore and face facts to be able to move on.
An engaging, emotional and at times warming novel about two teenagers trying to navigate the adult world and how bridging the gap with solid friendship and understanding can make things better.
The ultimately message of this novel is that nobody’s perfect and just because you screwed up in the past doesn’t mean you don’t have a bright future. You need to let the guilt go.
Fans of John Green and Cammie McGovern will love this novel told from two different perspectives joining forces in one experience to piece themselves back together.