Book Review: Trouble by Non Pratt

I received this book courtesy of the First Reads program. I was so excited to read it because it’s been a long time since I read anything with true friendship as the main focus. Also, I wanted to read about a girl who was pregnant without being ready for her pregnancy. Weird curiosity thing of mine.

Anyway, Trouble was… kind of painful to get through, to be honest, for the following reasons:
1) So many people in this book who cheated on their partners or slept with other people’s partners. Let’s make a list, shall we?
– Hannah, one of our MCs and Aaron’s soon-to-be best friend
– Neville, someone Aaron befriends
– Chris, Aaron’s original best friend
– Tyrone, one of their classmates, with Hannah
– Rex, another of their classmates, emotionally
– possibly Hannah’s step-brother Jay
Maybe this doesn’t bother other people, but to me, it makes the characters much less sympathetic. Especially since there were so many of them. How can there be that many people who are okay with cheating in less than 400 pages? Is that even realistic? This was my face: -_________-
2) Too many wasted pages. For about the first hundred pages of the book or so, Hannah and Aaron barely talk. I read about Hannah’s bitchy, sexually-dysfunctional, and annoyingly shallow teenage life half the time. The other half of the time, I read about Aaron’s sullen, sarcastic, secretive life. As a result, I had a hard time buying their friendship for a while when it finally began. It could have been developed so much earlier! The friendship would have been so much deeper if they hadn’t spent a huge portion of the book tentatively dancing around each other’s feelings.
3) Telling when there should have been showing. This book goes by dates, which means that days at a time would be skipped within the book, and Aaron and Hannah would just narrate briefly what had happened. I think this has a lot to do with why their friendship felt lacking. Little things matter. Conversations, everyday hangouts — you can’t suddenly be best friends just because the two of you need each other for a bigger purpose. Your personalities have to fit well together, or it just won’t work. I didn’t see their personalities working together. I saw Aaron being there for Hannah to make amends for what happened in his past. I saw Hannah being there for Aaron because she felt like she owed him that. To me, it didn’t feel like either of them were there for each other because they truly wanted to be. At least, not until the end.
4) Occasionally dodged emotional scenes. Once again, I want to be present, not hear about it afterward.

On a positive note, Hannah and Aaron grew on me. I liked Hannah’s family, too (except for Jay). And Neville, cheating bastard that he was, remained quite a likable character overall: a hilariously cranky old man. The narration is humorous on both sides. It constantly switches back and forth between Hannah and Aaron at reasonable moments, always keeping the suspense up and balancing their importance to the story.

Overall, I can’t really say I recommend this, though. There have to be more compelling (and comforting) books on teen pregnancy.

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