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Figgy O'Connell

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Trouble - Non Pratt
"I have preternaturally good hearing," he says.
"You what?" I have no idea what he means.
"I have exceptionally good hearing."
I will only decide how much of a wanker he is once he answers my next question. "Why'd you snort when I mentioned Fletch?"
"Peter Naturally good at snorting, are you?" I try out his fancy phrase, teasing him, and I see him hide a smile. Not that much of a wanker, then."

When I saw the blurb for this book, something about it gave me grabby hands, even though it’s not my usual fare.

When it arrived, I realised that it was written in first person, from the point of view of two characters, and I felt very wary of how it might read.

I picked this book up and started reading less than twenty-four hours ago and, with the exception of a five hour sleep(which I refused to let happen until 5am), I couldn’t put it down.

Now, there’s nothing particularly Earth shattering about the events in the story. There is a rather uncomfortable, hard to work out relationship between two of the characters, but it’s something you do hear about happening every so often, though maybe not as often as teen pregnancy.

But there are so many things in this story that spoke to me, so many things that I had experienced in some form or another.

- I spent a lot of my teen years living in a house with my mother, my step father, and my younger half sisters.

- I ALWAYS put my homework off until the last minute.

- I’ve experienced the shitty “ex-best-friend” situation, though not as drastically as Hannah did.

- I’ve felt the sense of recklessness that can come when you see the effect your flirting or other actions can have on a guy(or girl).

- I’ve felt that sense of reckless power pulling me into a self-destructive spiral, especially when I was emotional over something else, and needed to feel in control of something.

- I had older step-siblings who I liked to act super grown-up around, because I thought they were really cool and wanted them to think the same of me.

Really, spoiler.
The fact that Hannah’s baby is the child of her step brother--her eighteen or nineteen year old step brother, to her just barely fifteen years--is a tough subject to broach. There will be cries of rape and coercion from some readers, just as there would be in the real world, but it goes deeper than that. It links into the older step-sibling thing, of wanting their approval, and of being a teenage girl who is just discovering the power her developing body can have over guys.

Yes, he should have known better, and he shouldn’t have let that happen, but I applaud the author for capturing this real side of step-sibling relationships, and taking it further than most, but certainly not all, real step-sibling relationships go, working it into this incredibly real, compelling story.

And I loved the two main characters, who each had their own unique voice in the telling of the story:

He’s not perfect, he’s made his mistakes, and sometimes he makes some pretty bad choices, but he’s so damn sweet and chivalrous.

I started out feeling a bit sorry for her.

I could see that the way she was acting was likely a self-destructive lashing out, but once the rug was pulled out from under her, and she had to find out where she belonged in her old school, now that everyone knew she was pregnant.

She’s not overly studious, but she’s a good person at heart, and once she got over the superficial stuff, and caring how other people perceived her and how much power she had over them, she seemed to be much happier, despite that whole “uncomfortable and pregnant” thing.

There are things in this book that I know won’t appeal to everyone, and I can see people finding the slut shaming too much, but I felt like it worked well within the story, though I didn’t quite understand why Hannah was seen as a “bicycle” and her best friend Katie, who made the rounds just as much, was seen as so much more respectable.

I also noticed the use of American spelling, but British slang, which was a bit odd. I felt at home with the British slang, but then someone would say “mom” and snap me right back out of it.
And it almost seemed like the character forgot she was pregnant for long periods of time, with visits to the clinic being few and far between, but that could have just been a choice to keep the story on the kids and the really pressing issues at school and in their personal lives, rather than showing a series of check ups in which Hannah was told everything was fine.

Though there was nothing entirely unexpected(hey, that’s the real world for you. It’s a lot easier for supernatural “others” to catch you off guard than something in a realistic novel.) in this story, I enjoyed the ride immensely, loved the characters, found it to be an easy, almost cheesy read, while still bringing up some more serious issues.

I spent probably 70% of the novel with a massive grin on my face, the rest waiting for the shit to fall apart, and constantly debated with myself if I would prefer they become romantically involved or remained friends.

Jury’s still out on that last bit.