Teenage pregnancy comes under the spotlight in Non Pratt’s debut novel
Hannah is not your typical 15 year old. Sure she’s super sharp and funny, but she’s going through all the usual teenage traumas – problems with schoolwork, exams, friendship groups, and family. But Hannah also has another crisis looming on the horizon and one so huge she can’t bring herself to break the news to her mother; Hannah is pregnant.
Non Pratt’s debut novel for teenagers is painfully honest and truthful, but it’s also non-judgemental and remarkably upbeat. Hannah is a sexually active teenager who knows all about contraception (of course she does – her mother works in a family planning clinic) but she soon discovers that a single slip-up can have consequences. Despite her age and her circumstances, what happens to Hannah from here on in is entirely of her own choosing – she’s not the kind of girl to get pushed around by anybody – but she’s desperately in need of support from friends and family. As for the baby’s father, well, she’s keeping that particular card very close to her chest.
No doubt some adults might find the premise of Trouble shocking. But consider this: the UK has the highest incidence of teenage pregnancy in Western Europe. What teenagers in this country desperately need is a change in attitude toward sex education and information. This book does not set out to preach the values of family planning to teens, but this kind of writing – and let’s not forget, it’s a clever and entertaining story – can only encourage a more open dialogue between teenagers and adults. Surely that can only be a step forward? Walker, 13+