On Saturday as part of UKYADay I read Trouble by Non Pratt.
I expected it to be a UK version of Juno and what I got was a nuanced and clever read. This was told from the alternating viewpoints of Hannah – her trouble being her teen pregnancy, and Aaron – his trouble being his dark past which has bought him to a new school in the middle of his GCSE year. They are drawn to each other, and not in the way you’d expect, when Aaron agrees to be her fake baby daddy.
I’m so dense I’ve only just realised that the split into First, Second and Third relate to trimesters of pregnancy. Doh! Each entry is also dated, not in a diary way but just for locating the action in time.
I love how Non keeps us guessing, both about who the real father is and about what Aaron actually did.
Aaron in particular is such a vividly drawn and complex character, he’s clearly trying to have a fresh start but he is eaten up with guilt. His parents actually go along with his plan to be the fake father which indicates how damaged they believe him to be. He loves books, he truly cares for Hannah and he volunteers at a residential home, striking up a friendship with a older man called Neville who delights in beating him at cards. But, he thinks so badly of himself you really do want to reach into the book and give him a hug.
I loved seeing Hannah’s growth when it is her turn to care for Aaron. She experiences the range of emotions and reactions that come along with teen pregnancy, probably the most shocking is from her mum who actually works in family planning. The book takes us all the way through the pregnancy to the labour and it doesn’t shy away from details. It’s certainly got me fearful of ante-natal classes and the actual delivery – yes please I’ll take all the pain relief please. I loved that it shows Hannah still attending school and working hard to complete her GCSEs.
As well as the two leads there are a host of supporting characters that are so well rounded. In fact I think we get an insight into each of the named characters and all through the views of the two main characters. This is no mean feat.
In the blogging community recently there has been a lot of discussion about the handling of LBGT characters in YA fiction and Non does address this in Trouble, but it is dealt with in such a subtle way. It would be great if Aaron’s reaction to being called gay could be adopted more widely – as a bit of a non issue.
The characters we quickly grow to like in this book are flawed, and there are occasions where you want to tell them to take a different viewpoint on certain issues, but this is what makes this book great, it represents real people and real issues but it still remains an easy read, it’s almost as if life goes on even when Trouble strikes.
This is a 5 star read for me – and yes I did need tissues one or two times.
Today sees me off to see the Divergent film again – viewing number FOUR!!
First things first, I urge you to go and see it on the big screen before the wait for the DVD begins.
You’ll have seen me post about being invited to the Premiere in Leicester Square and today I’m going to share my views, and pictures, of the experience.
Once again I’d like to extend a huge thank you to HarperCollins for the invite.
I invited my best mate Stacey, who introduced me to Divergent, to come with me and despite our age we decided to follow the request to dress up as our favourite faction and went dressed as Dauntless, fake tattoos and all.
As we entered the square it had been transformed and decorated with faction banners.
We entered the Fan Experience having to pass some Erudite actors. Inside were a whole host of actors, some of who really got into their parts and some who…didn’t.
Our first stop was the aptitude test with very swively chairs – we answered three questions on an iPad screen and my mate and I only answered one question differently, she came out Divergent and I got Erudite (which I didn’t like one little bit ;o)).
This is a much better quiz! (Divergent – though Dauntless is actually my lowest here ;o))
Then we posed for our green screen pictures with Theo and received a laynard with the movie picture with us in place of Tris.
Stacey and I also had a very fun and frenetic game of capture the flag where we were made to salute, fire at targets and race back to get our flag in the post first. I won – yay – I actually hit 5 out of 6 targets.
Finally we got our faction tattoos and we both went with our faction of dress and had the flames of Dauntless added to our existing tattoos.
We didn’t go on the climbing wall or trampolines, we didn’t really have time and weren’t really dressed suitably but I would have liked to give it a little go despite the inevitability that I would have fallen off.
We had a very long queue to get into theatre which meant that we had to make do with viewing Veronica Roth and the actors arrivals from the big screens from the other side of the square. This blog post by @liveotherwise does represent my slightly disappointed feelings, though I am happy I got to go, I think I thought we might have an autograph opportunity or two.
Once through the barriers we were ushered to quickly choose a wrist band from the choosing bowls which represented where you would be sitting in the cinema. We chose Candor – Dauntless having already gone.
I managed to perform my usual trick of closing my eyes when I have my picture taken thus ruining my red carpet shot.
Stacey’s is much nicer.
My Four balloon caused excited squeals by a couple of girls on the red carpet and a ‘I get what you’ve done there’ from a Dauntless actor. I didn’t get to give it to Theo and they took it off me in the cinema with the promise I could have it back at the end.
In the cinema they were showing the film of the red carpet goings on – a better view than from the queue.
By our seats were a drink and a T-shirt the sizing of which means it is decorative only. Ours was white – Candor colours and we were all asked to put them on. I rested mine over my front!
Once we were all settled the director Neil Burger came out and introduced the cast in attendance, Ben Lloyd-Hughes (Will), Kate Winslet (Janine), Shailene Woodley (Tris), Theo James (Four) and finally author Veronica Roth – here’s my wobbly video.
Afterwards so my unsigned book (sniff) didn’t feel left out we took some shots with the film background.
I managed to get my balloon back. It’s still just about inflated and floating on my upstairs landing.
The film itself was brilliant, yes there were a few changes, but they worked fine for me. Below are a few bits that I enjoyed the most. I’ve tried to limit it because I could go on all day.
- Abnegation Tris climbing up a building pre choosing ceremony giving a hint at what she might choose.
- The Dauntless arrival – that scene and the music in it is just awesome (in fact the Soundtrack and the Score are spot on).
- The comic touches throughout, ‘It must be because you are so approachable’.
- I might have cheered along with the rest of the audience when the gorgeous Theo James as Four removed his T-Shirt to reveal his tattoos.
- Jai Courtney as Eric was deliciously evil.
- In the ferris wheel scene there’s a bit where they show a close up of Tris and Four’s hands that reminds me of the Abnegation faction symbol which I thought was a lovely touch.
I’ve just finished a re-read, via audiobook of the trilogy, and I’m still holding off writing my review of Allegiant – more for fear of writing it without spoilers. I enjoyed it more this time round – not that I didn’t the first time mind – I didn’t seem to have as violent a reaction as some; recognising it as a fitting conclusion.
As a bonus I was very happy that my keyrings from Empire Cinemas glow in the dark. Hoping to replace my cups though, that are not actually dishwashable despite displaying the symbol, they are all scratched and we can’t be having that.
Have you seen Divergent yet? Which were your best bits? Did it live up to the book for you?
After the excitement of #UKYADay yesterday, today is the day for another bookish announcement.
I am very excited to be involved in the upcoming Countdown to the 5th June blog tour organised by Jim Dean – @YAyeahyeah. There are tons and tons of brilliant books due to be published on 5th June and this project plans to tell you all about them.
On Sunday 11th May I will be posting my interview with author Matt Whyman about his involvement with War Girls – a collection of short stories from the views of women.