In this throwback to the early 2000s teen Brit-lit craze, the lives of five young people are affected by an unexpected baby.
It's Olivia's birthday, which means a party. Her best friends, Nicola and Ben, are there, along with her boyfriend, Jonty. Her younger sister, Alice (who reads as though she may be on the spectrum), stays in her room. It's all going well—other than Jonty knocking Olivia about. But then Olivia discovers Nicola moaning in pain in a bathroom: she's delivering a baby, one not even Nicola realized was coming. And the baby is Jonty's. Over the next five months, each of the characters—Olivia, Nicola, Alice, Jonty, and Ben—feels the impact Nicola's baby, Eliza, makes on their group. Olivia moves on from Jonty to a new guy, Alice works to make a friend, and Jonty slowly takes to fatherhood and starts to become a better person. Nicola, of course, must adapt to motherhood—and has a secret to reveal to Ben, who is gay and doesn't know how to react. While the teenage domestic violence subplot could add depth, it’s dealt with too easily. The third-person, present-tense narration alternates focus from character to character (all appear to be white), with too little modulation to give each a clear sense of voice.
Add in the now-dated Brit-lit feel and the sudden, nonsensical plot twist, and it's all ho-hum. (Fiction. 14-18)