Alternating narratives explore the private motivations of two teens brought together by crisis and the pair’s developing friendship.
Fifteen, pregnant and desperate to avoid revealing the father’s identity, Hannah is eager to allow Aaron, the new guy at school, to pose as the baby’s daddy. Readers may expect Hannah’s narrative to focus on her fears about becoming a mother when she is still emotionally and financially dependent on her own parents. Instead, she almost exclusively considers her immediate situation: her fears about revealing that a drunken, consensual one-night stand with someone she should not have slept with resulted in her pregnancy and her hopes that he will eventually embrace her decision to keep the baby (an unlikely scenario). It’s possible that Hannah’s lack of concern about her post-pregnancy future reflects her immaturity, but it also allows readers to ignore the very difficult situations that Hannah and her family will face after the baby is born. Glossing over the harsh realities of teen pregnancy and parenthood at times invalidates the novel’s authenticity. Aaron’s narrative, however, with his paralyzing grief and self-recriminations about his role in a friend’s death, provides a plausible explanation of why he would agree to his role in Hannah’s rather outlandish deception.
Ultimately, the uneven alternating storylines fail to allow either the characters or their friendship to fully develop. (Fiction. 14-18)