Hannah loves the game of seduction. She dresses to tease and unabashedly enjoys the pleasure of sex. Her one unassailable prohibition is no sex without a condom. So Hannah is shocked when she discovers that she’s pregnant, not only because of the impending scandal, but because the only person who could be the father is the one person Hannah cannot name. More than one guy at Hannah’s high school is sweating things out when Aaron Tyler, new transfer student, announces that Hannah’s baby belongs to him.

Investigative busybodies at school have no trouble figuring out that Aaron arrived in town too late to have fathered the child. So who is Hannah protecting? And why would Aaron needlessly accept such a huge responsibility? Debut novelist Pratt slips in well-placed hints that allow readers to gradually discover answers to these questions. The very British narration alternates between Hannah and Aaron, and from Aaron’s earliest words readers find him awash in grief and remorse. It becomes clear that Aaron believes that he must atone for his past, and that helping Hannah would be that “meaningful” redemption he craves. For Hannah, the pregnancy brings her own family’s dysfunction to the forefront.

The pacing may feel slow to some readers, as Pratt allows plenty of room for her characters to grow and change. The result is a moving story about friendship and responsibility, comparable in tone to the works of Laurie Halse Anderson.

 

Diane Colson works at the Nashville Public Library. She has long been active in the American Library Association's Young Adult Library Association (YALSA), serving on selection committees such as the Morris Award, the Alex Award and the Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults Award.

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