I got this In Trouble by Ellen Levine as an e-galley from netGalley and just finished it. It came out last year and I just finished it tonight. The premise is simple: it’s the 1950s and two friends find themselves “in trouble” (’50s code for pregnant). The circumstances surrounding their pregnancies are very different, and so at reactions the girls get.
I thought this book was a quick read, one that I did not particularly enjoy. It was a really interesting idea. I mean, we take for granted that it’s the 2000s and girls “in trouble” these days have options. But in the 1950s, Roe v. Wade wasn’t on anyone’s radar yet. So what happened? This young adult novel is one attempt to show two possible scenarios.
So yeah, I liked the idea. But its execution was terrible. The story was mostly told in short, very choppy dialogue, and the narrative that was present was also short and choppy. It was also expected that you read between the lines a lot, or have some kind of knowledge about unwanted pregnancies in the 1950s. Occasionally, I would read something and it just would not make sense — I’d ask myself “Did I miss some important plot point?!” Also, for a novel that was supposed to be a realistic portrayal of teen pregnancy mid-way through the 20th century, I found certain family member’s reactions way far-fetched and unbelievable (as did I find Paul’s reaction).
So, in short: interesting premise, awful execution. Read but don’t say I didn’t warn you.
(In case it wasn’t clear, I received this book from NetGalley in return for a review. I was not asked to make a positive review in exchange for the book, just an honest one.)