Title: The Baby
Author: Lisa Drakeford
Published by: Chicken House
Publication date: 2nd July 2015
Genres: YA Contemporary/LGBT/Friendship
Source: Review copy from the publisher.
Coming home from my Business Studies exam, I was very much in need of cheering up. Luckily, this book was waiting for me and the premise immediately piqued my interest. Unfortunately, I had to wait until exams were over to read it, and as soon as they were I picked up this book and didn't put it down until I was finished. It's a rollercoaster ride of emotions and I need more.
From what I've seen in other YA books that deal with teenage pregnancy, as soon as the baby is born it's forgotten about and the main character or whoever gave birth to it goes on with everyday life. That's why I liked The Baby - it focuses on parenthood rather than the pregnancy, which is something I haven't seen done in YA before, and the baby wasn't instantly forgotten about, hence the name of the book. I also liked that it portrayed a mature, capable teenage parent who kept her baby and looked after her well. Again, this is something I rarely see in YA fiction.
Furthermore, The Baby boasts a diverse set of characters and covers a wide range of topics, from bullying and domestic abuse to friendship and homosexuality. If you've been reading this blog for a while, you'll know that I love books that tackle the gritty stuff that some people don't dare to write about, and this is definitely one of those books.
The one thing I wasn't massively keen on was the writing style. It made me feel detached from the characters and, whilst I cared about them and was interested in their lives, I wasn't as invested in them as I could have been. The fact that the book is split into five points of view didn't help, either - I liked that we got to see the world from each of their perspectives, but the chapters were so short that we only got little snippets. At the end, I felt like things were only just heating up and I really wanted to see what happened next. It was a bit of a cliffhanger ending, so hopefully there will be a sequel, but who knows? (Edit: I have news about this! More in the coming week.)
This is perfect for fans of Non Pratt. Overall, I loved this book as I knew I would, and I reckon it's the epitome of good UKYA. Fingers crossed Drakeford has something else in the pipeline because I would love to read more of her work, and I definitely recommend The Baby if you're after something a little different.