Friday 31 July 2015

The Baby by Lisa Drakeford

When Olivia opens the bathroom door, the last thing she expects to see is her best friend Nicola giving birth on the floor – and to say Nicola is surprised is an understatement. She’s not ready to be a mum, and she needs Olivia’s help. But Olivia has her own problems – specifically her bullying boyfriend, Jonty, and keeping an eye on younger sister Alice. And then there’s Nicola’s friend Ben, who’s struggling with secrets of his own …

Nicola isn't supposed to be pregnant. And she really shouldn't be giving birth to an unexpected, illegitimate baby on her best friend's bathroom floor at her birthday party. First there's the shock and the sudden action. Then there's the realisation that Nicola, who is 17 and can barely look after herself, is responsible for an adorable little person. And then there's the question of whose it is. And that is a good question.

Meanwhile, Olivia is getting pinched and pushed by her boyfriend. It's happened gradually and is getting worse. Things made worse, or better depending on how you look at it, by Nicola's admission that she and Jonty had a fling, the result of which could have been baby Eliza. With five main characters, it is told through five perspectives. Along with the expected issue of teen pregnancy, also tackled is domestic abuse, bullying, sexuality and a broken friendship.

It was surprisingly sweet, and though full of tough problems, the simple things made it easier, like having the support of your best friend. Spread over a few months and told through multiple perspectives, you could really see the character development, especially with Jonty, changing for the better and accepting responsibility. Alice was another really interesting character, Olivia's younger sister; I'm pretty sure she was autistic but either way, no one really understood her properly. It made her brutally honest and while clever, everything was in black and white to her. 

This was an unexpectedly amazing book. I got a lot more out of it than I thought and I look forward to more from Drakeford.

Published 2nd July 2015 by Chicken House.

1 comment: