276 pp. Delacorte Press 2011
Interest: 2011 Debut Author
Source: Finished copy received from Tandem Literary
Summary (From Goodreads): Thea Galehouse has always known how to take care of herself. With a flighty club-owner mom and a standoffish, recovering-alcoholic dad, Thea has made her own way in her hometown of New York, attending the prestigious and competitive Stuyvesant High School. But one chat with Will, a handsome and witty senior, and she’s a goner—completely hooked on him and unable to concentrate on anything else.
Always worried that she loves Will more than he loves her, Thea is pleasantly surprised when their romance weathers his move to college and Will goes out of his way to involve her in his life. But then, Thea misses a period. And that starts Thea and Will on a wild ride that neither of them could have possibly prepared for. When they decide to keep the baby, their concerned parents chip in what they can to keep Will in school and give both teenagers a comfortable place to raise their child. But when a freak accident leaves Thea shaken and threatens to upend their little family altogether, Thea is forced to turn to the last place she would have chosen for comfort: her stiff, uncompromising father.
This smart, touching first novel brims with realistic, beautifully drawn characters, and reminds us that love is never as easy or predictable as we might like it to be.
There are a number of YA novels about teen pregnancy on the shelves, but Hooked definitely stands out in the crowd. It’s about more than Thea getting pregnant in high school. It’s about Thea’s first love, it’s about her relationship with her dad, and it’s about Thea discovering where she fits after high school.
To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to read Hooked because I don’t care for the cover. It really doesn’t do anything for the story and what it’s really about. Personally, I think it looks tacky and the title looks like a tattoo. Once I started reading the book and looked more closely as the cover, I realized that the heart is crocheted. Thea learning to crochet becomes a large portion of the plot, so it makes sense that it’s represented on the cover. I just wish it was more prominent. Despite my feelings on the cover, I’m quite happy I read Greenman’s debut.
I think the best way for me to review Hooked is to break down what worked and didn’t work for me.
I like Thea’s character because she isn’t really popular and she isn’t really awkward either. She’s right in the middle like most teens. Also, once she has the baby, I think her life is portrayed realistically, for the most part. She’s incredibly nervous about being a mother and hurting her baby. I’m not a mother, but I’m guessing many new moms worry about this, especially teen moms. Thea’s decision to keep the baby wasn’t an easy choice, but once she makes the decision she stands by it no matter what anybody says. Her dad is firm that she doesn’t miss out on her college education, which I’m happy is in the novel because even though not all teens get this opportunity when they have a baby, I’m happy the importance of education and having a steady job is stressed. Thea is a likeable character that I found myself liking more as she matured and the novel progressed. She discovers a talent she didn’t know she had, while trying to balance being a mother and holding down a job.
What Didn’t Work:
I think my biggest criticism is that while her life is realistic, it only was to a degree. **This is a spoiler** Thea’s and Will’s parents give them a large sum of money to live on with the baby until they get settled. This didn’t work for me, because while I know their parents are wealthy, I just can’t picture that really happening. Eventually Thea needs to rely on her dad in a different way which I viewed positively and saw that as being more realistic. It was actually one of my favorite parts of the story; their relationship isn’t perfect, but we get to see both Thea and her father grow as characters.
Other than the story, I had some issues with the writing. There are a number of flashbacks in Hooked, but the writing/format lacks a signal letting us know we’re moving back and then forward again. At times like these I had to re-read the passage to figure out what was going on. Also, I was confused about the setting at the beginning because Thea and her mom are talking and Thea’s mom mentions a flat she sold. When I read that I thought maybe this takes place in England, but then locations in New York were mentioned. It wasn’t until much later that we learn Thea’s mom is from England. That would have been nice to know at the beginning.
Overall, I enjoyed reading Hooked. I’m sure many of my students will enjoy this and I’m looking forward to their thoughts. There were a couple of quirks to the story, but I’m happy I read it. If you like novels by Rachel Cohn, I’m sure you’ll like it too.
Win a copy of Hooked by Catherine Greenman
*Must be 13 years or older
*A US resident (copy provided & mailed by Tandem Literary)
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*Giveaway ends 10/30/11
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