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A Reading Group Guide to Trouble
by Non Pratt About the Book
When the entire high school finds out that Hannah Shepard is pregnant via her ex-best friend, she has a full-on meltdown in her backyard. The one witness (besides the rest of the world): Aaron Tyler, a transfer student and the only boy who doesn’t seem to want to get into Hannah’s pants. Confused and scared, Hannah needs someone to be on her side. Wishing to make up for his own past mistakes, Aaron does the unthinkable and offers to pretend to be the father of Hannah’s unborn baby. Even more unbelievable, Hannah hears herself saying “yes.”
Told in alternating perspectives between Hannah and Aaron, Trouble
is the story of two teenagers helping each other to move forward in the wake of tragedy and devastating choices. As you read about their year of loss, regret, and hope, you’ll remember your first, real best friend—and how they were like a first love. Discussion Questions
1. On the very first page of Trouble
, Hannah remarks, “Kids see all the way to your soul.” Do you think this ability is unique to children? How and why might children perceive people differently than teens or adults?
2. Hannah says, “Katie and me are different” when comparing how she and her friend interact with guys. Just how
are Hannah and Katie different? In what ways does each assume or relinquish power in relationships?
3. Although Hannah’s mother is open to talking about sex, she hadn’t planned on having the discussion until Hannah was sixteen years old. When do you think is a good time for parents to broach the subject with their children? Do you think teens should take the initiative and start the conversation instead? Who else might be a dependable resource for teens to talk to about sex?
4. Hannah is a victim to disturbing cyberbullying. What is cyberbullying? How does it differ from traditional bullying? What causes cyberbullying, and why does it seem to be so prevalent in society today? What can teens do to stand up to this kind of treatment? What would you have done if you were Hannah or one of her friends?
5. Referring to his honesty with Neville, Aaron reflects, “Knowing absolutely nothing about each other makes it easier to share the most private of memories.” Do you agree with Aaron’s observation?
6. Hannah’s mother voices her concern about sex education (or lack thereof) in her country. How would you describe sex education where you live? What makes sex education effective? How and when should sex education be delivered? By whom?
7. To Aaron, helping Hannah by posing as her baby’s father is about him
(“This is about me” he says). How so? What led to this decision? Was this a good choice on his part? How do you feel about the way his parents handled the news of his decision?
8. Aaron explains to Neville that he offered to help Hannah because he “wanted to do something meaningful.” Explain his intentions, and whether you think he achieved his goal. In what ways have you sought meaning in your own life?
9. What is the significance of Aaron and Neville’s relationship in this book? How is this friendship important to Neville? How is it important to Aaron? How does Aaron’s relationship with Neville compare to his relationship with Hannah? How does Aaron and Neville’s dynamic fit in with the themes of Trouble
10. Aaron confesses, “It’s too much to be forgiven when all you want is to be blamed.” What is he referring to here? When is it hard to be forgiven? Is forgiveness earned, or is it an entitlement?
11. We don’t learn the circumstances of Aaron’s past until near the end of the book. What clues did Non Pratt provide early on in the story to suggest that there was trouble in his past? What did you suspect had happened? When did the truth become clear to you?
12. When did you start to suspect who the baby’s father really was? What clues tipped you off? What was your reaction when you learned the truth?
13. Jay seems to justify his lack of involvement with Hannah’s pregnancy by arguing that conception wasn’t exactly his choice. What do you think? Can you relate to Jay? To Hannah? Whose responsibility is birth control—the guy’s or the girl’s? How far does this responsibility extend?
14. Why is this book called Trouble
? Describe some examples of trouble in the novel that are most glaring to you, as well as those that might not be as obvious.
15. A strong theme in this book is making choices. What choices did Hannah have to make? Aaron? Jay? How did each deal with the consequences of his/her choices?
16. Did Aaron make the right
choices in Trouble
? What constitutes the right choice? Did Hannah make the right
choice? Guide written by Catharine Sotzing Prodromou, Reading Specialist at the Alta Vista School, San Francisco, CA. This guide has been provided by Simon & Schuster for classroom, library, and reading group use. It may be reproduced in its entirety or excerpted for these purposes.