Malorie Blackman is an extremely well-known and prolific writer of children’s books, but this is the first of her YA novels that I have read. It follows Dante, a 17-year-old boy whose life is turned upside-down when an ex-girlfriend turns up with an 11-month-old baby girl – which she claims is Dante’s. And to make matters worse, she then does a runner, leaving Dante in shock and holding the baby…
The story then follows how Dante copes with becoming a father so abruptly, and the affect it has on his family and friends.
Dante’s brother Adam also narrates parts of the book, and his story adds a range of other issues to the novel. Adam is gay and proud, but he struggles with the reactions of others to his sexuality.
This is a good, easy to read story that blends a bit of humour with serious issues. I think it is a great novel to get young adults thinking, and would be ideal for discussion groups. However for me I found some aspects of the story were unconvincing, and it could perhaps have gone into more depth – some serious issues seemed over simplified at time. However it has definitely made me keen to check out more work by Blackman.
My rating: 6 out of 10