Title: The Baby
Author: Lisa Drakeford
Publisher: Chicken House Ltd.
Publication Date: 2 July, 2015
Blurb via Amazon: 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.
I first heard of this book when I attended the YALC event. My first thoughts when seeing this book was that it would all take place over the course of one party, which made sense when I looked at the length of the book. However, I was wrong. This book takes place over the course of five months. Each month follows a different character that is named on the front cover.
Relationships in books, when they are not done correctly or are manhandled too much end up forced or just make me cringe. There was nothing like that in this book. All the characters fitted well together and worked within the story like a well oiled machine. One relationship that I especially liked was Jonty and Olivia. Obviously I’m not saying I like them as a couple, but instead the way that Lisa handled the issue of controlling relationships and domestic abuse. I thought she was very good at describing how it felt to be the abuser and the abused. Along with this, she successfully provided us readers with an explanation as to why Olivia said nothing and also the emotional reasons behind Jonty’s abuse.
I felt that I connected on some emotional level with each of the characters, whether I despised them or empathised with them, it was intense either way. I like to have this kind of emotion when I read a book, because it makes me feel as if I am completely immersed in the story.
I especially empathised with Ben and how her was treated at secondary school for his homosexuality. I personally can vouch that the comments made by the fictional characters about his sexuality do indeed reflect the reactions that people genuinely have in real life. This is unfortunate, but we must do what Ben did and be the bigger person and walk away. Blatant inclusion of LGBT+ issues, especially in young adult literature, is very important for the advancement of LGBT+ rights and general acceptance within society. I’ve read a lot of books that have included LGBT+ issues and characters, in fact I can no longer count them. However, a lot of these books brush over the subjects as if they are ticking it of a mandatory checklist. This book is one of the best ones for including these issues. On a lighter note, the romance was cute. Really cute.
At the end of this book there is a massive plot twist. Well, it would have been massive had I not seen it coming from a mile off. I am certain that some people out there didn’t see it coming, but there were a few too blatant clues for my liking. Also, I think that after reading so many books, I am very skeptical of any red herrings, so am spoiling the story for myself to be honest.
‘The Baby’ by Lisa Drakeford was a light and pleasurable read, but at the same time it deals with some heavy issues in a very compassionate manner. This book receives 4/5 stars from me!