There are some authors that have an inherent gift for putting unforgettable and shockingly real emotion on the page. In her debut novel, Hooked, author Catherine Greenman, does just that. The layers of emotions, from angst to excitement to despair, to fear, loneliness and love are nearly exhausting but impossible to turn away from.
The main character, Thea, is a typical New York City teenager: living fast, living selfishly and riddled with age-appropriate angst about school and parents. When cute, confidant Will asks her out for a burger, she is then also filled with the whirlwind symptoms of first love. Several months into the relationship, Thea discovers she is pregnant and life gets real very fast. Encouraged to get an abortion by all those closest to her, Thea cannot bring herself to go through with it. The too-young couple decides to keep the baby and raise it on their own.
The narrative is told in Thea’s first person and dives deep into her thoughts and motivations. I think this book was more meaningful to me as an adult who knows the trials of raising children than it would be to a teenager, the intended audience. I ached right along with Thea as she struggled to be a good mom despite her faults. In turn, I also sympathized with the parents in the book, who have to watch their daughter’s life change dramatically.
Despite the often gritty subject matter, the story is one of hope, perseverance and unconditional love. It is obvious that Greenman put a lot of time, effort, thought and emotion into this novel and I praise her for a triumph.
Content note: I would not recommend this book for young teens. The narrative includes all of the following: sex, drug and alcohol use, foul language, including the F-word, and mature themes, such as abortion and teenage pregnancy.
The author’s website is catherinegreenman.com