Thursday, 16 July 2009

Review: Megan by Mary Hooper

Megan by Mary Hooper - During a Personal Development lesson that was talks about female reproduction, periods, the pill, and how it all works out, the teacher says something that will change 15-year-old Megan’s life. Of course, it is possible be pregnant and still have periods.

From that point on, everything changes for Megan, because she finds out she’s five months pregnant. How did this happen? What is she going to do? What will the father say? What will her Mum say?

This book is pretty good! It focuses mainly on Megan and how she’s thinking and feeling, and what she’s going to do, and less so on what happens to her physically, but it was good! You have no idea how often I wanted to slap her Mum. She was so nasty, insulting and unsupportive, it was just so awful. Reading this book as a 22-year-old, I wanted to give Megan a hug and knock her Mum’s lights out, but if I had read this book at 15, or maybe younger, it would probably have scared me. It could work that young readers may decide to be extra careful because they wouldn’t want their mothers talking to and treating them like that. It was awful.

Claire, Megan’s best friend, also needs a slap. She enjoyed the drama of it all, and didn’t think enough about Megan’s feelings. It was because of her that everyone at school found out and treated her so horribly. She kept pestering Megan about what she was going to do, and had she told her Mum, she just wasn’t helping at all.

I liked how we got to read the conversations with the social worker, Susie. Through those conversations, everything was explained bout what Megan’s options were; keeping the baby or having it adopted, and what either choice would mean for her as she is 15. Not only does Megan get this information, but so does the young adult reader. I thought it was clever.

I think it would have been better if there was more on what happened at antenatal classes and doctors appointments. It would have been cool to see how Megan reacted on seeing her first scan, and all these other things. However, Megan’s feelings on being pregnant were brilliantly portrayed.

"I’d have given anything to have my own room. I really needed it now; I felt the need to pace about, to shout, rock backwards and forwards and generally cry, yell and make a fuss about what happened to me. And another part of me wanted to get right inside myself and be quiet, try and sort things out in my head."
P 29
There were no sex scenes in the book, as it happened before the book started, but it’s a pretty good story that deals with an outcome of unprotected sex. Over all, Megan is a pretty good book, and maybe good as an introduction to the topic for younger readers. I liked it.

Luisa's Thoughts:

As a reader: Mary Hooper always brings characters completely to life for me, and the gentle humour that comes from the believable relationships and situations her characters experience is a delight to read.
As a parent: I think this is a great series that really puts the reader in the shoes of a teenage mother. I don't think it reads as a cautionary tale, but I suppose that element is there as a side-effect of the subject matter. It's down-to-earth and realistic as well as being a good story that will interest a lot of girls.
As a writer: I am in awe of Mary Hooper's characterisation and storytelling skills.

Published: 1999
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Buy on Amazon UK
Buy on the Book Depository – free shipping worldwide
Mary Hooper’s Website


  1. I read this book (and the rest of the series) when it was first released, and it's good to see it being re-released now. I really enjoyed reading your great review, Jo - thanks!

  2. Thanks for the review... I really hope that people don't try to scare kids into thinking that their parents will treat them badly if they do something... seems like the wrong way (to me!) to go about communicating the desired information.

  3. Great review!
    I want to read this one, but I'm a little unsure about the "parents being non supportive" point of view. I guess it is realistic, since some parents might be, but would you really want to have a kid scared, rather than informed into making the right thing? I don't think so. Then again, I cannot judge until I read the book! :)

  4. I'm interested to know the outcome of the pregnancy - and maybe compare with the film Juno, which I found disturbing - a tale of two abandoned kids abandoning their child, wrapped up as a feel-good comedy.

  5. The next two books follow the outcome of the pregnancy, and the parents do become more supportive. In fact, I'd forgotten about the mother's initial bad reaction until I read this review! I think Mary Hooper creates strong, realistic characters and the mother is one of them.

  6. Thank you all for commenting!

    Shesten & Kay - I kept having to put the book down when the mother was being mean. "Bad reaction" is a bit of an understatement. Oh she was such a cow! Really didn't like her.

    Keren - I think Megan deals with teenage pregnancy a lot better than Juno. I really don't like that movie, I do not understand how they can take something so important, and turn it into something funny, where Juno doesn't really care. It's awful. 15 and Prgenant was a much better film that all girls should watch, with a very young Kirsten Dunst. That was a brilliant film!

    Luisa - I'm looking forward to reading the other novels in the series, but I cannot stand her mother. I'm glad you said she gets better, because.. ohh, I want to wring her neck!

  7. Thank you for an excellent review. I'm going to catch up on everyone of your blog posts for SiTL today. I don't know whether I agree on the parents being unsupportive. It may make people hesitate about getting help from their parents. However, I think it does try to counteract this by showing how the teenagers can receive support. It sounds like a good read with an underlying message of support to those who are pregnant. I haven't read the book but it sounds interesting.

  8. It was quite a good book, I enjoyed it! An interview with Mary Hooper goes live tomorrow, where she talks about how there is no message behind the books. But I guess people can interpret books in their own way.

  9. Ooooh, it sounds like it chould be interesting. In my opinion, I think there are messages behind certain books. Some are quite subtle to avoid seeming preachy. We're all entitled to our own opinions and I look forward to reading the interview.

  10. Oh, I agree! Some books have messages, but I also think that the readers see messages when there weren't any intended. I think this is probably one of those :)