Let’s start with the good. I was very impressed by Greenman’s portrayal of Thea and Will, two teens just out of high school who find out they’re going to be parents. My main pet peeve with teen pregnancy books is that the young mother is usually a whiny, immature child and the father is a nincompoop, a deadbeat, or both. This makes it tremendously difficult to connect with them, and I generally end up frustrated and uninterested. In Hooked, though, Thea and Will act as I hope I would have acted in their situation: they realize that they need to make the best of an unexpected situation and step up to make sure that their child is well cared for.
Thea is a protagonist that I grew to respect throughout the course of this novel. She is grounded, responsible, and mature, and she doesn’t engage in pointless self-pity, even in situations in which I felt she has every right to. She’s steady and strong, adjusts well to motherhood, and doesn’t give up no matter what life throws at her.
Will is…well, let’s just say I’m not as clear on how I feel about him as I am about Thea. Will pleasantly surprised me at several points in the novel, sticking by Thea and trying his hardest to be the father and boyfriend that his new family needed. However, after an unexpected accident occurs, his behavior begins to change, and my feelings about this book consequently turned rather bleak.
This brings me to the element of Hooked that I’m not so keen about. Thea’s struggles with Will, her parents, and her job left me feeling immensely saddened, to the point where I felt kind of depressed about relationships and life in general. After Thea gets pregnant, she tries so hard to do the right thing in all situations, but in spite of her best efforts her life is still much more difficult and unfair than I wished it would be. She can’t control all variables in her life, such as how self-centered and unsupportive her mom is or how her boyfriend seems to slowly be slipping away from her. Even the ending of the book is not what I hoped it would be. I’m pretty sure that Greenman intends the conclusion to be realistically hopeful, but all I felt was disheartened.
Another complaint I have is how bizarre the first few chapters of the book are. The characters, their conversations, their actions and lifestyles…they are just strange, especially Will, and Thea’s mom. The beginning of the book has some definite quirks, and not endearing ones. Fortunately, though, the odd conversations and character descriptions fade out eventually, and Hooked improves drastically as a result.
Hooked had me thinking about the story and characters long after I finished reading, which I’ve always taken as one of the signs of a successful book. It is also very well-written and a nice departure from the typical teen pregnancy novel. However, I don’t think I’ll ever re-read Hooked, simply because it brought me down too much. If you can handle being a little bummed out by the realities of life, though, it’s worth giving Hooked a chance.