Gabe is the best looking guy in school—that’s why his friends send him to get girls to their party. Helen is not much to look at—that’s why her friends want her to come along. But Helen gets under Gabe’s skin in a way no other girl has.
It was one night. One night with lasting consequences. Now Helen has to decide if she wants to keep the baby—and if she should tell Gabe, who hasn’t spoken to her since their one night together.
Filled with love, fear, and the tough choices born of casual acts, One Night is a passionate and compellingly readable novel about teen life, the hardships of parenthood—and the joy and forgiveness between family and friends.
Australian author Wild (Jinx) pens a free-verse problem novel about two teens who accidentally become parents after hooking up one night at a party. The book divides into three parts, the first of which centers on Gabe, who's cold but has a self-proclaimed "devastating smile." He meets Helen, who has a "damaged face" but, he admits, "saw into my soul." In the next part, told mainly from Helen's perspective, she realizes she's pregnant but cannot get Gabe on the phone to tell him. After fighting with her dad, she leaves home and finds a new family in a rundown boarding house, where she begins raising her son. In the final section, Gabe and Helen reconnect, confronting their problems and their futures. Gabe and Helen don't have a monopoly on difficulties, either; Wild also dissects both characters' parents' marriages. And, among other characters, Gabe says his best friend Al's name is "short for Alan and Alcohol"; Helen's new landlady has a drug-addicted granddaughter; and one boarder keeps expecting his dead son to visit. The verse can be startlingly perceptive (Helen, unable to breastfeed her son, feels judged by other mothers who "unbutton their blouses/ with milky complacency"). The author quickly captures multiple voices and points of view, and while some plot elements strain credibility, the teen-pleasing insights and fast pace outweigh the soap-opera touches. Ages 12-up.