Little Bang

The content warnings about unplanned teenage pregnancy and abortion heading into this book make sure readers know what to expect, but from the outset, I was pleasantly surprised to be engulfed by the softness of the story. Teenagers Mel and Sid find their lives turned upside down when they learn they are expecting a baby. While facing parental pressures, decisions about life and college, and the judgements of others, they must also navigate the hard-hitting realities of an unplanned pregnancy and the reality of abortion.

McCaughrain shines a harsh light on the lack of sex education for teenagers and young people in the school system, communities and homes in Northern Ireland. The words ‘unplanned teenage pregnancy’ and ‘abortion’ are met with uncomfortable silences and angry outbursts from the adults within this book. Although there are religious aspects to this discussion, McCaughrain opens the space for all to enter and discuss, and she draws on the events surrounding the referendum on the repeal of the eighth amendment in 2018 in Ireland. Not only is this an occurrence within the book, but it becomes a force that Mel cannot ignore, a force that urges her to think about her body and her future.

This book had me rooting for Mel and Sid as two young people navigating choices that they have little knowledge of. Both Mel’s and Sid’s lives are utterly changed, and it is intriguing to read how they not only react, but also come to settle with their decision. McCaughrain motivated me to question, and that is the beauty of a powerful book.

Book Cover - Little Bang
Publication Date
January 2024