Not My Problem
Aideen Cleary has huge problems she can’t fix. Her mam is drinking again, her best friend is ditching her and her grades are
a mess. Then she stumbles upon uptight perfectionist Meadbh Kowalska having a meltdown in the PE changing rooms about her jam-packed schedule and campaign for class president. Aideen realises this is a problem she can fix ... by pushing Meadbh down the stairs.
This leads to a ‘social enterprise’ based on fixing various people’s problems in exchange for favours. Aideen finds herself in a series of increasingly risky and bizarre situations as she helps other students. Overachiever Meadbh reluctantly becomes her accomplice, along with the lovable and talkative Kavi. And once Aideen notices Meadbh’s muscles and long dark eyelashes, she doesn’t find her quite so annoying after all ...
Not My Problem shows the battles some teens have with poverty, bullying and discrimination, without ever seeming preachy. While Aideen can be sharp and acerbic, we also see her vulnerability and the pain her home life causes. The supporting characters are brilliant, with distinctive voices and developed personalities. The chemistry between Aideen and Meadbh is strong, with some tense will-they, won’t-they moments. There are lots of excellent pop culture references – such as using Fiona Apple’s new album as a test to see if your crush likes girls too – and Smyth’s comic writing is on point.
I loved Smyth’s début, The Falling in Love Montage, and Not My Problem cements her status as an exciting new voice in Irish young adult fiction.