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The Girl Is Trouble Hardcover – July 3, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 7-10-This sequel to The Girl Is Murder (Roaring Brook, 2011) finds Iris Anderson, a New York City teen circa 1942, both willing and unwilling to investigate her mother's death. It helps that her father and uncle work as private investigators, because from them she has learned things like how to pick locks. But when a safe left open accidentally reveals photographs of her mother that tell a different story from what the newspapers reported, Iris must confront truths and lies in her own Jewish family. She is plausibly misled by immature impressions of adults, which slow the plot down somewhat but are not distracting. Iris and Pearl build and test their friendship as other kids at their elite private school question their bond because Pearl is unpopular. Iris also gets close to an Italian working-class boy and school misfit, who may or may not become a love interest. These teens spy on one another, adding a layer of interest that draws readers in to more serious issues, such as anti-Semitism. The historical setting gives Iris's probing a certain edge; readers want to know what happened to her mom, but they'll need to understand the bigger picture of how Germans and Americans perceived one another leading up to and during the World War II. Pop is appealing as both a respectful father and grieving husband, but will he stay alive long enough to be there for his daughter? This absorbing novel works on three levels-as the story of the relationship between a daughter and parent, as a drama among teen peers, and as historical fiction.-Georgia Christgau, Middle College High School, Long Island City, NYα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


“Absorbing.”--School Library Journal

"...a nicely crafted mystery.”--BCCB

“Haines delves deeper into Iris’ intriguing character in this compelling, self-contained sequel while doing a bang-up job of maintaining the ace period setting.”--Kirkus

“…this sequel’s high stakes up the ante…”--Booklist

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 - 18 years
  • Grade Level: 7 - 12
  • Lexile Measure: 720L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Roaring Brook Press (July 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596436107
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596436107
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.2 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,449,408 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Kathryn Miller Haines is an actor, mystery writer, and award-winning playwright. In addition to writing the Rosie Winter series for HarperCollins, she's also writes a mystery series for young adults also set during World War II for Roaring Brook Press. The first book in the series, The Girl is Murder, is about 15 year old Iris Anderson whose life is turned up side down when her mother kills herself and her father returns injured from Pearl Harbor. She also blogs about World War II and pop culture at

Here's a brief Q&A with Kathryn about why she decided to write a young adult novel:

This is your first mystery for young adults, after penning several of popular mysteries for adults in your Rosie Winter series. What made you decide to write for this new audience?

I love reading YA books and, as when I first tried my hand at mysteries, I wanted to see if I could write one for myself. I also felt like there was a whole world of World War II that hadn't been explored very much - what was the war like from the perspective of teenagers? In fact there's a great non-fiction book called Teenage that talks about adolescence through history that really got me buzzing about what life was like then.

What were some of the mysteries you enjoyed reading when you were young? I'm assuming Nancy Drew, due to the mention in the book, but I'd love to hear a few of your early faves.

Absolutely loved Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. Truth told, though, I didn't read a lot of mysteries as a young 'un. I was a big Judy Blume fan (particularly Blubber, a book that has stayed with me all these years). Bridge to Terabithia will still make me cry. And I never met a Lois Duncan book I didn't tear through (though I guess those kind of are mysteries/thrillers).
What kind of research did you do to create an authentic early 1940s-New York City setting? Was there any difference in your research process for a young readers title compared to your work for adult titles?

I read a lot of great non-fiction books about the war, went through contemporary to the war issues of newspapers, magazines, comic books; listened to music and radio shows; looked at fashion; watched movies - pretty much surrounded myself with the kind of pop culture that I would've probably been into had I lived during that time.

With the adult mysteries, I think readers are looking for the nitty gritty details about the period whereas I don't think YA readers have the patience for a four page info dump on the history of air conditioning. It was freeing in some ways because I didn't have to be as specific and heavy handed with creating my world. I felt like I could create a flavor of the period without having to drown each scene in period detail. It became a lot more about experiencing the world through the character for me.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Rachael Stein VINE VOICE on July 4, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Things are finally starting to look up for Iris Anderson, or at least, they aren't as chaotic and awful as they used to be. Iris is blending into her high school on the Lower East Side, even if everyone else thinks her closest friend Pearl is a bit weird. And even though the Rainbows haven't totally forgiven her, at least they aren't giving her too much trouble either. But the best part is that Iris's Pop is finally letting her help out with his detective agency, as long as she follows every one of his rules and does everything his way, of course. But when Iris uncovers some unsavory details about her mother's supposed suicide, following the rules no longer become an option. Once again, Iris finds herself sneaking around behind Pop's back, but this time, instead of snooping in her classmates' lives, it's her own family that she must investigate.

I was such a fan of The Girl Is Murder that picking up its sequel, The Girl Is Trouble, was a clear no-brainer. As I expected and hoped, all the historical charm, detective flair, and personal drama that made me love The Girl Is Murder translated to The Girl Is Trouble as well. What I didn't expect was for the second installment of Iris Anderson's story to be so personal. It's unsurprising that Haines would choose to shift the story in this direction, as many other mystery series work in this way as well for a good reason, but what was surprising was how Haines made Iris's work this personal this quickly. Incorporating the mystery of Iris's mother's death makes me think that there might not be much more in this series, which would be a huge disappointment, considering what a fierce and fantastic Nancy Drew-esque heroine Iris is.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. L VINE VOICE on September 10, 2013
Format: Hardcover
The Girl is Trouble by Kathryn Miller Haines is the quickly paced, satisfying second installment in the Girl is Murder series. I have not read the first installment, and I don't think it is necessary for the reader to pick that book up to enjoy The Girl is Trouble. I had a great time reading the book without any idea at first that their was a first. Hats off to the author for the smooth writing! I wasn't put off at all by references to previous cases.

Although Iris is perfectly likeable, I felt like she didn't read like a fifteen year old. I kept thinking of her older than she actually is. And though she is an okay character, that's just it. She is just okay. I didn't find myself smitten with her or even really rooting for her. She just is not interesting enough to connect to. I did find her best friend rather intriguing though- Pearl.

There are two fun cases that we get to solve with Iris. And they really keep the plot moving. This is a great read for a younger audience and mystery junkies! Everyone needs a little mystery every once and awhile :) Take this one to the beach!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Alexa @ Alexa Loves Books on November 9, 2012
Format: Hardcover
The Girl is Trouble reminded me of Nancy Drew, with a heroine who likes a good mystery and the shenanigans that follow.

What I like is the combination of mystery-solving with a historical setting (specifically, post-World War II). I thought the main mystery was handled well, though it was very simply solved (even though there are a bunch of dangerous and slightly unrealistic situations tossed in there!).

What I didn't like was the fact that I never really connected to Iris. It might be because I didn't read the first book, but I just didn't really feel for her - though I admired her sleuthing skills and wanted to yell when she made dumb decisions. I didn't like the romance either, since I kind of felt like it was randomly put in there.

It was a lot of fun to read The Girl is Trouble, but it isn't necessarily a favorite.
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Format: Hardcover
Although not enthused with the behavior of main character Iris in The Girl Is Murder, I loved the setting and was eager to return. Thus I was very pleased that my request was accepted on Netgalley and I happily dove into this part two.

More good news-Iris has somewhat learned her lesson about lying and sneaking around although she still does quite a bit in this book. But unlike last time, it didn't really bother me. In fact, I was very much Team Iris, supporting her through her trials and travails.

And it is very good that I liked Iris so much as she is our guide through this book ramping up the suspense and danger. Iris' first problem is the threatening notes Jewish students at her school are receiving; although Iris is no longer practicing, her family background in investigation makes her an obvious candidate to figure out who is harassing them. One of the suspects is her best friend Pearl, who has been ostracized and given the unfortunate nickname Pearl Harbor. But Iris cannot imagine Pearl doing such acts and wants to get to the bottom of the case.

That is, she wants to do so until she uncovers some shocking new evidence in her mother's suicide. Let's just say there is nothing simple or straightforward but instead lies and undercover shady acts abound. This comes to consume Iris and test her beyond anything she's done so far. Because of the personal nature of the case, I was easily able to feel for Iris. Her entire world was rocked and Iris' bravery in pursuing the truth really impressed me even as she was sometimes foolhardy when considering the potential danger.

So I've shared that I liked Iris in this book but what about the other characters? First, Pearl-one of the best best friends I've read in YA lately.
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