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Trouble Paperback – April 12, 2010

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (April 12, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0547331339
  • ISBN-13: 978-0547331331
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #92,265 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 7–10—Gary D. Schmidt's novel (Clarion, 2008) presents the story of an upper class New England family's privileged life colliding with violent prejudices against immigrant Cambodians after a tragic accident. Franklin is hit and killed by a pickup truck driven by Chay, a Cambodian student in Franklin's prep school. Chay is not sent to jail, and racial tensions are sparked. Franklin and his younger brother, Henry, had planned to climb Mt. Katahdin in Maine. Henry is determined to make the climb, and one morning the boy, his best friend, and a stray dog decide to hitchhike to the mountain and are picked up by Chay. Prejudice takes on a different face entirely as Chay's personal story develops, entwined with all three boys' growing understanding of their families, their town, and what really happened the night of the accident. Jason Culp's accomplished reading moves smoothly from a quiet and neutral narration to vivid vocal depictions of each character, complete with seamless accents. This gripping, adventure-filled journey of self discovery and exploration of themes such as discrimination and forgiveness will appeal to middle and high school students.—Jane P. Fenn, Corning-Painted Post West High School, NY
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

From Booklist

Henry Smith’s father has made a mantra out of running from problems: “If you build your house far enough away from Trouble, then Trouble will never find you.” Sure enough, the Smiths live in a mansion on Boston’s North Shore that has housed the family for 300 years. But when Henry’s older brother and prep-school rugby star, Franklin, is accidentally run down by a Cambodian classmate, Chay Chouan, and lies in a coma, Henry must reconcile the perfect older-brother image with the abusive, racist jock he might really have been. Meanwhile, the town erupts into an improbably monotonal furor against the nearby immigrant community. Henry and a pal take a road trip, meet Chay, and undergo the requisite catharsis and closure along the way. Schmidt, coming off his Newbery Honor for The Wednesday Wars (2007) here focuses on the serious stuff, but handles teen levity well enough to keep readers involved. Unfortunately, this changeup mostly functions to divert from the emotional weight of loss, anger, and reconciliation, rather than to drive it home. Grades 7-10. --Ian Chipman --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

More About the Author

Gary D. Schmidt is the author of the Newbery Honor and Printz Honor book Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy. His most recent novel is The Wednesday Wars. He is a professor of English at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Customer Reviews

Schmidt is an amazingly gifted writer.
There's really no way for me to explain how much I loved this book.
Needless to say this is a book that I think everyone should read.
And Another Book Read

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on July 13, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I don't think that there's any way for me to summarize the complex plot that makes up the novel TROUBLE, but I'm going to try.

Henry's father always said that if you stayed far enough away from Trouble, Trouble would never find you. It was what Henry and everyone else in his family believed. Until Trouble came to their lives in the form of Chay, a young Cambodian teen. Henry's older brother, Franklin, had been jogging on the night Chay hit him. Chay said it was an accident but their community thinks otherwise -- because Cambodians don't belong there and are the cause of every disaster.

Filled with anger of the accident, Henry, his best friend, and Black Dog set out to do the one thing Henry and Franklin had planned to do - climb Mt. Katahdin. They don't know how they're going to get there, how they're going to survive, or anything about climbing mountains, but they know they're going to do it.

As their journey continues, Henry runs into the one he hates most. Chay is also running from Trouble, and the once-enemies become allies. Henry begins to realize that family is not always what it seems -- and sometimes you just can't run from Trouble.

All I can say is that this is an amazing book and should be required reading in every classroom. Not only were the characters real and three-dimensional, each with their own quirks and problems, but the plot was also drawn out perfectly, with the right amount of details and action. You could feel yourself being taken into their world and, though this is technically a historical novel, I could barely tell because it seemed so real.

While reading this book, you will feel your heart breaking for Chay but you'll also be hoping that everything turns out okay for Henry's family.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By D. Bratt on June 1, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This is yet another wonderful work from a proven writer. While most people will market it as a book for young adults, a 50-something male like me found it to be a wonderful read. It's a book full of enough twists and turns to keep you turning the pages until you reach its remarkable conclusion. There's more than a fair bit of Trouble here, but also beautiful glimpses of Hope and Glory.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Richie Partington VINE VOICE on June 3, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
" 'It smells like you have a dog in here,' he said. 'A wet dog.' His voice was tight.
"It did not seem useful to Henry to lie about this.
"Especially since the dog came around the corner of the island and sat down, her head cocked off to the side so that the ear with the large missing piece stuck out.
"Now Henry's father's face grew tight, too.
" 'Get the dog out of here.' he said.
" 'I just saved her from drowning in the cove.'
" 'That was a mistake. You don't go looking for Trouble, Henry...Get away.'
"The last part was directed not at Henry but at the dog, who had come to sniff Henry's father to see if he might be at all interesting.
" 'Get away,' he said again. 'Black dog, get away.'
"The dog lifted up a paw.
"And Henry's father kicked her about as hard as a slippered foot can kick. Enough to skid her across the quarried stone floor.
"She did not cry out. When she stopped skidding, she turned on her back, put her feet up in the air, and showed her belly.
" 'Why did you ever bring that dog in here?' said Henry's father. 'Look at her. Who would want a black dog like that? Lying there, all beat up. Bleeding. Pieces of her missing.' He stopped. He leaned against the kitchen island and put his hands across his eyes. 'Pieces of her missing,' he said again. His body trembled, slowly, and then a little bit more, and a little more, like a building that is beginning to feel the earthquake starting under its foundations.
"Then his mouth opened, and though no sound came out, his silent howls filled the kitchen.
"Henry held his father. Tight. Very tight. He felt the black dog come back to them. He felt his father reach down to scratch behind her chipped ear.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By thebookwormsuggests on May 4, 2010
Format: Paperback
Henry Smith's family has been living in the picturesque town of Blythbury-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts since 1678. His father has always told him: "If you build your house far enough away from Trouble, then Trouble will never find you." It is a motto that seems to have served the Smith family well, until the night a pickup truck runs down Henry's older brother, Franklin, and puts him into a coma.

The driver of the pickup truck--a schoolmate of Franklin's--is a young Cambodian refugee, and the tragedy quickly ignites racial tensions that have been slowly brewing beneath the pretty veneer of Blythbury-by-the-Sea. Amidst the fury of the town, the volatile relations between Blythbury-by-the-Sea and nearby Merton (known as Little Cambodia), as well as his family's private grief, Henry sets out to find answers at the only place he thinks can yield him something--anything: Mt. Katahdin. The mountain he and Franklin had planned to climb before the accident.

With his best friend and his newly adopted dog, Black Dog, Henry sets off for Katahdin and runs immediately into the only person willing to give hitchhikers with a dog a ride: Chay Chouan, the driver in the pickup truck that fateful night. As they make their way to Katahdin together, Henry begins to realize that perhaps his father was wrong, that perhaps the more you run from Trouble, the closer Trouble exists, that perhaps his brother might not have been the perfect American Hero that Henry had thought him to be.

Gary D. Schmidt has written a lyrical novel dealing with grief, family, and the unpleasant truths that might lie within the people we love and admire. In Trouble, readers see how racism still runs rampant in the hearts of men and women. While I commend Gary D.
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