Trouble, by Gary Schmidt
New York : Clarion Books, c2008
age group: 12 years and up
Henry's father used to say, "If you build your house far enough away from Trouble, then Trouble won't find you." But Henry discovers that, no matter how hard you might try, you can never build your house far away from Trouble. Trouble will always find you. What counts is having good people near you when Trouble comes your way.
Trouble, by Gary Schmidt, is an intense, well-written story. The book begins with 7th-grader, Henry, wrestling with his relationship with his overpowering, almost bullying, older brother Franklin. But suddenly, quite in the beginning of the book, Franklin is hit while out running. Henry's family withdraws - each family member isolated in their own grief, but Henry throws himself first into his crew racing, and then into his goal of climbing Mt. Kitaden. He has to deal with the racial tensions in this small New England setting - head-on, since Chay Chouan, the boy who killed his brother, is the one who picks him up as Henry hitchhikes to Kitaden.
This is an intense story, well-written and very descriptive. I was definitely hooked through the reading, but I'm not sure the best audience for it - I'm thinking maybe 8th grade and up. It would actually be fascinating to delve into the story and think about the reactions of the different characters. But I'm not sure kids would get into it as just pleasure reading. It would almost work for an adult book group - but then, I love young adult novels. It's a fascinating time of life - when we are thinking through so much of the world, who we are, and what is important to us.