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TROUBLE by Gary D. Schmidt

TROUBLE

By Gary D. Schmidt

Age Range: 12 - 16

Pub Date: April 21st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-618-92766-1
Publisher: Clarion

One of children’s literature’s prose masters presents a typically deliberate tale of moral awakening. Henry Smith, younger son of a well-to-do Massachusetts family, finds his secure world rocked to its foundations when his jogging brother is critically injured by a pickup truck driven by a young Cambodian immigrant. His family falls apart. Three things keep Henry, too, from crumbling completely: his hatred for the boy who drove the truck, his love for the stray Black Dog he brings home and his determination to climb Maine’s Mt. Katahdin, the mountain his brother teased him he’d never summit. The leisurely development of plot and characters allows the latter full emotional complexity and nuances the former with the layers of relationships that, willy-nilly, bind humanity together. One subplot too many—the wreck of a slaver appears on the Smiths’ beach—results in a little too much Significant Musing and a wild coincidence that threatens the credibility of the whole. It’s a measure of Schmidt’s control in other realms that this still stands as a deeply moving and pleasurable read. (Fiction. 12-16)