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3.88  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,413 Ratings  ·  495 Reviews
A dog, a mountain, and an ancient slave ship are featured in this latest page-turner from a versatile, award-winning author.

Climbing Katahdin, the highest mountain in Maine, is the goal that Henry sets himself when his brother dies following a car accident. Along with his dog, his best friend, and-surprisingly-the Cambodian boy whose car was involved in the fatal accident,
Audio CD, Unabridged, 297 pages
Published May 1st 2008 by Scholastic Audio Books (first published April 21st 2008)
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Ann Mallory
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Community Reviews

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Mar 03, 2008 Betsy rated it really liked it
You know, as a children’s librarian Gary Schmidt gives me no end of (for lack of a better word) trouble. As far as I can tell, he’s probably one of those authors that doesn’t like to begin writing a book by pigeonholing it for a single age group. If I'm right then it would explain why his oeuvre does a funny dance between children’s literature and young adult literature without the author ever fully belonging to one or the other. Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy? Children’s historical ficti ...more
Mar 07, 2009 Chris rated it it was amazing
I’ve found that some authors make me feel good about my own abilities as a writer. I read their work, and I think to myself, ‘OK, I’m relatively certain I’m at least in the same league with this and such author.’ No such luck with Gary Schmidt. This guy is an absolute pro.
Trouble is a gritty young adult novel about a teenager whose all-star older brother is struck and killed by a truck apparently driven by a young Cambodian refugee. In the aftermath of this tragedy, Henry sets out on a quest t
Jan 16, 2008 Molly rated it it was amazing
Gary Schmidt is probably my favorite children's writer after the venerable Katherine Paterson. I love both of them as phenomenal people, and admire them both madly as writers. So that's a disclaimer of sorts. That said--I didn't love TROUBLE as much as LIZZIE BRIGHT, and I didn't work on this book, so don't have quite the affection for it that I do for THE WEDNESDAY WARS. And I do see a few wee little problems in the narrative. BUT, they hardly matter b/c I think the heart of this book rises far ...more
Jul 22, 2009 Heather rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Age twelve and up
Recommended to Heather by: DaNae Leu--children's librarian extraordinaire
(This is my Amazon review) Another amazing coming-of-age novel from Schmidt, plus SO much more. I can't begin to explain how much I adore this book. I thought Wednesday Wars was near-perfect, but having just finished Trouble, I don't know which one I like better. Schmidt is an amazingly gifted writer. His imagery is so evocative, yet tangible. His characters are accessible, likeable and still complex enough to be real. I am a thirty-something mother of three daughters and found this book to be a ...more
Joyce Yattoni
I admit I did have a little trouble getting through the first few pages while Mr. Schmidt spent quite a bit if time describing the setting, the Smith's home in the pretentious Blythbury-by-the-Sea. But then he got to work on creating his characters rather quickly. Henry changes throughout the story who first idolized his bigoted deceased older brother and then slowly came to realize that he was not an American hero. Although this title is realistic fiction, the author weaved in a bit of history ...more
Jul 20, 2008 Ryan rated it really liked it
My favorite sentences from this book are:

"He could see pink and white blossoms in nearby orchards, and farther away, the brief yellow of the daffodils, so bright they looked as if Van Gogh had just come from them with his paint-brush still wet in his hand" (pg 108)

"A heart that has lost knows every other heart that has lost" (pg 197)

The first let me see what the author was describing, the second is just a lovely way to say what is true. And comparing a book to a painting is a wonderful way to pr
I've spoken with my Middle School students about books like this, those written as contemporary fiction but set in the near-past (eg, my lifetime). Any book written/set in the 60s-90s isn't historical enough unless there's a real need to use the past (like, talking about the Vietnam War or Woodstock). Just "because" doesn't interest them. Kids without cellphones or video games or computers seem unreal, and they just don't care.

This book could have, very easily, been written "today" but I suspect
Sep 12, 2010 Stacy rated it really liked it
I think if you approach "Trouble" in a completely different way than Lizzie Bright or The Wednesday Wars, then you can appreciate the story it tells. Don't make the mistake of thinking it's going to be like the other two stories: full of light, full of mirth and humor, even amongst challenges. This one is much more true to life in my opinion---dealing with the harsh situations that life can throw at you, and yet finding that things aren't the way you thought they were all along. I thoroughly enj ...more
Dian Cronan
Feb 21, 2015 Dian Cronan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I orginally read this one in a search for something to pair with Touching Spirit Bear in my Language Arts class. This novel provides an interesting look into the family dynamics when dealing with loss, as well as mystery and racisim against Cambodians, something a lot of peoplel don't really think about or are even aware of. Each of the main characters has a heart-breaking backstory, and although they begin as enemies tied together by tragedy, they ultimately find themselves and friendship in ea ...more
Apr 19, 2008 Jamie rated it liked it
Shelves: real-life, 14-16
This book went from 2 stars to 3 stars just because I still think that Gary Schmidt is a masterful writer.

But this story starts out sloooooow, with long descriptions of small New England towns, and houses, that seem quiety adult. There are changes of narrator that confuse, and overdone metaphors (the titular one, for example) and some clunky racists that seem to have no reason for being that way. And Henry figures everything out with no clues that I can see (we the reader to get clues.)

Feb 18, 2008 Susan rated it it was amazing
I thought this was a powerhouse of a book, and it was one of the best books I've read in a long time. I wasn't quite sure where the author was taking me... but was very glad to have made the journey when I reached the end.

This was the first book I've read by Gary Schmidt, so I didn't have any expectations.

After you finish the book, go back and read the italic sections at the end of each chapter. they'll make a lot more sense. It's a bit early to say this... but I'm predicting a Newbery or Newber
Sep 13, 2015 Robert rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-books
This is a great book with a strong message about trouble being everywhere know matter who you are, where you live and what ethnic background you come from. Racism and bigotry are cleverly addressed as the characters and plot evolve.
Jun 13, 2016 Krista rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Trouble is a tale of moral awakening written with an intricate interweaving of subplots. The central character, intermediate prep school student Henry Smith, comes from a well-to-do Massachusetts dynasty whose roots are firmly embedded in three centuries of historical America. Henry's father has tried to insulate his family from Trouble, but Trouble comes to them anyway when Henry's older brother Franklin is struck by a vehicle while he is out jogging. Franklin lies in a hospital for weeks, horr ...more
Hunter Sherman
Jan 12, 2016 Hunter Sherman rated it really liked it
Trouble, by Gary D. Schmidt, is a book about a family who tries to stay away from problems. Picture yourself living out in the middle of nowhere, away from trouble. The Smith family has been living in a town called Blythbury by the Sea for a long time, and have never had any trouble, until now. A sudden devastation begins to destroy their family. What does Henry try to do next?
One detail from the book that I enjoyed was when Henry was on a boat racing team with his friends. I enjoyed this beca
Libby Ames
Henry Smith's father always says if you build your house far away from Trouble, then Trouble will never find you. But when Henry's older brother Franklin is hit by a truck and critically injured, Trouble comes to stay. Because the driver of the truck is Chay Chouan, a Cambodian boy from Franklin's preparatory school, the accident sparks racial tension in the town and Henry's family is caught in the middle.

As Henry struggles with his emotions, he escapes to climb Mt. Katahdin, a hike he planned t
Bryon Butler
Apr 05, 2015 Bryon Butler rated it it was amazing
I “discovered” Gary Schmidt through the Wednesday Wars, and happily picked up Trouble. I found that the (2008 hardback) cover does not do the book justice: the back cover blip can’t deal with all the book is about, and the front cover’s superimposed picture of a boy with his eyes closed is anemic. Yet trying to describe the book: an Anglo-boy with a high pedigree juxtaposed with a Cambodian refugee, a truck, an obnoxious best-friend, a dog, a horrible accident, the remains of a ship with a tragi ...more
Kayla Davis
This book is the story about a boy named Henry and his family, who despite doing their best to plant themselves far away from trouble land right in the middle of it. Henry and his family live in a town that everyone refers to as Blythbury-by-the-Sea – a small, quiet, secluded town nestled by the sea that much resembles a rich gated community. Life in Blythbury-by-the-Sea is quiet and peaceful, but everything changes when right before a big hike, Henry’s older brother Franklin is hit by a truck d ...more
Aug 01, 2014 Cheryl rated it it was amazing
The book, "Trouble" by Gary Schmidt combines mystery and adventure with the dilemmas involved in living as a young person in a seaside town with different ethnicities. Henry's father tells him that "if you build your house far enough away from trouble, then trouble will never find you." However, with one event, trouble comes down the road and settles into Henry's life. The event causes racial tension in the town and through grief, uncertainties, shared experiences, facing fears, and forgiveness ...more
Jun 03, 2014 Sheri rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think Schmidt is an awesome writer, but though this book is very good, it isn't my favorite of his works. The book begins at a leisurely pace, describing the upper-class New England life of its protagonist, Henry. In the first couple chapters, I felt like Henry kept me at arm's length. The story did ultimately draw me in such that I had a hard time peeling myself away in later chapters as Henry struggles to deal with the fallout of his brother's accident, but at the same time I had a little tr ...more
Elizabeth Smith
May 26, 2016 Elizabeth Smith rated it really liked it
Shelves: eng-356-1-10
Brief Synopsis (without spoilers):
Henry Smith seems to have the perfect life, until one day when his world seems to go up in smoke as his "perfect" older brother is hit by a car on an evening run. With the death of his older brother, Henry's dad going into a silent mourning, and the "killer" going to Henry's high school, the only relief comes from a scraggly dog found on the beach. Soon though, Henry knows that in order to make everything right and to become the man his brother never thought he
May 28, 2015 Miranda rated it liked it
Once again Garry D. Schmidt has written another great book. This book is an action packed book, that will get your attention and make you not want to put down the book. This book talks about trusting your enemies and dreams.
I read the book Trouble by Gary D. Schmidt. This book is about a two brothers named Franklin and Henry that live in Maine. They always had a dream of climbing the tallest mountain in Maine, and they were going to do it, until everything changed. Franklin was in an accident, a
Mackenzie Cannon
Dec 09, 2014 Mackenzie Cannon rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cultural, t-l-307
Henry is a boy whose family has always been pretty lucky up until his older brother Franklin is hit by a car. As he is lying in his hospital bed, he looks at Henry and mouths the word “Katahdin”, which is a mountain that Henry and Franklin always wanted to climb together, and now Henry is determined to accomplish it for his brother. Henry begins to climb the mountain with two other boys and a dog he saved from drowning. Henry learns several things about his companions along the way; including on ...more
Feb 23, 2016 Jeff rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Henry lives in an old home on a cliff overlooking the sea. The home has been in his family for generations. His father, an accountant in Boston, is always telling his son that ââ‚Å“if you build your house far enough away from Trouble, then Trouble will never find you.ââ‚ Itââ‚â„¢s a privileged life. He attends an elite prep school and is on the rowing team. Not far away, in an old mill town, there is a community of Cambodians who have fled their country and resettled in Massachusetts. One ni ...more
Lexi Carpenter
Feb 27, 2014 Lexi Carpenter rated it liked it
The book "Trouble" by Gary D Schmidt is about a family whos oldest son, Franklin, gets hit by a car while going out for a jog one afternoon. Henry, the main character, always dreamed of climbing Mount Katahdin with Franklin but now since he was dying in the hospital he didnt think he would be able to fufill his dream. After Franklin died, Henry, Black Dog, and is friend Sanborn decided they would go climbing in honor of Franklin but they didnt have a car so they got picked up by a cambodian boy ...more
Matt Glaviano
May 23, 2016 Matt Glaviano rated it did not like it
I'll say this for Trouble -- it made me laugh more than any book I've read in a long time.

Wait -- that's just me?

Imagine Paul Harvey writing a YA novel, which is then narrated by Garrison Keillor. Now think of it as an 80s after-school special. Then reverently whisper Katahdin. A lot. So many times, in fact, that it gets you in...


Why not throw in some banal cliches? What do you mean the plot won't work, or that the racism seems forced? Don't worry -- we'll have plenty of outlandish co
Dec 18, 2012 Rebecca rated it liked it
Trouble was an enlighting story which taught me about the world. At first I couldn't really get into the book but as it continues I really started to like it. I learned many thiings while reading Trouble. The most important thing: You can't run from trouble, it will always find you and you just have to live with it.
May 17, 2014 Cheryl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gary D. Schmidt can write. He can make me taste the air, shed tears over his characters, and laugh while I'm shedding them. (inappropriately, I'm sure).
His male protagonist does stuff my brothers did, things that would never cross my mind (like constantly punch and wrestle with your best friend), so I think his books are good for guys.
This is a tough one, with lots of trouble, even though the protagonist is rich with old-school money. There is death, and racial hatred, and the horrors of angry
Heather Perkinson
Resisted reading this for a while, wish I hadn't--it was really excellent and combined a lot of my favorite things: suspense/mystery, issues (racism, class), history, and as an added bonus, it's narrated by a likeable but not too perfect boy character. Oh, and there's a good dog.
Nov 06, 2008 Karlan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya
We like to think of ourselves as a people who welcome refugees, but it is not always true. This ya novel about prejudice, hardship, and change moved me as I reached the exciting conclusion. It would make a good booktalk, too.
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Gary D. Schmidt is an American children's writer of nonfiction books and young adult novels, including two Newbery Honor books. He lives on a farm in Alto, Michigan,with his wife and six children, where he splits wood, plants gardens, writes, feeds the wild cats that drop by and wishes that sometimes the sea breeze came that far inland. He is a Professor of English at Calvin College.

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“The world is Trouble...and Grace. That is all there is.” 21 likes
“A heart that has lost knows every other heart that has lost. Late and soon, loss is all the same.” 6 likes
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