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3.88  ·  Rating Details ·  2,515 Ratings  ·  504 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
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
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
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 ...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 ...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.)

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 ...more
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
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.
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.
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.
Sep 17, 2012 Lauren rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
Gary Schmidt has not failed me yet! I didn't like it quite as much as the Wednesday Wars or Okay for Now, but I attribute it to the fact that this has more mature content, and deeper character conflicts.
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.
Jan 10, 2009 Michele rated it liked it
This book was a huge disappointment to me. I loved Lizzie Bright and The Wednesday Wars, so I had high expections for Schmidt's book. The ending was a bit predictable.
Mar 06, 2008 Rita rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone 12 and up
Recommended to Rita by: Morgan
Another fabulous book by Gary Schmidt. I hope he wins the Newbery for this one!
Aug 01, 2009 Tasha rated it it was amazing
Henry’s father always told him that if you build your house far enough away from Trouble, then Trouble will never find you. Henry never had to doubt his dad’s favorite quote until the night his older brother Franklin was hit by a pickup truck. Now Franklin lies in the hospital on the brink of death while Henry has to deal with not only his emotions, but those of the rest of his family’s. His father has retreated into his library and rarely leaves, his mother is trying to stay strong, but Henry ...more
Sep 04, 2011 Josiah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gary D. Schmidt is a marvel. Every one of his novels, at least inasmuch as I can tell by this point, is so elegantly plotted and emotionally important and potent that it would appear as if he must never have a day when he's off his best writing game. All of his books seem to be works of art as surely a Picasso or Van Gogh painting, and I have to admit that I don't know how he does it so consistently. His mind's powers of creative output shoot around out there in an entirely different orbit, one ...more
Sean Keyser
May 08, 2012 Sean Keyser rated it it was amazing
By Gary D. Schmidt

One minute, Henry Smith is an ordinary middle schooler in New Hampshire, the next, his world is turned upside down. Henry had always wanted to climb Mount Katahdin with his older brother Franklin, but Franklin teased him that he wouldn’t be able to do it. Then, the night before their long-anticipated climb, Franklin gets hit by a car while out for a jog. After Franklin’s death, Henry decides that he’s going to climb Mount Katahdin on his own, to prove it to himself and t
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, ...more
Madigan McGillicuddy
Sep 23, 2010 Madigan McGillicuddy rated it really liked it
I got the impression this was supposed to take place in the late 70's, or possibly early 80's. I'd heard that the story takes place in Maine and deals with Cambodian immigration. Having grown up in Maine around Cambodian refugees myself, that was enough to hook me right there. It's not terribly often that Maine shows up as a locale (One Morning in Maine by Robert McCloskey, aside) in children's books so I was interested to see what Schmidt would have to say about it, and how the audiobook ...more
Mar 06, 2013 Tw rated it liked it
By Bary D. Schmidt

I heard the author interviewed on NPR (WBUR?) for a more recently released YD book, “Okay for Now.” He sounded interesting and the book sounded good and I ended up buying both for my thirteen year old daughter. (She’s reading “The Hobbit” right now for school. I ask if it’s okay to read one of these books for school but she can’t. Today they take web based tests that go into some State database so kids can’t negotiate the approved list anymore with their teachers. Everyt
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 “if you build your house far enough away from Trouble, then Trouble will never find you.” It’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. ...more
Julian Holmes
Sep 15, 2010 Julian Holmes rated it it was amazing
By Julian Holmes

What would you do if your brother died? Weep for days? Take out your anger bullying, other people? Henry Smith decided to climb a mountain. The book “Trouble” is about a 14 year old boy living a perfect trouble-free life in Blythbury-by-the-sea, New England. Henry’s older brother Franklin is the rugby, super-star athlete of the town. Everybody adores him, but at home he is kind of a jerk towards Henry (sort of like a big brother is). He tells Henry can’t do things, call
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 ...more
Jul 17, 2013 Sandy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library, ya, fiction
Trouble. Henry’s father conveys his own philosophy about trouble as he resides with his own family in their ancestral home. He does this in the prim and proper house that is nestled away, far enough away from trouble, so trouble would never find them but Henry’s father only knew so much. Henry believed in what his father thought about trouble as all children should, until trouble came knocking at their door. For when trouble did hit Henry’s house, it hit the family hard and pushed and pushed its ...more
Kelly Risinger
Sep 25, 2016 Kelly Risinger rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, 2016, dogs, sad, asian-influence
Powerful story infused with mix of emotions. Intense emotions and conflicts that seem beyond the elementary age student. Cambodia refugees and old wealth collide in this complicated story.
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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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