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The Trouble in Me

Review

The Trouble in Me

A skilled writer of children’s books, Jack Gantos pours his careful mix of humor, insight and advice into his newest endeavor,THE TROUBLE IN ME.  Jack didn’t have to look far for the inspiration of his new coming-of-age novel --- all he had to do was take notes on his 14-year-old self.

Capturing the span of a week, THE TROUBLE IN ME reveals the journey that led Gantos spiraling down the wrong paths. Set in warm, sunny Fort Lauderdale, Gantos recounts his early teen years with a direct and straightforward honesty. Unlike a normal autobiography, Jack writes his encounters very personally, and above anything else, with incredible humor.  Although the story drags on at a slow pace, at times, and is bogged down by unnecessary insight, it makes up for this with its balance of action, adventure and wittiness.

Jack Gantos pours his careful mix of humor, insight and advice into his newest endeavor.

With the unlikely arrival of Gary Pagoda, who is newly freed from juvie following his conviction of car theft, Jack is mesmerized and infatuated with becoming someone he is not.  Gantos showcases his thought process at this time, and his desire to break the rules just to fit in with the new cool guy in town. I liked how the author explained some of the decisions he made, and it helped the reader understand the book and the characters better.

Throughout the story, Gantos begins to lose the most important things to him. As he continues to be Gary’s disciple, he becomes desperate enough to do whatever it takes to be like him. When he realizes that this comes with great sacrifices --- like when he stands on the wrong side of a jail cell in a federal penitentiary --- it makes the reader speculate if the “trouble in him” will keep blazing out of control.

THE TROUBLE IN ME might just be a perfect fit for those who can relate to becoming someone they’re not and listening to the wrong voices or are looking for a story of redemption.

Reviewed by Ariel G., Teen Board member on September 9, 2015

The Trouble in Me
by Jack Gantos

  • Publication Date: April 18, 2017
  • Genres: Youth Fiction
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Square Fish
  • ISBN-10: 1250090636
  • ISBN-13: 9781250090638