This fiery autobiographical novel captures a pivotal week or two in the life of fourteen-year-old Jack Gantos, as the author reveals the moment he began to slide off track as a kid who in just a few years would find himself locked up in a federal penitentiary for the crimes portrayed in the memoir Hole in My Life .Read more...
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This fiery autobiographical novel captures a pivotal week or two in the life of fourteen-year-old Jack Gantos, as the author reveals the moment he began to slide off track as a kid who in just a few years would find himself locked up in a federal penitentiary for the crimes portrayed in the memoir Hole in My Life. Set in the Fort Lauderdale neighborhood of his family's latest rental home, The Trouble in Me opens with an explosive encounter in which Jack first meets his awesomely rebellious older neighbor, Gary Pagoda, just back from juvie for car theft. Instantly mesmerized, Jack decides he will do whatever it takes to be like Gary. As a follower, Jack is eager to leave his old self behind, and desperate for whatever crazy, hilarious, frightening thing might happen next. But he may not be as ready as he thinks when the trouble in him comes blazing to life.
This title has Common Core connections.
- ISBN-13: 9780374379957
- ISBN-10: 0374379955
- Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (Byr)
- Publish Date: September 2015
- Page Count: 224
- Reading Level: Ages 12-15
- Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.7 x 0.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 0.7 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-06-22
- Reviewer: Staff
This installment in Gantos’s ongoing chronicle of his tumultuous youth opens ominously, with 14-year-old Jackie crossing the backyard with matches and a can of lighter fluid. What could possibly go wrong? Conflagrations (more than one) follow as Jack, whose family has relocated again, attempts to reinvent himself in the image of his new neighbor, notorious juvenile delinquent, Gary Pagoda. Gary’s criminal skills include shoplifting, car theft, and possible statutory rape, but he also has a predilection for death-defying stunts—“the Pagoda Olympics”—like catapulting Jackie over the house in hopes of hitting the pool. Full of “don’t try this at home” moments (to the breaking point of credulity), Jack’s interior monologue also has a heartbreaking edge, as he struggles to distance himself from his father’s derogatory comments about his size and worth. Chronologically, the events Gantos describes partially bridge the gap between Jack’s Black Book (1997) and his Printz Honor winner, Hole in My Life (2002). The book also only covers a few weeks one summer—one suspects that Gantos isn’t finished mining his childhood for novel-worthy moments. Ages 12–up. (Sept.)