Trouble by Gary D. Schmidt
"Henry Smith's father told him that if you build your house far enough away from trouble, trouble will never find you." Unfortunately trouble finds Henry Smith and his family in a big way when Henry's older brother Franklin is hit by a pickup truck while he is out running. In the truck is Chay, a Cambodian refugee who attends the same school.
Henry all but worshipped his brother ("O Franklin, the great lord of us all, Franklin Smith"), and when he dies from his injuries, Henry is so full of grief and rage that he doesn't know what to do. His family and the whole town are also full of grief and rage. While his father and his sister lock themselves up in their house, others in the town target their rage at Chay and his family, but Chay and his family have issues of their own to deal with.
Henry decides to take the trip that he and Franklin had been planning, to climb Mount Katahdin. Although he is only 14, he leaves home with his dog, his friend, his rage and his grief. They are picked up on the way by the last person Henry wants to see, Chay, who is trying to leave his problems behind him, too.
Together, this unlikely foursome make their way to the mountain. On the journey, they learn about themselves and each other.
Gary D. Schmidt is a wonderful storyteller who weaves ordinary words into extraodinary word pictures. There is a cadence to his words that brings the action to life; and a beauty to his descriptions that paints the picture in your mind. He is also one of our favorite authors at Roselle Public Library. We have reviewed his other books, The Wednesday Wars and Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy, both award winners. When we discussed his book Straw into Gold back when The Blogger Book Club was just starting out, Mr Schmidt joined us online, talked about his book and answered our questions.
Trouble is nominated for the Rebecca Caudill Young Readers Award for 2011.