Gantos, Jack The Trouble in Me, 208 pgs. MacMillan (Farrar Straus Giroux), 2015. $17.99. Language: PG13 (25 swears, 0 Fs); Mature Content: PG; Violence: PG13.
14-year-old Jack is intrigued by his cool, dangerous, older neighbor and really wants to be his friend. (Actually he wants to be just like him) But Gary is trouble. Fresh out of Juvie, Gary’s idea of fun is often very dangerous, attracts the police, and could kill Jack. But Jack, and Gary’s little brother Frankie play along, despite the close calls. Gary is really only using Jack so his probation officer will think he’s taking a step in the right direction by making a friend. Jack is taking many steps in the wrong direction, trying to be someone he is not.
This is not your typical middle level Jack Gantos book. Joey Pigza and the town of Norvelt are much more appropriate for that age level. There are a lot of really bad ideas, dangerous stunts and other “don’t try this at homes” that make this book come with a caution for younger teenagers. If your High School library has his autobiography Hole in My Life, this is a good companion piece.
MS, HS - OPTIONAL Lisa Librarian