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|Trouble in me|
Author: Gantos, Jack
Fourteen-year-old Jack falls under the spell of a delinquent Florida neighbor and gets way more trouble than he bargained for.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: UG
Reading Level: 6.10
Points: 7.0 Quiz: 175995
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 7.60
Points: 12.0 Quiz: 66627
Kirkus Reviews (06/01/15)
School Library Journal (+) (10/01/15)
Booklist (+) (08/01/15)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/10/15)
The Hornbook (00/09/15)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 08/01/2015 *Starred Review* Know thyself, Alexander Pope advises us, and Gantos does that in spades in this insightful prequel to his award-winning memoir Hole in My Life (2002). Jack is 14 on the fateful day he meets his mysterious older neighbor Gary Pagoda and, enchanted, quickly becomes his acolyte. However, there’s trouble ahead, for Gary is the kind of kid parents warn their children against. But Jack doesn’t care. Bored, lonely, self-hating, and sad, he is on fire with the desire to be like Gary—or, better yet, to be Gary. But in seeking to emulate him, Jack’s behavior takes a precipitous turn for the worse. Will he flameout in the process of transforming himself? One of the tools the spellbinding Gantos uses in this incendiary fictionalized memoir is simile and metaphor. Fire is a recurring motif (it’s what brings the boys together and informs their developing relationship): meat drippings that Jack grills crisp like someone burning at the stake, while mosquitoes are winged formations of humming hypodermics. Abundant style and substance make this an irresistible cautionary tale that will doubtlessly drive eager readers back to Hole in My Life for further adventures.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Gantos has won a Newbery Medal, Printz Honor, Sibert Honor, and countless hearts. Readers will want to know how he became one of a kind. - Copyright 2015 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 10/01/2015 Gr 7–10—Situated sometime between the events in Jack's Black Book (1997) and Hole in My Life (2002, both Farrar), Gantos's latest offering is a fictionalized look at a critical juncture in his own adolescence. Shortly after moving to a new town, 14-year-old Jack meets Gary Pagoda, a way-too-cool-for-school delinquent who is the utter antithesis of Jack. He smokes, wears a black leather jacket, curses like a sailor, steals cars, may have impregnated a local girl, and shares Jack's enthusiasm for all things pyrotechnic. Dissatisfied with his own seeming weakness and looking to reinvent himself, Jack falls in love with the idea—if not exactly the reality—of bad boy Pagoda. In an effort to impress his new mentor, Jack literally risks life and limb in cringe-inducing scenes of backyard stunts involving fire, ropes, and all manner of terrible ideas—many of which should come with a "Don't try this at home!" warning label. Beneath the bravado, however, Jack struggles with self-acceptance and what it means to be a man. He allows his manipulative and mean role model to goad him into increasingly dangerous situations, losing pieces of himself with every moral compromise. Though it's clear by the end that Jack is not cut out for a criminal lifestyle, the seeds of his tendency to relinquish control of his life to others have been planted and the stage set for the trouble he meets in Hole in My Life. Gantos's characteristic humor and keen observation of the fragile teen psyche combine with heartbreaking authenticity in this unflinching look at how a good kid can easily go down a wrong path. VERDICT Hand this to the so-called "bad" kids, the lost kids, and the ones struggling to find their way.—Kiera Parrott, School Library Journal - Copyright 2015 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.