Book Review: Thanks for the Trouble

Thanks for the Trouble
By: Tommy Wallach
Published By: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: March 2016
Page Count: 368
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher via NetGalley
Audience: Young Adult 

Parker doesn't talk. He hasn't spoken since his father died five years ago. He uses sign language, but mostly communicates by writing things down in his journals. He's filled a lot of them, and is writing in one when he sees a girl with silver hair in a hotel restaurant. He makes up a story about her, a little fairy tale, and writes it down. When the girl gets up to leave, she leaves her purse, containing a large wad of cash, on the table. A serial thief, Parker picks it up and walks out of the hotel. Until he realises he's left his journal behind, and the girl is now reading it. 

Zelda Toth is not your average teenage girl. In fact she claims she's not a teenager at all. She's waiting on some news that will change her life and when she gets it, she's going to give away the last of her money, and jump off the Golden Gate bridge. Parker sees it as his mission to show Zelda there are still things left to live for, and in return, Zelda will show Parker that he can do better than cutting school and stealing from hotel patrons.

What follows is a beautiful and unconventional story that forms Parker's college application essay. This means that Parker is speaking, as it were, directly to the reader. I really enjoyed this writing style, it gave the story a sense of vibrancy. Parker doesn't hold back. He's honest about his own shortcomings and the mess that his life has become. 

It's left to the reader to decide whether we believe Zelda's claims about herself, or indeed any of Parker's story. I don't want to say too much about Zelda, I think it's best if you discover her slowly and make up your own mind. If you're able to suspend your disbelief, then this is a really enjoyable tale. The writing is beautiful and the dialogue sparkling. Parker is a compelling storyteller, and the short stories he weaves into his overall story are delightful.

The only thing I didn't like about this book was the ending, and of course I can't tell you why! 

This is a book about love, life, beginnings and endings. Well worth reading.


“I’ve got some questions for you. Was this story written about me?”

I shrugged.

“Yes or no?”

I shrugged again, finally earning a little scowl, which somehow made the girl even more pretty. It brought a bloom to her pale cheeks and made sharp shelves of her cheekbones.

“It’s very rude not to answer simple questions,” she said.

I gestured for my journal, but she still wouldn’t give it to me. So I took out my pen and wrote I can’t on my palm.

Then, in tiny letters below it, I finished the thought: Now don’t you feel like a jerk?

Parker Santé hasn’t spoken a word in five years. While his classmates plan for bright futures, he skips school to hang out in hotels, killing time by watching the guests. But when he meets a silver-haired girl named Zelda Toth, a girl who claims to be quite a bit older than she looks, he’ll discover there just might be a few things left worth living for.