Trouble, Gary Schmidt

ok people, this is from memory. It’s been at least a year since I read Trouble, but the structure was so well-built I continue to pull it back into my mind. Maybe because I’m comparing it to another book club selection that I decided was ultimately unsatisfying.


  1. brings together three plotlines in a perfectly plausible, and yet surprising, way;
  2. introduces two comic characters to relieve the pressure of the storyline’s primary suspense (but who also figure strongly into plotline);
  3. reveals its mystery slowly;
  4. allows the viewpoint character’s own narrowed perspective to hide the culprit until the end.

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin

  1. brings three plotlines together but awkwardly
  2. nothing much will bring a smile to one’s face while reading this
  3. reveals its primary mystery early, but tries to keep suspense by using other violent mysteries that don’t get satisfactorily resolved (motive, means?);
  4. one viewpoint character holds secrets that are implausibly withheld.

Admittedly, Trouble too has a weak spot, covered up conveniently by the viewpoint character being smacked over the head and needing to be transported to a hospital. And its coincidences are a tad remote, but I had no trouble suspending disbelief to follow the characters along in their quest.


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About sidney woods

After a couple of practice novels, I'm now engrossed in an effort to create my first YA story, set in the tumultuous year of 1980. The best of YA stories fit my passion for reading that's worth something, so I think about those stories 'out loud' here.

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