Thanks for the Trouble by Tommy Wallach

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Thanks for the Trouble by Tommy Wallach

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Category: Teens
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: Parker hasn't spoken in five years. Trauma, dontchaknow. But he shares a crazy weekend with the exotic Zelda and everything changes. Loved this honest, engrossing story that keeps you guessing until the very end.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 288 Date: February 2016
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 147114612X

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Parker hasn't spoken a single, solitary word for the last five years. He hasn't started applying for college yet, either. Not that he'd likely get in: his grades are rubbish and he spends as much time skipping school as he does attending class. He has also developed a petty theft habit, which he indulges in well-heeled hotels. Oh dear, I hear you saying. It's not as though there aren't reasons for Parker's behaviour, there are, but reasons don't help much.

And then, one day, while people-watching at the Palace Hotel, Parker meets Zelda, a silver-haired girl of perfect sadness. Parker steals her money. She holds his journal hostage - and you can imagine how important a journal is to a mute boy. They make a deal. And what follows is a crazy weekend that will change Parker's life forever...

... Thanks for the Trouble is one of those stories a reviewer could easily ruin. You could go into the book with expectations that would spoil the experience if I am not very careful. On the other hand, if I don't say much you might lose interest in the idea of reading it and move on to the next review. I would hate you to do that. I really want you to read Thanks for the Trouble because it's just gorgeous. I'll say this: as the story goes along, Parker's trauma is gradually revealed and the mystery surrounding the strange, exotic Zelda suffuses every page.

Zelda is vivid and vital and direct and outspoken. This makes her the perfect foil for the silent Parker. And as she rampages through his life, the people in it - his unhappy mother who drinks too much, his classmates who could be friends if only he would let them - come into clearer focus to Parker. He starts to join the world despite himself. And he desperately wants to return the favour and make things better for Zelda, the girl of perfect sadness.

You may remember Tommy Wallach from We All Looked Up, which I loved. Thanks for the Trouble is a very different story from that apocalyptic vision, but it has the same clear sight and honesty and the same accurate observation. I believed in both Parker and Zelda fully - and once you've read the book, you'll realise that's an important thing for me to say. I really hope you read this story because there's not another one out there like it.


The Bride's Farewell by Meg Rosoff also features a character who doesn't speak. And if you liked Zelda, you might also like Rat in Unhooking the Moon by Gregory Hughes.

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Buy Thanks for the Trouble by Tommy Wallach at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Thanks for the Trouble by Tommy Wallach at


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