This book was pretty much everything I look for in a YA read. It was light without being too fluffy and drew on its strengths, primarily the characters.
Thanks for the Trouble is told from the point of view of Parker Sante, a boy who hasn’t spoken a word in five years. He skips school a lot and when he does he hangs out in the lobby of hotels watching the guests come and go. One day he spots a silver-haired girl at a hotel restaurant and starts watching her. She appears to be around Parkers age and when she leaves the restaurant she forgets to take her huge wad of money. This is one of the first indications that there’s something a bit different about this girl. When she leaves the restaurant Parker goes over to her table and pockets her money, but leaves the journal he uses to communicate with people (and write stories in) behind. When he realises this he returns to the table and runs into the silver-haired girl who tells him her name is Zelda. They get talking and end up spending a few days together doing ordinary teenage things. This ordinariness coupled with magical realism gave the book a real edge. While they’re together Zelda tells Parker that she’s really much older than she looks and tells him the story of her life which gives the book a magical realism slant.
When I first thought about picking this book up I had a look at a couple of reviews and saw a term that I’d never heard before, manic pixie dream girl. Apparently whether Zelda is one or not will be one of the defining reasons whether or not people like it. What rock have I been living under not to have heard this term before, you ask? Well, it’s a rock that’s perched on the side of a grassy hill in Norn Iron where I live. Anyway, to me it doesn’t really matter whether or not Zelda is one of these manic pixie dream girls, at least not when you get to the end and can view the story in its entirety.
Parker was a really refreshing character. He wasn’t the type of sickly sweet voice that you often find in YA novels. He was funny and cynical and a very honest interpretation of a teen. Zelda had so many quirks that she lightened the mood, even though it wasn’t depressing in the first place. All the minor characters felt authentic and real. Somehow a book that had an element of magical realism was one of the most realistic YA books I’ve read. I did suspend my disbelief a couple of times, but the great thing was I didn’t care. I was enjoying it so much that it just didn’t matter.
Other reviews have gone into the structure of the book, but I feel doing so would ruin it for others. I won’t go any further except to say I think any and everyone should give this short book a read.