April 26, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Nothing but Trouble by Jacqueline Davies | SLJ Review

Get the latest SLJ reviews every month, subscribe today and save up to 35%.

redstarDavies, Jacqueline. Nothing but Trouble. 320p. (Nothing but Trouble: Bk. 1). HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Bks. Nov. 2016. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780062369888. MG-SP-Davies-Nothing but Trouble

Gr 5-8 –Maggie’s friendship with Allie and Emily is not the only thing coming to an end. This is the last year Odawahoka Middle School will be in existence, and this year’s sixth grade is the final class. Classrooms have been shuttered, programs have been suspended, and labs have been locked up tight. As Maggie’s old friends are finding different interests, new girl Lena appears. Lena is a self-possessed artist, into photography and the Dada movement. She is very un-Odawahoka, and she has decided that she is going to be Maggie’s best friend. The problem is that Maggie is harboring some secrets and she needs to decide how much she is going to let Lena know; she’s often the one left taking care of her cranky grandfather, her mom disappears into her room at night with a bottle in hand, Maggie is maintaining a secret website selling vintage autoparts, and there is her late father’s Hacker Bible. Before he died, her father was a brilliant engineer who pulled off epic hacks with aplomb, and Maggie is determined to follow in his footsteps and make this last year at Odawahoka Middle School memorable for her classmates. As controlled chaos seems to reign beneath the crumbling roof of their middle school, both girls discover more about friendship, family, school spirit, and themselves than they imagined. VERDICT This pitch-perfect start to a new series captures the power dynamics between adults and children and allows for the realization that everyone has a story worth hearing.–Stacy Dillon, LREI, New York City

This review was published in the School Library Journal August 2016 issue.