Tommy Wallach, the New York Times bestselling author of the “stunning debut” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review) We All Looked Up, delivers a brilliant new novel about a young man who overcomes a crippling loss and finds the courage to live after meeting an enigmatic girl.
“Was this story written about me?”
“Yes or no?”
I shrugged again, finally earning a little scowl, which somehow made the girl even more pretty.
“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 on my palm.
I can’t, I wrote. Then, in tiny letters below it: 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.
From the celebrated author of We All Looked Up comes a unique story of first and last loves.
About the Author
Tommy Wallach is the author of the Anchor & Sophia trilogy, Thanks for the Trouble, and the New York Times bestselling We All Looked Up, which has been translated into over a dozen languages. His writing has appeared in McSweeney’s, Tin House, Wired, and other magazines, and he is a MacDowell Fellow. He was signed to Decca Records as a singer-songwriter, and has independently released two full-length albums, including We All Looked Up: The Album, a companion record to his first novel. He currently lives in Los Angeles, where he recently opened up his first escape room, and is working on bringing his novels to various sorts of screens. Grok more at TommyWallach.com.
Read an Excerpt
Thanks for the Trouble
THE BOY SAT ON A bench in the lobby of the Palace Hotel. It was about eight thirty in the morning, and he was supposed to be at school. But the boy had always thought it was a load of BS that you were expected to go to school on Halloween, so he’d decided not to. Maybe he’d go later. Maybe not. At this stage, it didn’t really make much of a difference either way.
The boy noticed he was drawing more attention than he usually did. He’d been to the Palace plenty of times before, but this was the first time he’d shown up on a weekday, and the place wasn’t busy enough for someone like him to go unremarked. He was dressed in dirty jeans and an old black T-shirt, and his hair was long and probably a mess (full disclosure: he hadn’t looked in the mirror before leaving the house that morning). Also, he was Latino, which made him one of the very few Latino people in the building who wasn’t there to bring room service to or clean up the dishes of or mop up the floors for old, rich, white people. To put it bluntly, he looked like he’d come there with some sort of criminal intention, which was racist and judgmental and totally non-PC.
It was also true.
That’s not to say that the boy looked like a thug. He was just your average teenager. Or a little above average, actually. Like, you’d probably think he was cute, if you had to weigh in one way or the other. Or not cute, maybe, but not not cute either. Just, like, your normal level of cuteness. A solid seven out of ten. Maybe a B/B+ on a good day, in the right light, taking the most forgiving possible position on his too-thick eyebrows and his weirdly prominent dimples when he smiled and his slight butt chin . . .
Fuck me. This is turning into a disaster, isn’t it?
I thought it would be better to write this in the third person, to give myself a little critical perspective. But it feels pretty messed up to write about whether I’m cute while pretending I’m not the one writing about whether I’m cute. It would be like writing your own recommendation letter or something.
Shit. I just noticed I used the F word up there. Oh, and now I’ve written “shit.” I guess I could go back and delete them, but I’d rather not. I mean, do we really have to play this game, where because I’m who I am and you’re who you are, we pretend that the word “fuck” doesn’t exist, and while we’re at it, that the action that underlies the word doesn’t exist, and I just puke up a bunch of junk about how some teacher changed my life by teaching me how Shakespeare was actually the world’s first rapper, or about the time I was doing community service with a bunch of homeless teenagers dying of cancer or something and felt the deep call of selfless action, or else I pull out all the stops and give you the play-by-play sob story of what happened to my dad, or some other terrible heartbreak of a thing that makes you feel so bummed out you figure, what the hell, we’ve got quotas after all, and this kid’s gotten screwed over enough, so you give me the big old stamp of approval and a fat envelope in the mail come April?
I say no. I say let’s not play games. You asked me a question—What was the single most important experience of your life?—and I’m going to answer it, even though my answer might be a little longer than five hundred words and might have the F word in it, and even the F action in it, and a whole lot of other stuff I’d have to be crazy to put down on paper and send to you. And then you’ll read my answer, and you’ll make your decision.
Let’s start over.
Nice to meet you. I’m Parker Santé. I am medium cute, and bad at writing in the third person. Here is how the most important experience of my life began.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Wow! I have to say it again, Wow! I thought this novel was amazing, stimulating, unexpected and calming. I know not everyone will agree with me and that’s okay, as that is how novels are supposed to be. Novels speak to people in different ways but literally this novel got me. I loved the spontaneity of their relationship, how they were with one another, their comfort level and the peace that they had with one another. They were in the moment and I felt I was there grasping everything they were experiencing. I loved the stories that Parker wrote. His imagination was amazing. They were twisted and unpredictable but the mood that he creates within them says something about him and what he sees. I loved the adventure that they took together. How her wisdom showed him things about the world that he didn’t know and how he showed her that saving her was worth it. I noticed as I read this novel, the words took on a special flow. I couldn’t read the novel fast, I read every word and I savored their journey together for everything felt important. Unfortunately, I liked the ending. It wasn’t a perfect one yet it was exactly how it was supposed to be and it fit the novel. I almost didn’t want the novel to end but I knew this novel must have an ending for it only seemed fitting. What a great novel and one I would love to read again in the future.
3.5 Stars - Original review @ 125Pages.com I wanted to like Thanks for the Trouble more than I did. The plot sounded great and I really wanted to connect with the characters. After reading it, the plot was great but the characters were not my favorite. Parker is a boy who hasn’t spoken in five years since the death of his father. Hiding in the shadows, he ignores those around him until he sees a girl with silver hair drinking a cup of coffee. Zelda is a rush of pure life, interjected into Parker’s quite life. Through her he starts to see that the world he has pushed away may not be the cesspool he has thought. Tommy Wallach started with a great premise. I adored the plot, so different and unique. Then entered the required absent and distracted YA parent to bring it down a little. The writing has some great moments and some not so great. The story ranged from sublime to a bratty teen, angry because he could not do whatever he wanted. The pacing was quick, with most of the action taking place over just a few days. The world created was real, centered around Parker’s high school and a few key San Francisco highlights. The characters and the emotions are tied together to me. The characters were super unique and I wanted to love them, but good god were they self absorbed and whiny. Parker in particular was so self absorbed he could not see the people around him that wanted to support him. Thanks for the Trouble was a decent read, don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed the story as a whole, but just could not get past the main character’s selfishness. Zelda was a quirky and funny counterpoint to Parker, but I didn’t find her engaging enough to temper Parker. Now, I have seen reviews that rave about Thanks for the Trouble so I think this is a book where your mileage may vary. I didn’t dislike it, I just didn’t love it. I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
**Thanks so much to Simon & Schuster for allowing me to read this in exchange for an honest review!** I had first heard of Tommy Wallach last year with the release of We All Looked Up which I have still not gotten around to reading. However, after finishing Thanks for the Trouble, I know that it's one that I'm going to want to pick up ASAP, and I'm here to tell you why you should too. Thanks for the Trouble follows a boy named Parker who hasn't spoken a word in years. He honestly hasn't said a word since the death of his father. He carries around a notebook most of the time and writes down what he wants to say instead. So many people look at him like he's introverted and antisocial, when he honestly has his own reasons for being the way that he is. One day, Parker meets Zelda and everything changes for the both of them. The two of them even make a pact, and Parker helps Zelda spend all her money that she magically has. They each light a spark in the other, and perhaps life gets better for the two of them. I loved this book so much. It was written in such a way that it reminded me of John Green but also slightly different. Chapters would skip from past to present so smoothly that I never had to spend time wondering which timeline I was in. Also, there was an abundance of humor, which I'm a total sucker for. I found myself laughing quite a bit because of the main character, Parker. Wallach definitely has a sense of humor. This book was honestly quite a whirlwind. Once I started reading it, I couldn't put it down because of all the wonderfulness. The characters also felt so completely real, which I adored. Oh, plus there was Parker's stories that he wrote. He even wrote one about Zelda when he first met her, which she accidentally saw, which was funny. If you're looking for a brilliantly-written new release to read, Thanks for the Trouble is the one you must pick up.
I like to read Teen books for a quick read. This one only took me 2 days to read. The author did a good job at keeping the reader interested. The book is very lighthearted and a good read for readers of all ages.
I have had a horrid case of readers block. This book has helped cure me (if that makes any sense). I don't want to tell you every-single-detail about this book because I want you to read it and enjoy it. So, please get a nice cup of coffee, or tea, and read this book. It is worth the time.
Could not put it down
Though I was a little disapionted when it took a supernatural turn I loved the story and the charecters. I haven't loved a book this much in over a year