cover image Thanks for the Trouble

Thanks for the Trouble

Tommy Wallach. Simon & Schuster, $17.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-4814-1880-5

In response to a college application question (“What was the single most important experience of your life?”), Parker Santé, a mute, Hispanic 17-year-old, writes an incredible story. When he steals a wad of cash from a silver-haired, sharp-witted girl named Zelda, who is planning to throw herself off the Golden Gate Bridge, Parker isn’t sure what to make of her. After agreeing not to jump until her money is spent and Parker promises to apply to college, the two embark on a breakneck tour of parties, shopping, and confrontations with Parker’s mother, an alcoholic consumed by memories of her deceased husband. Parker may not believe that Zelda is, as she claims, 246 years old, but there’s no doubt that she helps him rediscover a longing to participate in the world. Wallach (We All Looked Up) delivers well-rounded, witty characters (“Thinking of your parents being young is like thinking of Winnie-the-Pooh going to the bathroom: just fucking weird”)—all contemplating whether living a full life is better than living a long one. Bittersweet moments intersect with the intricate fairy tales Parker writes, compelling readers to judge what is real and what is make-believe. Ages 14–up. Agent: John Cusick, Folio Literary Management. (Feb.)