Nothing But Trouble

Nothing But Trouble
Age Range
Release Date
November 01, 2016
Buy This Book
Odawahaka has always been too small for Maggie’s big scientific ideas. Between her stuck-in-a-rut mom, her grumpy grandpop, and the lifetime supply of sludgy soda in the fridge, it’s hard for Maggie to imagine a change.

But when Lena moves in with her creative spirit and outrageous perspective, middle school takes off with a bang. Someone starts pulling the kind of pranks that send their rule-loving new principal into an uproar—complete with purple puffs of smoke, parachuting mice, and a scavenger hunt that leads to secret passageways. Suddenly the same-old football games, election for class president, and embarrassing stories feel almost exciting. And for the first time in her life, Maggie begins to wonder if there might be more to Odawahaka than she ever saw coming!

Humorous, smart, and full of small-town heart, Nothing But Trouble will have mischief-loving readers caught up in the cleverness and determination of two girls who can’t be held down.

Editor review

1 review
Nothing but trouble... and some fun.
Overall rating
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
Maggie lives with her mother and grandfather in his house in Odawahaka. Maggie's father, who studied at MIT, died before she was born, and her mother is so busy that Maggie is left to her own devices, taking apart vacuum cleaners and selling her grandfather's collection of vintage auto parts online. When Lena moves to town, the two immediately connect, and Maggie starts sharing her father's philosophy of "hacking" with Lena, and getting her help in setting up elaborate pranks at their school, which is going to be closed at the end of the year. When the "mouse" pranks take off, the girls enter the mouse as a candidate for class president. Will the girls be able to pull off the ultimate prank of having an imaginary character win?
Good Points
Packed with interesting characters, such as Mrs. Dornbusch, who is in her last year of teaching and doesn't care about anything, an the perfect Kayla who was once friends with Maggie but is now her nemesis, Nothing But Trouble manages to put a new spin on the idea of class elections, and set the story in a dying community that is open to a little bit of excitement.

Maggie's pranks follow the very strict rules that her father left in a notebook-- nothing can be damaged, the site has to be left in a better state than it was found, and no one can be hurt. It seems a bit unlikely that she would be able to do all of the things she does in real life, but I appreciated the fact that she had a significant source of income-- selling her grandfather's car parts-- to use to bankroll the projects.

Teachers will appreciate the math and science connections scattered throughout the book and explained with notes at the end. Readers who enjoyed books with girls interested in math and science, such as The Short Seller, Calpurnia Tate, or A Girl Named Ratchet will enjoy Maggie's experiments, and readers who liked this author's The Lemonade War will be glad to see a story with new characters and a new setting.
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