When his father died five years ago, Parker Santé lost his ability to speak. He’s not that interested in talking to anyone, anyway. Instead, he spends most days loitering in hotel lobbies, picking the occasional pocket and filling journals with stories—until one afternoon at the Palace Hotel, when he steals a wad of cash from a silver-haired girl who claims to be 246 years old. When mysterious Zelda catches him in the act and offers to strike a deal, Parker begins to see that there might be some things in life worth paying attention to.
Tommy Wallach offers a sweet coming-of-age novel about a young man learning to overcome loss. Presented as a comically long college application essay, Parker’s narrative is brash and appropriately childish, yet attentive and at times profound. Though the framing device is a bit far-fetched, and Zelda leans a bit too far toward Manic Pixie Dream Girl, there’s a lot to love about the poignant, lighthearted Thanks for the Trouble.