Parents' Guide to

A Good Kind of Trouble

By Barbara Saunders, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Girl learns to be brave in triumphant coming-of-age tale.

A Good Kind of Trouble Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 12+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 13+

Subplot is Disturbing

This story is about a 12-year old girl named Shayla who spends seventh grade learning more about and becoming more aware of the the Black Lives Matter movement. The main theme of the story is Shayla's developing understanding of herself, her multiracial friends and the importance of standing up for what she believes, from a racial standpoint. That part of the book is very good. However, there is subplot of a boy named Tyler who has a crush on Shayla. He is boundary inappropriate, repeatedly touching her and invading her space, even though she tells him not to and pulls away. She is repeatedly pressured by her friends to "be nice to Tyler" and pushed away from trusting her own instincts about the boy. At Shayla's middle school the kids play a game called "Command" where any child can be commanded to do anything. At a dance Tyler is "commanded" to kiss Shayla. Despite her saying she is not playing the game, Tyler kisses (or as the books says "smothers") Shayla - against her will. Immediately after the forced kiss, one of Shayla's friends demands to know "why didn't you say no." Shayla is embarrassed, made to feel uncomfortable, unable to say no to this boy when he decides they are "talking" (what they call dating in the book) The subplot has Shayla taking full responsibility for the kiss. Even though it was against her will. Even though it was forced. While there is one brief scene where Shayla finally stands up to Tyler, the author never really addresses the issue of consent (or a lack of consent) in the story. And the author undermines any empowerment Shayla may get in the story by having Shayla conclude that she will "never let anyone kiss me without permission again." But Shayla did not "let" Tyler kiss her. He just did it. It was an assault. Tyler is described as a puppy and in gentle terms, even though he is an aggressor. After Shayla finally stands up to Tyler, she is accosted in a bathroom by three girls for daring to "break Tyler's heart." Parents should know this story has multiple threats of physical violence – that have nothing to do with the BLM storyline (“pounding” kids who won’t follow a command, “dogpiling” Shayla in the bathroom), and an insidious secondary story line of sexual harassment. It reinforces the narrative that girls are responsible for placating boys and protecting boys feelings and that girls just have to put up with unwanted touching by boys.
2 people found this helpful.
age 10+

Great book!

This is an amazing book about racism, police violence, and doing the right thing. There is some stuff about romance, but overall, it is an amazing, edge of your seat, want to keep reading book.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2):
Kids say (8):

This triumphant debut novel depicts the emotional roller coaster of middle school with humor and optimism. In A Good Kind of Trouble, readers meet a lovable main character we can feel sorry for, and then cheer on through win after win. Author Lisa Moore Ramée vividly evokes how terrible it feels when the principal gets on your case, you get stuck with an undesirable lab partner, or the boy you have a crush on likes your best friend. She also captures how great it feels when you get picked for the track team or get included in your big sister's grown-up world, or when your mom shows you she really understands your problems. Ramée also successfully portrays another universal adolescent experience: the moment a young person begins to form complex moral ideas about how the larger world operates.

Book Details

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