Trouble in My Way is a realistic portrayal of how young people often see nothing wrong with bending the rules and trying to weasel out of punishment. I loved how the entire story was told from Karis's point of view. Karis doesn't see her faults, and compared to many kids, she really is pretty good. But she still finds trouble even when she tries to behave. She simply can't stand to be grounded all the time, so she sneaks behind her mother's back and does what she wants to do despite the restrictions. Karis reminds me so much of when I was young. Because when you're a teen think you know everything, but you are really quite naive. You think your decision is always the right one, but you only see one side of every issue. The author does a great job portraying the mother/daughter tension and the issues that come from being a child with divorced parents. I have seen this same scenario many times when counseling teens. The parents continue to tighten the screws and the teens just keep fighting everything. Unfortunately this oftentimes makes things worse. Like when Karis started to believe she might as well do the unthinkable since her mom always seems to think it of her anyway. Only Karis really did try to be good. And she prayed and did have faith. But when she put herself in difficult circumstances, she had to fight to keep safe. In the midst of her struggles, Karis learns some tough lessons. I love how the author let that play out so naturally that teen readers will have the benefit of learning the same lessons without getting themselves in the same situations that Karis had. The characterization was flawless, too. I remember the days when all that mattered was the guy was cute. The rest was irrelevant. But we adults all know many young people who married those messed up, but very good-looking men and they totally ruined their lives. That message is portrayed very well in this story, too.