Friday, October 7, 2011


Tuesday, STICK by Andrew Smith comes out.  Tuesday can't come quickly enough.

I was lucky enough to read an ARC of STICK.  If you've been reading the blog then you know that I'm an Andrew Smith superfan.  Seriously, when he comes down to Miami for the book festival, I may just go all Misery on him.

Here's the thing about STICK.  It's not THE MARBURY LENS (which is getting a sequel next year called PASSENGER...).  Not even close.  It's a quiet, often sweet tale about a young boy named Stark McClellan, nicknamed Stick.  He's got a deformed ear, and it's that deformity that forms the basis for the unusual structure of this book.  Lines of this book as scattered around the page as if Smith typed them up, cut them out, and then scattered them about for kicks.  Initially, I was annoyed.  But as I continued reading, and the rhythm of the words began to take shape in my head, I was blown away.  Not only does Andrew show us what it's like to be Stick, but he lets us hear what it's like to be Stick as well.  It's an amazing feat and I don't mind admitting that I'm jealous for not thinking of it.  But this book isn't THE MARBURY LENS...and that's okay, because it's heart-wrenchingly spectacular all on its own.

Aside from the brilliant structure, st's the relationship between Stick and his older brother Bosten, who happens to be gay, that makes this book so damned amazing.  The brothers form a united front against the abuse inflicted upon them by their parents.  They lean on each other and rely on each other that reminds me in all the best ways of the brotherly relationships in Hannah Moskowitz's books.

Stick, himself, is a bit naive, is bullied, and talks about boners a lot.  Especially when he's around girls.  One girl in particular.  But it hardly ever crosses over into crass or vulgar territory.  It's the language of a thirteen year-old boy trying to describe his feelings and the world he lives in.  It's not easy, and Smith does an outstanding job channeling his inner horny budding teenager.

There were a couple of parts at the end that felt slightly rushed and a little too "happy-ending" to me, but I honestly don't think anything else would have sufficed for young Stick.  He deserved a happy ending; by the ending, he'd earned it.  So I don't begrudge him his happy ending.

Like I said before, I'm a huge fan of Andrew Smith's work.  I think he's one of the best writers working today.  But STICK will hold a special place in my book collection.  If it doesn't make you tear up a little, then you're probably dead...

Pick it up Tuesday.

1 comment:

  1. I'll be picking up the hardcover, so I can get it signed.


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