Reinstein's dad committed suicide when he was a little boy. His
hippie mom is having a legitimate nervous breakdown. He's a social
reject, and his only friend just left the country for the summer.
Sound like a depressing read? Believe it or not, I haven't laughed
this hard while reading a book in years. Geoff Herbach's Stupid
is really, really funny.
deals with some heavy issues, but we navigate them through Felton's
voice. He's endearingly awkward, honest, funny, and all over the
place. Herbach perfectly captures the voice of an insecure ADHD kid
who aspires to be a standup comedian. His inner monologues made me
remember my own teenaged insecurities, but in a way that I found
funny, not depressing.
the surface, this book chronicles Felton's joke-to-jock
transformation. The football teams notices that puberty graced Felton
with height and incredible speed. Now Felton has to navigate this new
social sphere of people that previously tormented him, but are now
recruiting him. He has to learn how to be the center of attention
when he's used to a life of being largely ignored, and how to deal
with all the rivalries and expectations that come along with it.
football does play a big role, this book is really a coming of age
story. Felton's family life rapidly falls apart, and he is trying to
deal with it. He gets and tries to keep his first girlfriend, a piano
prodigy who just moved to his small town from urban Chicago. He gains
and loses friends, makes difficult decisions, and really tries to
achieve something for the first time in his life.
it all, he learns he can't just coast through life. He has to take
risks, even if it means he might fail. He learns, albeit late in the
game, that although his family failed him, he can't fail them. And he
learns that he needs to lean on others when the going gets rough.
should note that the book is populated with teenage jocks that, well,
talk like stereotypical teenage jocks. Skip this one if language
makes you uncomfortable.
refreshing to read a realistic book written for teenage boys, because
publishers usually focus on speculative fiction for this demographic.
Librarians and teachers herald Stupid
as a miracle worker for teen boys that are reluctant readers, which
really says something because it starts slow. But it is worth
slogging through the first 50 pages because it is a hilarious,
honest, and hopeful book. The sequel came out a few weeks ago, and I
can't wait to pick it up.
this book if …
are sitting somewhere you won't get funny looks for laughing out loud
(because you will).
love awkward and painfully self-aware male narrators, like Holden
Caulfield in J.D. Salinger's Catcher
in the Rye
and Junior in Sherman Alexie's The
Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.
a teenage boy that doesn't read much because you just can't get
interested in the wizards and spaceships you usually find on the YA
Erin Cowles is a mother of two, living in the Washington D.C. suburbs. Before motherhood, she
used her masters in library and information science in a law firm library. Now she uses it to find
good books for her family at her local public library. During women's history month, she profiles
Mormon women that inspire her at ldswomenshistory.blogspot.com. She loves reading, sleeping,
and the great outdoors.
Erin serves as Primary pianist and as the choir director in her ward.