Friday, October 28, 2011

REVIEW: Stick by Andrew Smith

Title: Stick by Andrew Smith
Pages: 292
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publication Date: October 11th, 2011
Format: eGalley
Source: NetGalley

Summary (Goodreads):

Fourteen-year-old Stark McClellan (nicknamed Stick because he’s tall and thin) is bullied for being “deformed” – he was born with only one ear. His older brother Bosten is always there to defend Stick. But the boys can’t defend one another from their abusive parents.

When Stick realizes Bosten is gay, he knows that to survive his father's anger, Bosten must leave home. Stick has to find his brother, or he will never feel whole again. In his search, he will encounter good people, bad people, and people who are simply indifferent to kids from the wrong side of the tracks. But he never loses hope of finding love – and his brother.

Before I read Stick, I wasn't really sure what to expect. I hadn't read anything by Andrew Smith before, but had heard snippets about his previous book, the Marbury Lens. To be honest, it's quite a difficult read. Not in the sense of the actual writing, but because of the issues covered. Throughout the book, Stark 'Stick' McLellan is presented with the question "what is normal?" and the horrible, horrible things that go on in the boys' household is 'normal' to them. For that I cried. But Stick's narration was just so.. unique. His naivety and insecureness really made me laugh and I loved that so much. 

I don't have a bad thing to say about this book because it's so AH-mazing. And heartbreaking. There was just one thing I was confused about though, and that was Dahlia. I loved her character a lot, her warmth and her motherly role in the story, whereas Stick and Bosten's actual mother shouldn't be allowed to call herself one. But where had she been hiding all the boys' lives? The fact that she could've come into the story at any time and stopped all the madness started to build a house in the corner of my mind. The thought angered me more than it should have. But seriously. Read the story and you'll know exactly what I mean. 

The best thing about this book was the relationships between the characters; particularly the brotherly relationship between Stick and Bosten. Stick idolized his older brother and the feeling was probably mutual. And then there's the girl. Emily. Emily who is Stick's best friend, Emily who does everything with him, and Emily who he loves. There isn't anybody else Stick could love more than Emily and Bosten. They're everything to him, and Stick fears he couldn't live without them. Dude, I feared that *I* couldn't live if Stick had to live without them!

I felt so many emotions for Stick and Bosten, from hurt to happiness to downright anger. All the struggles and the mistakes and everything, just made Stick blow my mind. It's so different to anything that's out there right now, in more ways than one. I really need to hunt down a copy of The Marbury Lens. 



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