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 each other 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.
- Christopher Gaines
I loved this book due to the amazing storyline. The flawless character development of their aunt, and the two friends they met in California. I remember reading online before I got this book that it was banned from freshman and sophomore's high school classrooms in some schools due to the books sexual speech, but that wasn't the case for me; it actually shows us Stark/Stick's experience learning about his brother being gay and him escaping his abusive father. Stark/Stick is going through puberty like all of the other teens in the world currently, that is why I highly disagree with the schools that banned this book. This book teaches you about both emotional abuse and I believe sexual abuse also. This book teaches you so much with just a few characters and it should be read by anyone that is mature enough to handle it. All the sexual speech in this book are nothing compared to the sexual scenes in the book "IT" (Pennywise) and the Fifty shades book series which I see people my age in high school reading all the time. The thing that this book does better than those is actually teach you that thinking sexually is okay when it's a sexual setting and not everything we do in life should be sexual and that friends should be able to take baths together without feeling weird about it or sexual about it like in this book when Stark and Emily take a bath and she is normal about it and just cleans his hair for him. This book is probably one of my favorite books ever and I will never forget how much it taught me. They hit on homophobia by their father and Paul's mother and they show that Stark doesn't care that Bosten is gay and that he's totally fine with that. Brotherly love shouldn't have boundaries just because of one's preferences.
- B.A. Wilson
A Favorite Author who Frequently Traumatizes Me
I need a hug.
And I love Andrew Smith, because the way he writes is so insanely honest that I always connect with his stories, whether they're straightforward and more serious, like this, or bizarre and stylized like Grasshopper Jungle.
He writes characters who carve holes inside my chest, then take up residence in the empty spaces.
Also, the narrator does a great job with this story .