Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Stick (ARC) by Andrew Smith

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.

I finished this book in a little over a day, simply because I had to work...Trust me, if not for that, I could not have put it down. I am honestly having a hard time expressing myself in this review, I loved this book, it was amazing. But I simply don't know how to put into words exactly what is circling around in my head after finishing this novel. The impact of Stick's character will stay with me for a very long time. Andrew Smith is one of the most emotionally stimulating young adult authors I have had the pleasure of reading. He holds nothing back when he is creating his characters, and is not afraid to show, that sometimes, there is a darker side of life that people tend to hide. This book was a heart-wrenching read from start to finish, with contemplative subjects that include: sexuality, courage, abuse and love.

Stark and his brother, Bosten, are controlled by the rules created by their parents, and forced to watch each other's beatings when those rules are broken. They are continually punished in such an abhorrent manner, that to them, it is simply a standard way of life. Until they spend part of their vacation with a distant aunt, Dahlia, in California. Life changes for the boys as they discover the tenderness and love a family is supposed to give. Returning home is one of the hardest things the brothers must endure, but when the truth of Bosten being homosexual is revealed, it becomes dangerous for him to remain in the house, and so he leaves. Stark can only think of one place Bosten would go; and that's to Dahlia's home. Traveling across three states to reach his brother, Stick will stop at nothing to find him. After reaching California and Dahlia, he fears he will be dragged back to his parents, but his aunt shows him the meaning of love and acceptance by fighting to keep him safe and giving him a true home.


  1. Thanks very much for this, Amy. Those characters kind of stuck in my head, too.

  2. This is a powerful, painful, but ultimately hopeful and beautiful novel. It was very hard for me to read, because a lot of it hit too close to home for me, but in the end facing the truth, and allowing your emotions to be expressed is for the best.

    It's rare for a book to be able to reach people like this one will, and that's why Andrew is incredible.


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