Friday, May 13, 2011
STICK by Andrew Smith
Stark McClellan (“Stick”) hears the world in a different way. He is surrounded by cruelty and ugliness, but holds on to a powerful sense of wonder, faith, and love for his best friend, Emily, and the most important person in Stick’s world -- his older brother, Bosten, who happens to be gay.
When the boys’ father throws Bosten out of their home, Stick steals a car and takes off on a three-state odyssey to find and rescue him.
This book rocked my world, and my perceptions of YA genre conventions.
It's a very sad, disturbing story about abuse and cruelty, and the things that people do to each other when they don't understand or can't handle someone or something. Yet, there are kindnesses and characters so full of love and compassion that they make up for all the evil.
The heart of this story is the love and acceptance that occurs between brothers when they must survive truly adverse conditions, and how Stick has to grow up and learn to achieve knowledge of self, in spite of all the things that make him so-called different.
Andrew is an incredible writer, and the prose and formatting in this novel are powerful and unique, but for me, it's the strength and believability of the characters that really set this book apart. The main characters are just as real and flawed as anyone, and even the despicable villains are given enough depth that they come across as less shallow than some main characters in other books.
I actually finished it over a week ago, but I'm still basking in the afterglow.
This book is not for very young readers, or for the faint of heart, but I can highly recommend it to anyone who likes truth in fiction.
It does not come out for five months, but you can pre-order it from Amazon, here.