Stick by Andrew Smith
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
"Stick" was born with an implausible name (Stark) and one ear, a combination that is sure to bring him grief as he grows up and when he grows to be a stick of an 8th-grader, it just confirms it. Luckily, he has his brother Bosten to help him out.
Stick and Bosten live in one of those homes you hear about but can't quite believe: abusive parents, incredibly strict rules and no warmth. That the two rebel by stealing their parents car, going out late at night to get high (and, with a friend, blow stuff up) is unsurprising. Nor is Stick's certitude that he is ugly and unlovable. And when Bosten is caught making out with his friend Paul, it's not surprising that the only realistic response is to run away.
Despite their upbringing, both Stick and Bosten seem quite normal and open to others. Their story will interest mid-teen readers.
ARC provided by publisher.