Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Chrysalis Jock: Stupid Fast

I'm having fun reading some of the Cybils finalist on my NOOK; I'm glad to have a library that's hip with all this technology stuff.  The YA books especially lend themselves to this much lighter medium; my NOOK can carry around five or six library books without straining the seams of my book-bag.  I'm glad they had Geoff Herbach's Stupid Fast, a Young Adult Fiction finalist, in ebook form.

Puberty is traditionally a time of great change, but Felton's life embraces the metaphor with frightening intensity.  Just as his body emerges hulk-like from childhood with rapidly emerging muscles and unceasing energy, his family life twists out of recognition. Having always cast himself as the ineffectual member of the family, Felton resists taking any initiative or action, leaving his younger brother to whirl in increasingly desperate circles while their mother barricades herself in her room.  This all sounds depressing, but Felton's essentially sweet voice keeps things light enough to let the humor shine through; there are a lot of laughs in this summer of changes.

In the meantime, Felton finds himself suddenly inside the forbidden circle of jocks, unsure whether his welcome includes anything but his new muscles. His first girlfriend also pushes him to move past the insecurities of childhood, but no one sees all the different stressors pushing on him until he finally stands up and asks for help.

The ending works very well, with the same themes echoing through the football season, the connection with his best friend, and the long distance talks with his girlfriend.  I'm not as sold with the insomnia flashback chapters that lace through the book, but it does give a good metronome for the pacing of the book.

WAIT -- late breaking news.  Stupid Fast has won its category!  Congratulations.  I shall now forget this so I can read the rest of the finalists with an open mind, and then come back to compare our reactions with the judges'.

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