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Grow Up: A Novel Paperback – April 24, 2012


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Editorial Reviews

Review

“An amusing, sometimes ironic look at one fairly feckless lad’s coming-of-age…What comes as a surprise is the wonderfully poetic voice Brooks has given his protagonist…Eat your heart out, Holden Caufield [sic].” — Michael Cart, Booklist

 
“Eminently readable… Hyper–self-aware…Filled with black humor and fleeting tenderness… Its protagonist, Jasper J. Wolf, imagines himself as a prettier Holden Caulfield, but the end game reveals that the self-reflective young writer is more along the lines of a John Hughes hero, albeit with volumes more narcotics…There’s a timeless if caustic quality to [narrator] Jasper’s minimalist rants [and] there’s an unexpected humor even to the murkiest sequences. Brooks’ work feels richer [than] the transgressive teen drama Skins…as it explores generational angst and the blue-black damage of adolescence.” 
Kirkus Reviews

“Engaging, funny and sharply-written. I loved how [Grow Up] manages to be both brutally uncompromising and gloriously warm-hearted.”
Chris Killen, author of The Bird Room

“Ben Brooks is a magical imp who pumps out dark nuggets of poetry and makes you snort with laughter.”
Noel Fielding, co-creator of The Mighty Boosh

“Sickeningly good. So confident, so stylish. An unacceptably witty and original debut.”
Tim Key

“Liquid Gold.”
The Observer (U.K.)

“I thought [Grow Up] was amazing. One of the most hilarious and well observed accounts of teenage debauchery you are ever likely to read….Alarmingly good.  Jasper is great fun, naively perceptive, often LOL-funny company.  A totally convincing portrait of being a wayward teenager now . . . It’s so pertinent it actually kind of trips you out.”
Dazed & Confused

“Navigates the travails of school and beyond with a quick wit.”
Independent on Sunday (U.K.)

“A sharp and witty exploration of adolescent life…Grow Up is one part serious, the rest is simply laugh-out loud funny….{Brooks] is able to deal with issues such as self-harm and suicide with a tenderness and sensitivity that one would have thought beyond his years….contagiously funny, well-written and no doubt marks the start of a promising career for a talented young writer.”

The Scotsman (U.K.)

“Brilliantly captures 21st-century youth.  Hilarious.”
Times (U.K.)

“I couldn’t stop reading Grow Up.
www.Volume1Brooklyn.com

“Funny from unexpected places.”
www.3amMagazine.com

“A dirty, dirty book. It is a wonderfully filthy book.”
www.Areadinglife.com

“A vicious, often hilarious—and hilariously blunt—microcosm of contemporary, ketamine-addicted British youth.” — blacklisted

“An undeniably fun read, thanks to the leanness of its prose and its sense of humour, which is as sharp as it is affected. This is Oscar Wilde with a Tumblr account, or Martin Amis remixed by Skrillex.”
www.TheStar.com

About the Author

Ben Brooks is the author of Fences, An Island of Fifty, and The Kasahara School of Nihilism. He has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He was born in 1992 and lives in Gloucestershire, England.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (April 24, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780143121091
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143121091
  • ASIN: 014312109X
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.7 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,045,501 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A. Ross HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on April 22, 2012
Format: Paperback
If you want a window into the world of contemporary suburban middle-class English teenage life, this is the book for you. It's narrated by Jasper, a seventeen-year-old boy with all the characteristics of many of his ilk: self-absorbed, sometimes thoughtful, sometimes charming, often irritating, generally scheming to avoid studying and on the lookout for maximum sex, drugs, booze, and good times with his friends. Although the book is sometimes quite winning and amusing, Jasper's narration can also veer unevenly between bursts of insight and unbelievable idiocy. One subplot involves his belief that his mother's live-in boyfriend murdered his ex-wife, and his pseudo investigation in an attempt to bring evidence to light. It just comes across as ridiculous that even someone as flighty as Jasper would wander as far down that road of self-delusion as he does. And that detracts from the general realism of the rest of the book, which is quite good at depicting bored teenagers killing time with drinks, bad TV, video games, sex, and the like. It's not salacious or sensationalistic in any sense, just matter of fact in a way that only a writer confident of their subject matter can pull off. (The author was a teenager when writing the book, hence the ring of authenticity). Still, despite the relatively strong portrayal of that milieu, I never found the misadventures of an annoying teenage guy all that compelling, especially as some of his treatment of other people (especially girls) is downright awful. I guess that's the reality of teenage guys, but it's not a reality I needed to spend more time with.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By dianaers on April 26, 2012
Format: Paperback
Grow Up was completely disarming. I went into it not knowing what to expect. When I read the description of this book, I was kind of expecting a young adult thriller: a normal teenage boy dealing with normal teenage problems, except that he is living with a murderer. What I got instead was a twenty-first century homage to Catcher in the Rye and Harmony Korine/Larry Clark's Kids. I was captured from the first chapter, and it was very difficult to put down, just because I was interested in Mr Brooks' writing and in seeing where the protagonist, Jasper, was going to take us.

Grow Up is laden with drug use, sex, vulgar language, so it makes me question whether or not it is for young adults, or at least, tweens. Jasper is self-centered, sometimes kind, often cruel. His primary objective is to have sex with Georgia Treely, and if his path is lined with alcohol, drugs, and sex, he is not going to deny it. Some of the situtations are humorous, some are cringeworthy, some are tender.

If you're the type of person that prefers a linear story that has a plot, then Grow Up is not for you. There is no real conflict, or the rise and fall of a typical book. What you have here is a series of events in a teenager's life and what happens when he achieves the greatest goal he has set for himself. In that aspect, it is different. Because Mr Brooks was a teenager when he wrote this, it is a credible and vivid story that makes me fearful, and almost sad, for this generation.

However, this is an honest portrayal of our youth, more so emphasized by the young author. It's not sophisticated, nor is it meant to be. It is a simple story about a teenage boy and all of the thoughts that swirl around a teenage boys head. If you're expecting more than that, this is probably not for you.
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By Lydia on June 5, 2012
Format: Paperback
I recently went to a friend with the following statement about this book: "Good golly I read a coming-of-age book last night that was so foul languaged and filled with sex, drugs and alcohol that I don't know how to talk about it on the blog.. because I actually enjoyed it."

Then I realized, that's exactly what I wanted to say about Grow Up by Ben Brooks. Frankly, I needed to grow up and face the fact that, in spite of its numerous moral deficiencies, this book tackles tough, hard issues teenagers are facing every single day and it doesn't give them a "hero" to make them feel as if they are losing some kind of battle because they can't measure up.

Grow Up is the story of a boy and a girl, best friends, who make mistakes left and right. They lie, they do drugs, they have sex, they drink, they party, but most of all, they are hurting and it's so transparent it made my heart ache. Because in the middle of all of these harsh realities and the foul language, the boy and the girl, they are there for one another in a bond of friendship so strong it gave me hope.

When I found myself faced with star ratings on review sites, I honestly struggled with myself because, in terms of how potent this book is, and how hard it made me think, and how quickly I devoured it, it rates off the charts. But the other messages being flagrantly broadcast, and here is the deciding factor on that, the lack of consequences for those actions tilts the rating factor to the opposite side -so I end up right in the middle.

Grow Up is not a book for the faint of heart. Don't go into the book expecting warm and fuzzy emotions and tears. Go in expecting to be offended and disgusted - but don't let those emotions overwhelm you because no matter how offensive the teens are in this book, just like the teens you will, no doubt come into contact with, they have something else buried deep in side of them just crying out to be heard.
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