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Stick Hardcover – October 11, 2011

22 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Suggest this to readers who can handle the intensity of Smith's In the Path of Falling Objects (2009) and The Marbury Lens (2010, both Feiwel & Friends). (School Library Journal)

The violence of the story is intense, but so is the deep loyalty between the brothers… (Horn Book Magazine)

The prose is strong and evocative, lapsing into imagistic poetry at times to reveal the intensity of Stick's emotions. Readers should be prepared to have their hearts broken by these vulnerable, utterly lovable brothers. (BCCB)

Dark, painful, but ultimately hopeful, this is not a book for everyone, but in the right reader's hands, it will be treasured. (VOYA)

A smaller work from Smith, but one that sustains his growing rep as one of the sharpest blades in YA. (Booklist)

Smith (The Marbury Lens) revs up the emotions and the violence in this realistic and powerful tale, bringing in sexual abuse, hard drugs, and homelessness, while including enough positive characters to give Stick the support he desperately needs, providing for an imperfect but believable happy ending. (Publishers Weekly, starred review)

An altogether compelling, if disturbing work. (Kirkus Reviews)

About the Author

Andrew Smith is the author of Ghost Medicine and The Marbury Lens, both of which were named American Library Association Best Books for Young Adults. He is also the author of In the Path of Falling Objects. In addition to writing, he teaches high school advanced placement classes and coaches rugby. He lives in Southern California with his family, in a rural location in the mountains.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Feiwel & Friends; First Edition edition (October 11, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312613415
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312613419
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.1 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #271,465 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Andrew Smith knew ever since his days as editor of his high school newspaper that he wanted to be a writer. After graduating college, he experimented with journalistic careers - writing for newspapers and radio stations - but found it wasn't the kind of writing he'd dreamed about doing.

Born with an impulse to travel, Smith, the son of an immigrant, bounced around the world and from job to job, working at various times in a metals mill, as a longshoreman unloading bananas from Central America and imported autos from Japan, in bars and liquor stores, in security, and as a musician, before settling down permanently in Southern California. Here, he got his first "real job," as a teacher in an alternative educational program for At-Risk teens, married, and moved to a rural mountain location. Throughout his life, Smith continued to write, but never considered seeking publication until challenged into it by lifelong friend, author Kelly Milner Halls.

In 2008, Smith published his first novel, Ghost Medicine, an ALA/YALSA "Best Books for Young Adults." This was followed in 2009 with In the Path of Falling Objects, also a BBYA recipient. The Marbury Lens is Smith's third novel, and will be followed in 2011 by Stick.

Smith prefers the seclusion of his rural setting, where he lives with his wife, 16-year-old son, 13-year-old daughter, two horses, three dogs, three cats, and one irritable lizard named Leo.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Brent Taylor on October 11, 2011
Format: Hardcover
A while ago, I received an email, asking to be apart of the cover reveal for STICK. And now, the book is here and published and in stores and being read. Time flies.

About a year ago, I got my first taste of Andrew Smith. His novel THE MARBURY LENS was sorta crazy--I think in my review I said something along the lines of, "Andrew Smith writes about rape and dismemberment, and he doesn't make you feel awkward AT ALL." I was totally being honest. I was talking about Andrew's level of awesome with one of my friends, and he said something like, "He stands out among cookie cutter writers." And that's true, too. Andrew Smith's books are all these different things, and I absolutely love them.

In STICK, Stark McClellan is missing some things. He does not have a girlfriend, he does not have a loving family, and he does not have a left ear (or was it right?). What he does have is a gay brother, Bosten, and a gut feeling that he needs to escape from the tight clutches of his abusive father before he finds out.

Bosten leaves, and rightly so, but he left Stark ("Stick") behind. STICK is about a boy who wants something so bad, more than anything in the universe.

So, this book? Was written in this cool little way. Because Stick is missing one ear, he hears things different. Words travel slower. And Andrew Smith shows the reader this on the page, through funky formatting. I wouldn't call it verse or prose, it's just... different. Much like the story itself.

Second to the writing, the characters and their relationships with each other are probably the best thing about STICK. Andrew Smith can write about brotherhood dynamics better than anyone I know, and I got so immersed in the story I felt like they were my brothers and I was on this epic journey with them.

STICK really just blew my mind.

It's different. It's unlike anything you've ever read before. It's Andrew Smith.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Lady Reader's Bookstuff on October 11, 2011
Format: Hardcover
When I read STICK I didn't know what to expect. I had hints. I knew it was going to be a difficult book to digest. Then again, if it wasn't, it wouldn't have been written by Andrew Smith. So many issues are covered within this novel. What's so-called normal and what's not, is one of the biggest for Stick. He is faced with the definition of "normal" the entire novel. Are all of these things in his life "normal" just because they have been present in his life?

There is so much happening in Stick's life in such a short time. There's a girl. Emily. She is Stick's best friend. They do everything together. And, there's his brother, Bosten. They used to do everything together but he's gotten older and has strayed off some. In Stick's life there couldn't be two more important people than Bosten and Emily. They mean the world to him.

This story is about two brothers and their love for each other. The struggles they go through, the mistakes they make. Learning how to let go and stand up for yourself. Doing the right things. Doing the wrong things. Loving yourself and loving someone else. And a very long journey to find a way back home.

Andrew makes you love the characters in his books, you feel what they do, you actually understand what they are going through. There were plenty of times that I had tears, times that I was shouting and a couple times I would do a fist pump in the air and say "hell-yeah". I was in it with both boys from the beginning and I was on their side. I felt their pain and joy. I also cried their tears. There were times I would close my eyes and vision an ocean in California just like where Stick learned to surf. I would even imagine the taste of Sex Wax and how wonderful the smell would be.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books) on December 3, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Andrew Smith has a knack for creating unforgettable characters in astounding situations. He refuses to hold back with his storytelling and gives the reader characters that go through gritty, raw, and oftentimes, difficult and traumatic happenings. Stick is no exception to that.

Stark McClellan, known as Stick to most because of his incredible height, is a fourteen year old living in hell. He was born with one ear into an abusive family and has a self-loathing that's heartbreaking and an innocence reminiscent of Charlie from The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Stick's only salvation comes in the form of his brother, Bosten, and his best friend Emily. He has this undeniable love for both of them, despite his constant hatred for himself.

The plot advances slowly, but with such precision and in such unnervingly painful ways that it's impossible to put down. Stick and Bosten suffer and suffer and then suffer some more. They aren't loved by their parents; they aren't protected by the other adults around them. They have each other, and Emily and Bosten's maybe boyfriend Buck, but that isn't enough - not when Stick isn't even whole and Bosten can barely manage to get by; not when they walk through their front door and fear the worst.

Instantly, I was captivated by these two boys and their harsh circumstances. I was taken by their struggles and wanted to protect them both. Stick's matter of fact thinking and childlike wonderment invoke this undeniable need to shield him - from his father, from his mother, from all the bad things in the world that could hurt him. I loved him, dearly. I loved Bosten. I cared about Buck. I wished Dahlia could have been there from the beginning. And I adored Emily.
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