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Spurt Hardcover – February 7, 2017
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From School Library Journal
Gr 6–8—An eighth grade boy is obsessed with his still-dormant puberty and a reality television show. Jack can't stand his childlike body, especially when it seems that everyone in his grade has already started to mature. He feels left behind and decides that the only way to keep up with his friends is to fake it. When the producers of Bigwigs, a reality television show that pits kids against one another as they spend a week doing various adult jobs, ask Jack to participate in a reunion show (he was on the show two years earlier), Jack seizes the opportunity. As one producer tells him, "This is reality TV, Jack. The last thing we want you to be is yourself." What follows is Jack's attempt to be the man he wishes he was. Readers ready to handle the many references to pubes and masturbation will find a warm coming-of-age story about a boy who learns that the best way to make and keep friends is to be true to himself. VERDICT Funny, heartfelt, and likely to appeal to reluctant readers, especially boys on the cusp of puberty.—Ragan O'Malley, Saint Ann's School, Brooklyn
About the Author
Chris Miles has written several books for young readers in Australia. His short fiction and other writings have appeared in publications throughout Australia. He works as a website designer and developer, and in his spare time he indulges his love of Doctor Who, LEGO®, Dungeons & Dragons, and anchovies. He is a dog person (though not literally).
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When Jack feels abandoned by his friends over winter break, he handles it in the most cringeworthy way, by bragging how he masturbated the entire vacation. It wouldn't be so bad if Jack kept his conversations among the guys, but the readers can't help but squirm when the girls are included in his big talk to prove he's normal.
As if Jack hasn't proven he's socially awkward enough, he tries to prove his popularity by appearing on a reality T.V. show and presenting a mature and improved version of himself. What starts out what's supposed to be a funny look at the pitfalls of puberty, gets lost in the change of direction.
The novel has a few moments that might elicit some uncomfortable laughs, including a clever reversible cover. The novel is billed as a Judy Blume for boys but it lacks the heart of its predecessor that allows the reader to really connect with the protagonist.
Word of warning: Let the reader find this one without guidance or he may never look you in the face again.
This is a copy of my review that originally appears on my blog, Boys To Books.
Spurt is a young adult humorous contemporary by Chris Miles. It features a guy named Jack who has not yet gone through puberty and he decides to fake it to fit in with his friends. Stop. Stop right there, I didn't need to read any further. Christ Miles already had me. Spurt is a hilarious book. It is a book I think will appeal to all readers of all ages and genders. I really can't say enough good things about this book, other than it was a blast.
All of Jack's friends have either gone through or are currently going through puberty and he feels left in the dust...so he comes up with a genius idea...he can just fake puberty. I still crack up every time I think about this, because puberty is no fun for anyone, so I can't imagine faking it is any more fun. But either way, Spurt was a hilarious ride through Jack's various antics with his friends. The humor is spurt is at times outlandish, but always a lot of fun. Jack, though misguided sometimes is a great guy. I really liked him. You can't help but like him and root for him.
And can we take a moment to talk about the cover. The front is freakin' hilarious, with the single taped on hair. (I really laughed at that longer than I should have.) but the really cool thing about the cover is that it has a reversible "decoy" cover. First, what a cool idea! I want books to have reversible covers! Like two different versions. (Publishers...let's talk! and make this happen!) But in Spurt's case, the back side of the cover was to keep your book safe from prying eyes. It was about epic hot air- balloon explosions and other really cool many things. There was even a very manly author and fake author bio. It was so funny. I knew right then and there that I was going to love Chris Mile's writing style. And I did! I need to read more books by him ASAP. He is super funny.
Bottom line: If you are a boy going through puberty, a young adult or an adult who already has gone through it, Spurt is a book that you do not want to miss. It is tons of fun and it is sure to put a big smile on your face. I Lol-ed multiple times while reading. This book made me smile. I loved Spurt.
*Disclaimer- I received a copy of this book for free.