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Stick Hardcover – October 11, 2011

4.8 out of 5 stars 24 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 (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #986,856 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am a huge fan of Andrew Smith's writing, and this book did not disappoint me. Stick and his brother live in a situation that seems normal to them because they do not know anything different. However, a series of events provide both of them with a chance to see life differently. Dysfunctional families, sexual identify, coming of age, and learning to love are all themes in this book. Excellent contribution to young adult literature.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Some books bitchslap you with sentimentality, some punch you in the boobs with longing and heartbreak, some books feel like a good one-night stand that leaves you with the disgusting aftertaste of regret, self-loathing and the fear of herpes... okay, I think I'm getting sidetracked now... and some books hurt you in places you didn't know could hurt while lying in bed reading by yourself.

The blurb is pretty upfront, and true enough, this was not an easy read. I really thought I was going to DNF this at 15%. I've NEVER DNF-ed a book just for being too much. And I've read my share of too much. In truth, what Stick and Bosten went through, the abuse and the violence that went on inside and outside that house, usually puts me off. Because more often than not, I feel like I'm being emotionally manipulated into crying (I'm looking at you, Reason to Breathe). But placing this in the context of a deformed thirteen year old boy dealing with the complexity of puberty and the terrifying changes that comes with it, layered with the simplicity of his relationship with his brother... It worked.

The first half of Stick portrayed the lives of the McClellan brothers in Point No Point, Washington through the eyes of Stark "Stick" McClellan and his brother Bosten. Stick has one ear, one best friend (Emily) and a lot of abuse thrown his way. His brother, Bosten keep the wolves in school at bay but when they're home, there's no one between them, their parents and St. Fillan's Room. Their father may have beaten them into believing they are less than who they are, that this was the norm in every household, but they still got each other.

The second half deals with the aftermath of Bosten running away from home after their father found out that he's gay.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I love the way Smith gives us the thoughts and feelings of teenage boys. Stick is a winner....another tender, tough, thoughtful, observant, loyal, resourceful, lovable boy who toughs it out and makes the best of things. This book has a compelling plot, and a whole cast of wonderful characters. Most teen readers will cherish this one.
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Interest in Book: Because Andrew Smith is awesome? Heh. Ok, you need more than that. I get it. Well, I'm a huge fan. I think Andrew's imagination is incredible and his way of telling a story is exciting, personal and poignant. It was no different with Stick, a pretty powerful story about a teenage boy trying to accept himself as is, and the strong bond between brothers.

Characters and World-Building: The world-building occurs within Stick, for the most part, as he struggles with his deformity and accepting that he is unique in other aspects of life, as well. He lives with his abusive parents and older brother, Bosten, out in the boonies. Stick and Bosten are very close, as they've had to support each other through the abuse and lack of support from their parents. They pal around and enjoy their time away from their parents as much as possible. They trust each other, which is vastly important in their world. Stick's best-friend, Emily, makes no issues about Stick's deformity and treats him normal, whatever normal is. In a nutshell, Bosten and Emily mean the world to Stick and represent stability and unconditional love. It's obvious that Stick is beginning to develop more-than-friendly feelings for Emily, but his relationship with her remains so innocent. There is one scene they have together that could have led to a sexual encounter, but it was so simply beautiful and innocent. They were just spending time together and enjoying one another's company. Society constructs how we view things and puts pressures on people regarding many topics. It's amazing to see how people act when those societal messages are not present.

Stick's parents are abusive and the reader is witness to some of the torturous, horrific experiences the boys endure.
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