Author: Andrew Smith
Owned by CCLS? Yes
Stick, the boy born with only one ear, and his older brother Bosten live in Washington state with their parents. Due to his lack of an ear, Stick gets made fun of and is constantly harassed by his classmates at school. Fortunately, Bosten is usually there to put the bullies in their place; unfortunately, when the boys get home, they are usually faced with even bigger, more serious issues. Their parents enforce strict rules in the house that include only weekly showers, a strict dress code, hair length requirements, and regular beatings and visits to St. Fillan's room.
When it is revealed to the boys's father that Bosten is gay, Bosten suffers through one final beating before he decides to run away. Having no one left he can count on, Stick also finds himself on the run, in search of Bosten. Along the way, both brothers experience additional tragedies and events that test their strength and ability to hope for a better life. In the end...will things get better and will Stick find Bosten?
M's Verdict... Intense read! I chose to read this particular novel because I wanted a story that was written by a male author and featured guys as the main characters. Ater reading Stick, I would certainly read another of Smith's books. The story was believable and so terrible that I couldn't stop reading--I had to know how it ended! Despite Bosten and Stick's terrible home, once Bosten runs away and Stick takes off after him, the road to finding his brother and perhaps a better life, takes both boys through terrible encounters that may just be worse than what they left. It's a great story of survival, hope, and taking a stand for yourself, no matter what. I recommend this book to older teens, both guys and girls looking for something different to read.