Smooth

Featured
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
783 1
Smooth
Author(s)
Age Range
13+
Release Date
June 16, 2020
ISBN
978-1536204384
Buy This Book
      

Fifteen-year-old Kevin has acne, and not just any acne. Stinging red welts, painful pustules, and massive whiteheads are ruining his life. In an act of desperation, he asks his dermatologist to prescribe him a drug with a dizzying list of possible side effects — including depression — and an obligatory monthly blood test. But when he meets Alex, a girl in the lab waiting room, blood test day quickly becomes his safe haven — something he sorely needs, since everyone, including his two best friends, is trying his last nerve. But as Kevin’s friendships slip further away and he discovers who Alex is outside of the lab, he realizes he's not sure about anything anymore. Are loneliness and self-doubt the side effects of his new acne meds? Or are they the side effects of being fifteen? Told in a bitingly funny first-person narration, this debut novel crackles with wry and wistful insights about the absurdities of high school, longing and heartbreak, and a body out of control. A surefire hit for teen boys and reluctant readers, Smooth gets under the skin of a tenth-grader who is changing — inside and out.

Editor reviews

1 reviews

Side Effects May Vary
(Updated: April 29, 2020)
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Kevin is starting tenth grade, and has been battling horrible cystic acne. At his doctor's appointment right before the school year starts, he mentions taking Accutane to his doctor. There are a lot of conditions to taking the drug, which has serious side effects, but Kevin's acne is so painful and disfiguring that he is willing to take the chances, and doesn't mind filling out forms and having his blood tested once a month. He doesn't want to tell his good friends Luke and Will about this, since he feels they would just give him a hard time. While the three are supposed to be working on a story telling project for language arts, and start with the idea of doing a horror slasher film. At his first blood test appointment, Kevin meets a girl who is also getting treatment for her own acne, and although he doesn't have the nerve to speak with her, he does get her name and picks up her ear buds when she leaves them behind. He feels like Alex might be a kindred spirit, and is soon obsessed with thoughts of her, and what he might say to her the next time they meet. Kevin has somewhat typical 15 year old boy interests,most of which he tries to hide from his parents, and it'snot a surprise that he has underplayed the seriousness of the Accutane as well. As the school year progresses, he starts to feel that Luke and Will are somewhat jerky, thinks that he might be interested in a girl named Emma, has ups and downs in his relationship with Alex, especially when she transfers to his school, and begins to have mood swings that become very serious, and are no doubt tied to the Accutane. When he is helping his younger sister Kate with some of her middle school problems, he realizes that how he is feeling really is very serious, and takes steps to reach out to people in his life and get himself help.
Good Points
The teen boy voice in this was so painfully realistic that I wonder if this is based on the author's own experiences, especially since this is set in 2007. Kevin is a good kid; at one point, he skips going out with his friends to plan his homework for the quarter. He also is quite frank about the private interests of his age group in quite vivid detail, which is why it would be awkward for me to hand this to students. His slow descent into depression is done well. We see him being irritated with people in his life, and he then spirals deeper and deeper into his own thoughts. These changes in tone take place halfway through the book, so readers who don't make it that far miss the hard hitting reality of this title. Teacher and librarians who adored Niven's All the Bright Places or Green's Turtles All the Way Down need to take a look at this book, and remember that the gross bits about acne, horror movies, masturbation, etc. are what will get the fifteen year old boys to read this book and learn from this book it in a way that they might not enjoy or learn from other YA mental health titles.

This did have a lot of Young Adult content, from many f-bombs to intensely private details. This was hard for me to read, but again, the target demographic will find this riveting. I couldn't put this down, even when I knew I wouldn't be buying it for my library.
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 1 0

User reviews

There are no user reviews for this listing.
Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Movies, mansions, and murder in the Golden Age of Hollywood!...
Kamala and Maya's Big Idea
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Meena Harris debuts with an empowering picture book about two...
Harvey Holds His Own (The Harvey Stories, #2)
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
The West Highland Terrier that brought Harvey Comes Home to...
Everything I Thought I Knew
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
A teenage girl wonders if she’s inherited more than just...
The Morning Flower (The Omte Origins, #2)
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
New York Times bestselling author Amanda Hocking returns to...
The Hunt
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
Death marked her from her very first breath. Being...
Swallowed by a Secret
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
One dead father. One lying mother. ...
Circus of the Dead Book One
 
5.0 (2)
 
0.0 (0)
There are many ways to die at the Circus...
Roaring
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
Colt Clemmons is an agent in a specialized division...
Court of Lions
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Court of Lions is the long-awaited second and final...
More Than Just a Pretty Face
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
For fans of Becky Albertalli and Jenny Han, a...
The Adventurers Guild: Night of Dangers
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
After the events at Llethanyl, city of the elves, Zed...
And Then I Turned into a Mermaid (And Then I Turned into a Mermaid, #1)
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
For fans of Emily Windsnap and Maybe A Mermaid, And...
After the Worst Thing Happens
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Left reeling after her thoughtless mistake causes a terrible accident,...
Hirana's War: Book Two in the Eloia Born Series
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Praise for Eloia Born “Loved it! A well-written narrative...
Hans Christian Andersen: The Journey of His Life
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
"If you like, I’ll tell you the story of a...

Latest Member Reviews

 
4.0
"WHAT I LOVED: We think of the glitz, glamorous mega-stars, and classic movies when we think of the Golden Age..."
The Night Country (The Hazel Wood #2)
 
4.0
"Alice Proserpine thought she was mostly back to “normal” life after breaking from her story in the Hinterland, but when..."
Everything I Thought I Knew
 
4.3
"What worked: Intriguing plot of Chloe, a seventeen-year-old super-achiever, who ends up collapsing during her senior year in high school..."
The Adventurers Guild: Night of Dangers
 
5.0
"THE ADVENTURERS GUILD: NIGHT OF DANGERS by Zack Loran Clark and Nick Eliopulos is the culmination of a Middle Grade..."
The Pros of Cons
 
4.0
"WHAT I LOVED: I genuinely can't imagine four different events happening simultaneously in the same complex, but it happens..."
BRB I'm Going to Disneyland
 
4.0
"'BRB: I'm Going to Disneyland' by Courtney Carbone is a cute, quick read. As a novel written in texts, emails,..."
He Must Like You
 
5.0
"'He Must Like You' by Danielle Younge-Ullman is an intensely provocative look at the various ways in which consent, upset,..."
How the Stars Came to Be
 
5.0
"Reviewed for YA Books Central Beautiful in every aspect. The book: This is a story about how the..."
Unscripted
 
5.0
"A book so real it can be u comfortable at times. The story: Zelda doesn’t have a..."
The Dark Tide
 
5.0
"THE DARK TIDE is an enthralling and atmospheric YA fantasy read. We follow Lina, a townsperson, and Eva, the witch..."
Where Dreams Descend
 
4.0
"What worked: Beautifully written tale where a girl performer breaks away from her cage and enters a competition of magicians..."
The Black Kids
 
5.0
"THE BLACK KIDS is a really poignant read that ties history to the present. Ashley is a senior in high..."
What Goes Up
 
3.3
"'What Goes Up' by Christine Heppermann is a quick read, as it is a novel-in-verse, a format that can be..."
They Wish They Were Us
 
4.3
"THEY WISH THEY WERE US is an engaging YA thriller reminiscent of GOSSIP GIRLS. The book follows Jill, who had..."
Roaring
 
3.0
"ROARING takes place in the 1920s- with a twist. Monsters, sirens, minotaurs, basilisks, and more, exist, and they are woven..."
More Than Just a Pretty Face
 
5.0
"MORE THAN JUST A PRETTY FACE is a fantastic YA contemporary romance that follows Danyal during his senior year of..."
You Say It First
 
3.3
"'You Say It First' is easily one of those books you will either love or hate. My feelings fell somewhere..."
Court of Lions (Mirage, #2)
 
5.0
"COURT OF LIONS finishes the MIRAGE duology with aplomb. This YA fantasy series takes us to another planet and the..."
The Unleashed: The Haunted, Book 2
 
4.0
"Creepy, suspenseful paranormal where some friends learn that a summoning might bring back something unexpected and evil. ..."
The Year of the Witching
 
5.0
"Immanuelle lives in the town of Bethel where the Prophet's word is law and the highest honor for a woman..."