Stoner & Spaz

 
4.3
 
4.5 (2)
3103 1
Stoner & Spaz
Age Range
14+
ISBN
0763616087
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For sixteen-year-old Ben Bancroft — a kid with cerebral palsy, no parents, and an overprotective grandmother — the closest thing to happiness is hunkering alone in the back of the Rialto Theatre and watching Bride of Frankenstein for the umpteenth time. The last person he wants to run into is drugged-up Colleen Minou, resplendent in ripped tights, neon miniskirt, and an impressive array of tattoos. But when Colleen climbs into the seat beside him and rests a woozy head on his shoulder, Ben has that unmistakable feeling that his life is about to change. With unsparing humor and a keen flair for dialogue, Ron Koertge captures the rare repartee between two lonely teenagers on opposite sides of the social divide. His smart, self-deprecating protagonist learns that kindred spirits may be found for the looking — and that the resolve to follow your passion can be strengthened by something as simple as a human touch.

For sixteen-year-old Ben Bancroft — a kid with cerebral palsy, no parents, and an overprotective grandmother — the closest thing to happiness is hunkering alone in the back of the Rialto Theatre and watching Bride of Frankenstein for the umpteenth time. The last person he wants to run into is drugged-up Colleen Minou, resplendent in ripped tights, neon miniskirt, and an impressive array of tattoos. But when Colleen climbs into the seat beside him and rests a woozy head on his shoulder, Ben has that unmistakable feeling that his life is about to change. With unsparing humor and a keen flair for dialogue, Ron Koertge captures the rare repartee between two lonely teenagers on opposite sides of the social divide. His smart, self-deprecating protagonist learns that kindred spirits may be found for the looking — and that the resolve to follow your passion can be strengthened by something as simple as a human touch.

Editor reviews

1 reviews

An Unlikely Duo
Overall rating 
 
4.3
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
Stoner & Spaz. Colleen is the stoner, hooked on drugs of any sort; weed, cocaine, whatever. Ben is the spaz, weighed down by the deformities of cerebral palsy. They meet at the Riolto movie theater. Ben spends his solitary Friday nights watching old movies, like the Bride of Frankenstein. Colleen needs to borrow two bucks to buy candy. Ben thinks that's the end, but Colleen ends up sitting next to him to watch the movie. For a kid who's never had a girlfriend, this is as close as he's gotten to a girl in his entire life. And she doesn't treat him like an invalid, a misfit. For a girl who's perpetually stoned, this is the first sober guy she's met in a long time.

So, they each have something the other wants and they develop into a real friendship. But is that enough? Is it enough to get Colleen on the straight and narrow? Is it enough for Ben to come out from under his grandmother's thumb and experience the world?

Ron Koertge writes great books (see my review of Shakespeare Bats Cleanup and Shakespeare Makes the Playoffs). But while those books were light and humorous, Stoner & Spaz digs deep. Ben lives with a grandmother who barely touches him. And while he's developed a sense of humor to deal with this lack of affection, you know it hurts. Colleen hates a mother who would not believe that her boyfriend might have attempted to abuse Colleen. In a scant 169 pages, Koertge deals with all these issues.

If you are into good stories, great characters and a thought provoking plot, then Stoner & Spaz should be your next book. It'll be a nice setup for Now Playing: Stoner & Spaz Part II, the sequel.
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User reviews

2 reviews

Overall rating 
 
4.5
Plot 
 
4.5  (2)
Characters 
 
N/A  (0)
Writing Style 
 
N/A  (0)
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Exceptional
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
0.0
Writing Style 
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by two sided freek

Taking me by surprise, this book isn't about happily ever afters. No, it isn't about perfect people or undented lives. It's about discovering who you are and what you believe in. True I never took a liking to Colleen, but she did serve an important part of Ben's keen realizations. What I loved is what Ben discovered about himself and the people surrounding him by his highschool documentary. A truly heartwarming book.
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Cool
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
0.0
Writing Style 
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by bookworm9

Ben has spent his life as a loner, convinced that having cerebral palsy makes him a loser that no one will want to associate with. He spends a lot of time at the movies, where he runs into Colleen, a drug addict from his high school. Despite being high, Colleen acts friendly towards Ben on numerous occasions, and he falls for her hard. With Colleen giving him confidence and a new neighbor showing him the technical aspect, Ben sets out to make a documentary about high school life, and is surprised to learn how he is perceived among his classmates. Maybe he doesnt have to be just a spaz after all . . .

This was an interesting coming-of-age story, and Ben is an endearing narrator, although Koertge keeps him flippant and naïve rather than delving deeper into his character. Colleen is even more disappointing, as she serves as a vehicle for Bens growth rather than as a true characterK.L. Going did much better with the drug addicted character in her Fat Kid Rules the World than Koertge does herealthough admittedly the ending of Stoner & Spaz is more realistic than Fat Kid. Despite its flaws, this book was a fun read.
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