A beautifully written, uncompromising yet poignant account of the relationship between a boy with cerebral palsy and a girl with a drug habit. Ben Bancroft is the invisible man. Nicknamed "Spaz" because of the cerebral palsy that has disabled him since birth, he's a real loner: no parents, no siblings, no friends, just a wealthy, straight-laced ...
A beautifully written, uncompromising yet poignant account of the relationship between a boy with cerebral palsy and a girl with a drug habit. Ben Bancroft is the invisible man. Nicknamed "Spaz" because of the cerebral palsy that has disabled him since birth, he's a real loner: no parents, no siblings, no friends, just a wealthy, straight-laced grandmother, who looks after him as if he were still a small child. His only escape is the decrepit Rialto Theatre where, on Friday nights, he watches old movies with the other loners. The last person he expects - or wants - to meet there is Colleen Minou. Drugged out, covered in tattoos, clad in ripped tights and a neon mini skirt, she's the kind of trouble Ben's spent his life avoiding. But when Colleen climbs into the seat beside him and rests a woozy head on his shoulder, it's the start of a relationship that will alter Ben's life...for ever. With forthright humour and explicit dialogue, Stoner and Spaz tells an engaging story of the coming together of two teenagers from very different worlds, each with a demon to face...
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Publishers Weekly, 2002-04-22 Perhaps not since Harold and Maude has there been such a likable unlikely romance. "Since I've been pretty much treading water all day, the marquee of the Rialto Theatre looks like the prow of a ship coming to save me," begins narrator Ben Bancroft, a 16-year-old who has cerebral palsy. Koertge's (The Brimstone Journals) opening scene sets in motion the novel's key elements: Ben's black humor and his love for movies, both of which keep him afloat, and his chance face-to-face meeting there with Colleen Minou, a drug addict (who looks like Helena Bonham Carter "in Fight Club... pretty in an edgy, ruined way"). After Ben meets a new neighbor who happens to have made a short documentary for a film class (the novel, after all, is set in Los Angeles), he starts one of his own, High School Confidential. Thanks to Ben's razor-sharp perceptions and Koertge's sophisticated plotting, every character here seems fresh and interesting, from high school would-be stand-ins like jocks and unwed mothers to Ben's grandmother, who has raised him since his mother took off. For instance, when Ben interviews a gay teen for his film, he asks, " `Do you ever stand in front of the mirror and wish you were different?' `Only every day.' `Do you want to be not gay?' `No, I want to be better looking.' " The euphoric highs and rocky cliffs of Ben's blossoming relationship with Colleen echo the girl's fight against her addiction. Ben's pragmatic point of view, developed over years of struggling with his handicap and his mother's abandonment, serve readers well as the novel reaches its realistic close. Ages 14-up. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly, 2004-02-02 A 16-year-old boy with cerebral palsy who keeps afloat on his black humor and his love of movies, falls for a beautiful drug addict. "Perhaps not since Harold and Maude has there been such a likable unlikely romance," said PW in a starred review. Ages 14-up. (Feb.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Publishers Weekly, 2003-02-03 With a youthful edge to his voice, Hamilton brings a rich credibility to the roles of teenagers Ben and Colleen, stars of Koertge's sharp and emotionally moving YA novel. As two very different kinds of outcasts, drug-addicted Colleen and cerebral palsy-afflicted Ben forge an unlikely friendship that helps each of them blossom. And in the author's true-to-life style, setbacks, successes and uncharted territory await the duo on the path of self-discovery. Hamilton handily masters Koertge's smart, contemporary repartee between the protagonists, capturing each note of sarcasm and humor as well as lots of film and pop-culture references. Hamilton also adds welcome shades of color to supporting characters, including Ben's stuffy, overprotective grandmother. This winning performance, which envisions Ben and Colleen as likable and sympathetic-warts and all-will please fans of Koertge's work and surely gain him new admirers. Ages 12-up. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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