Stupid Fast by Geoff Herbach
Sixteen-year-old Felton can’t figure out what’s going on with his body. He can never get enough to eat, and yet never feels full. He’s sprouting hair in places he’d rather not even think about. And, he’s outgrowing his clothes so fast he doesn’t have any jeans that are even close to long enough. To add to all this, suddenly he can run “stupid fast,” and the track and football team coaches are eyeing him to try out. Due to his crazy meditation attempts in his younger days, he’s been known as Squirrel Nut since elementary school. But things might be changing as the jocks start to find his ability to run “fast like a donkey” valuable to their teams.
His home life isn’t much calmer; his mom can only be called a retrograde hippie. When he was only five, Felton found his dad’s dead body hanging by one of the beams in the garage. Although Felton and his younger brother barely remember their professor father, their mom has burned all his belongings in an effort to start fresh. Partly due to his strange family, Felton has been bullied by the other students and only has one good friend Gus, who is gone for the summer. Now that Felton has to take over Gus’ newpaper delivery route, he sees a beautiful girl his age playing piano at the crack of dawn as he makes his paper deliveries. And she doesn’t know he’s viewed as smelly, hairy squirrel nut by the kids at school; and their romance begins.
This book surprised me by being so readable. I know young men will love it because it speaks to sports and all the physical and mental changes boys go through as they become men. I think girls will also enjoy it’s exploration of growing up differently from the rest of the crowd. I highly recommend this book to all teen readers as a fast and engaging read.