Geoff Herbach Stupid Fast
320 pp. Sourcebooks Fire (Sourcebooks, Inc.) 2011 ISBN: 978-1-4022-5630-1
Release Date: June 6, 2011
Source: ARC received from author
Summary (From Goodreads): Fifteen-year-old Felton Reinstein has always been on the smallish side, but in his sophomore year he starts growing…and growing.
During gym one day he smokes the football jocks in a 600-yard race. Felton has never been interested in sports, but there’s no doubt-he is “stupid fast.” As he juggles his newfound athletic prowess, his mom’s sudden depression, an annoying little brother, and his first love, he discovers a shocking secret about his past which explains why he’s turning out the way he is.
If you know anything about me, I’m a YA-loving teacher who’s always on the look-out for great guy books. I am so stinking happy that I read Stupid Fast because it is destined to be a winner with my boys! I’ve already had some success with Stupid Fast because before I even had a chance to read it, one of my freshmen boys asked to read my ARC. I had to say yes because he’s one of my reluctant readers. He isn’t reluctant anymore! He tore through this book and was so proud when he gave it back to me; he finished the book and wanted to read another. As a teacher or librarian, does it get any better than that?!
I’m not surprised my student enjoyed Stupid Fast as much as he did. It’s hilarious! Felton wants to be a comedian, but he doesn’t think he’s funny enough. Um, he’s wrong. I can’t tell you how often I was cracking up over his comments. It was about impossible to not laugh out loud during SSR. I would have snorted if I tried any harder to keep it in and that would have just been embarrassing. Felton is wonderfully awkward which fuels his humor. For instance, Felton has to take over his friend’s paper route and one of his stops is at a nursing home where he has the unfortunate experience of seeing old ladies in their underwear. “Oftentimes, the old ladies were wearing old lady robes or morning dresses or whatever, and the clothing wasn’t tied right or it had slid down wrong, and I got to see their Old Lady Underwear with an Old Lady in it, which made me very sad. What also made me sad was the very fact that nursing homes even exist because they’re hot, stinky prisons for innocent old ladies who have lived too long (like that’s a crime).” He’s just so honest in his observations that you can’t help but giggle. And I love that while reading, it felt like Felton was talking to me. So wonderful.
Teen guys will be drawn to Stupid Fast because it involves sports. Quite a few of the sports-related novels I’ve read are a little more on the serious side and really revolve around the sport. Much of Geoff’s debut focuses on Felton’s experience with football, but his book goes deeper than that. While Felton is discovering himself as an athlete and friend, he’s also uncovering secrets about his family. This part of the story is really touching. He can’t understand why his mom has suddenly become depressed and he doesn’t know what to do about his weird and annoying little brother. Even though I felt bad for Andrew, Felton’s brother, I found myself laughing at their banter and insults towards one another. Felton is left in a position where he’s the “adult” because his mom has become an absent parent. What teenager is going to handle that well? This is where the honesty of this story really shines. We get to watch Felton mature and try to find a way to correct this situation, while navigating through his new role as jock and boyfriend.
If you want to read something fantastically funny, pick up Stupid Fast. If you want to read something honest and refreshing, pick up Stupid Fast. I can’t recommend this debut novel enough. Geoff Herbach has really impressed me and I CAN’T WAIT to read more of his work!