Stoner & Spaz II
By Ron Koertge
Candlewick Press (MA), Hardcover, 9780763650810, 208pp.
Publication Date: August 9, 2011
Beautiful but troubled Colleen Minou is the only girl who ever looked at Ben Bancroft as more than a spaz more than just that kid with cerebral palsy. Yet the more time Ben spends with her, the more glaring their differences appear. Is what Ben feels for Colleen actual affection, or more like gratitude? Then there's Amy (aka A.J.), who is everything Colleen isn t, and everything Ben's grandma wants for him: clean-cut and upper-class, academically driven, just as obsessed with filmmaking as Ben is. But what does A.J. see when she looks at Ben? CP? Or the person behind the twisted body? In Ron Koertge's sharp, darkly humorous follow-up to the award-winning Stoner & Spaz, Ben tries to come to terms with his confused feelings toward A.J. and his inimitable connection to Colleen, who is sometimes out of it, sometimes into him, and always exhilarating.
The repartee between Ben and Colleen -- funny, suggestive, and intense -- is spot-on, and readers will easily sympathize with both teens and their frustrating choices, while the adult characters and their problems are equally unique and well-developed. A rollercoaster of authentic emotions, Koertge's novel offers readers a fast, furious, and satisfyingly upbeat view of the world.
—Booklist (starred review)
Koertge writes crisp dialogue and ably captures both Ben's bewilderment as he moves from loser recluse to Mr. Popularity and his complex feelings toward A.J. and Colleen....Movie buffs will appreciate the references to films, a hallmark of Ben's first outing. Readers familiar with the first book will be glad to see Ben's return; newcomers will be glad they finally met him.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)