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.
Nine years after Stoner & Spaz (2002), Koertge picks up where the first installment left off, with Ben (a rich kid with cerebral palsy) and Colleen (a drug addict with no functioning parent) alternatively in love and at odds. Before Ben, 16, met Colleen, he'd lived vicariously through film, and her interest in him shook him out of his stupor. "I was for sure headed for Hermitville. Odd-Duck Town. Weirdo City," he admits. But Colleen is a lot of work she relapses frequently, his grandmother disapproves of her, she kisses him passionately then leaves a party with someone else. "You just wear me out," he tells her. Ben has made one well-received student film; now he's searching for a second subject. Is it Colleen? Is it his mother, who left him on his grandmother's doorstep 12 years earlier? There's scant plot, but Koertge writes sharp dialogue and vivid scenes. Little is resolved for either character except that they seem better off with each other than without, which is likely how many readers will feel about these companionable misfits, too. Ages 14 up.
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Love this book, as well as the one before it. Would love to read another book by this author.