A boy who’s the last in his class to go through puberty tries to fake it till he makes it through a series of cringe-worthy and hilarious events in this “funny, heartfelt” (School Library Journal) balls-and-all coming-of-age novel that’s Judy Blume for boys!
Jack Sprigley isn’t just a late-bloomer. He’s a no-bloomer. He’s in the eighth grade, and puberty is still a total no-show.
Worse yet, he hasn’t heard from his friends all winter vacation. He assumes they’ve finally dumped him and his child-like body—except then he finds out that it’s much worse than that. His friends are now so far ahead of him that they’ve started dating and getting girlfriends. Jack is out of luck. But then he comes up with a plan to catch up and win his friends back. And his plan is perfect: he just has to fake puberty.
By eighth grade, Jack Sprigley expected puberty to be in full swing. Instead, the 14-year-old is "stranded on Pubeless Island," and his obsession with his absent hormones drives a wedge between him and his friends. Then, Jack is contacted by Bigwigs, a reality TV competition he previously appeared on that wants to film him for a reunion episode. As Jack attempts to fake the physiological changes that have been slow to arrive, his narrative overflows with body humor and boldly tackles teenage insecurities. However, Jack's hasty evolution from a wannabe cocky kid to a compassionate, altruistic friend is not particularly believable; readers may struggle to get excited about a protagonist who kicks his grandmother out of her apartment so he can live there and who manipulates a popular older girl into being his fake girlfriend for the show. Though Jack's father's death is brought up, it's never fully explored as a catalyst for Jack's behavior. In the end, it's not entirely clear what Australian author Miles wants this book to be: a funny book about puberty or a coming-of-age tale about a kid learning to accept who he is. Ages 11 14.