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.
Geoff Herbach has written this remarkable story that breaks through the barriers of the teenage male psyche. I don’t usually make book comparisons, but Stupid Fast reminded me of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian; it had a lot of the same qualities that I loved; the internal dialogue, the struggles with puberty, bullies and first love.
Stupid Fast quickly grabs you attention, but it’s a little hard to follow. The main character Felton tends to ramble on about stuff, usually arguing with himself. A few times I had to reread passages to fully understand the dialogue. The internal conflict ends up being pretty funny; his thought process is very entertaining. Felton is a weird kid, his home life isn’t ideal; at 5 he found his dad hanging in the garage and his mom is unconventional.
For Felton, this is the summer that everything changes; he goes from being the scrawny kid, picked on by jocks to a huge teen that the jocks are recruiting for the upcoming football season. Felton likes the attention, but he doesn’t understand what the fuss is all about. Felton’s growth spurt is causing problems at home, he is eating everything in sight, growing out of his clothes and all this seems to be causing his mom depression. Felton is not sure how to handle what is going on at home, so he decides to ignore it.
Just when Felton’s social life is on track, his home life is falling apart. His mom won’t get out of bed, his younger brother is being neglected and he can’t handle everything that is going on around him – he snaps. Felton ends up calling a grandmother he barley knows, hoping she has the answers to help his mom. A family secret is revealed and Felton finally comes to terms with what is going on in his life.
Stupid Fast is a fantastic read – I really enjoyed being in Felton’s head. I think both sexes will enjoy this book and the comical dialogue will pull in the reluctant readers. I am not usually really picky about language, but I will warn you, there is a lot of cussing and a racial slur, that Felton doesn’t even realize is a racial slur. I completely agree with the Peter Bognanni quote on the cover – Stupid Fast is Stupid Good!