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 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 ninth 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
What this blurb doesn’t tell you is that Jack is not only a late bloomer but was a star in a child reality TV show called Bigwigs. It is pretty central to the whole story line. Everything that is about to happen in the novel starts off with Jack lying about masturbation in order to impress. That, starts the ball rolling for some wacky shenanigans; all in the name to prove that Jack is THE MAN.
Now, I’m obviously not a guy, but I attended high school and I had a few friends who were late bloomers. I can’t really remember if they were bullied or singled out, but I clearly remember them. Reading books like Spurt is like turning back the clock. Although I don’t want to ever go through puberty again. Nope. NEVER.
Now, much of what happens to Jack will probably make you wince, most certainly make you smile and perhaps even coax out a real loud chuckle. It’s brilliantly written and I loved the dialogue between Jack and his friends. I’m not sure how I’d feel if I was reading it while actually going through puberty, but reading it as an adult was a trip.
Let’s be honest here, there is a lot of humour in the book. However, Chris Miles sprinkles in more than just pube jokes. I really enjoyed reading the issues within Jack’s family, the struggles with his friends, the crisis with Grandmother and how all of these seemingly unrelated things come together so brilliantly in the end. Oh, on a little side note, I must mention that one of Jack’s friends gives him a present that follows him throughout the book. I found it a cleaver wink to the name of the reality show. Well done, very well done. (when you read the book, you’ll figure it out)
There are some important lessons to be learned within the pages of Spurt, for young and old. This book can surely be read by grades 6 and up. A perfect springboard for bringing up topics such as puberty, social anxiety and relationships. Miles captures with wonderful hilarity and delightful honesty, the many aspects of that short window called pubescence. I’m glad I read it.
I loved this little clip of Chris Miles talking about his book ——-> click here
Spurt by Chris Miles
Published by Simon & Schuster
a copy of Spurt by Chris Miles was generously given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review