Saturday, June 11, 2011



It is now exactly four months until Stick comes out: October 11, 2011. So, every month on the eleventh, I post some things about the book... a kind of countdown that started last month, on May 11, when I wrote about five random facts about the novel.

I continue with with four random facts today, three on July 11, and so on...

So, in honor of the negative-four-months birthday for Stick, here are four things about the book:

1. ALA -- There will be Advance Copies (ARCs) of Stick given out at the ALA Annual coming up later this month in New Orleans. I, however, will not be there. I will be home watching a complete box set of every Saw movie ever made (squee!). As soon as I find out, I will post booth info so you can go there and get your ARC and taunt whoever is there for not coming over to my house and watching Saw with me. If you don't go to ALA, you're invited over to my pad.

2. Where in the ghetto does Stick belong? MG, YA, or Adult? Light meat or Dark meat?

I don't know.

The ghetto masters have some pretty rigid rubrics for deciding where to cloister their books, which makes me pretty loathsome to a lot of people. The main character in Stick is in 8th grade. He has a very 8th-grade voice. In fact, developmentally, he's a little "behind" his peers in the way he processes and looks at things.

On the surface, that kind of makes this book MG (Middle Grade, if you were wondering).

On the other hand, the story arc involves how his very close relationship with his eleventh-grade brother propels the boys through a wonderful and horrifying, transformational journey. So, there's some language, sexual content, and a few of the other elements of rebellion and maturation that boys normally and routinely deal with in their teens.

Which kind of puts the book in the YA ghetto [And Drew is being strangely drawn recently to run another series of posts about how much he hates YA].

But I want grownups -- especially the ones who are so out of touch with their kids that they couldn't find a book in a bookstore for them, which, to me, is like not finding "food" in a grocery store, which equals you don't really care if your kid starves -- to read the book.

Light or Dark? Well, I'm pretty sure the handful of people who've read the book so far will generally agree: There are times in Stick when you will laugh (at least, I still do... but, then again, I'm kind of a wuss), and there are definitely times that you will probably want to cry (eh... yeah... like I said... I am a crybaby).

3. The missing chapter -- Okay. I'm going to be a little vague here. Like all my books, Stick contains some really personal experiences. So it was a little hard for me to just let go of the story and let the book end. I wanted to explain more about how things worked out for Stark (the protagonist), so I wrote an additional chapter at the end where he's a college student and he tells about things from an adult perspective.

I struggled for a long time over adding that chapter. Initially, I thought if I did, then the book would have to be considered more in the Adult-ghetto designation.

In the end, though, I decided that it was better to leave it alone and NOT hit the readers over the head with all these concrete details -- like I said yesterday, let them figure things out and fill in the spaces on their own.

And, no, I won't ever show anyone that missing chapter. If you read the book, you will know what it would say, anyway.

4. The cover blurb -- Okay. On the cover of the book is a blurb from the acclaimed author, Sara Zarr. It says [Drew is embarrasssed] "Andrew Smith is one of the most courageous and compelling authors I've read. Stick moved me deeply."

Well, quite obviously, that is an incredibly flattering statement. Sara is also really helpful and probably one of the most level-headed, concerned people I know. So I can't even begin to say how grateful I am for that compliment.

I am also grateful because Sara has a book coming out this fall, too... and thankfully it's not coming out on the same day as Stick. Sara's novel, How to Save a Life is coming out the following week, October 18. I've seen the cover... it's beautiful.

So, that means you have one week to read Stick before Sara's book comes out. For some reason, most people who pick up Stick read it straight through, in one sitting (and it's not particularly "short," coming in at 75,000 words).

And, in case you have not yet seen it, here is the book trailer: