#1112 – SPURT by Chris Miles

Written by Chris Miles
Simon & Schuster BYR
270 pages     Ages 8—12


“Jack Sprigley isn’t just a late bloomer. He’s a no bloomer: an eighth grader, and puberty is still a no-show.

“Worse yet, he hasn’t heard from his friends all winter vacation. He assumes they’ve finally dumped him and his childlike body—until he finds out it’s much worse than that. His friends are now so far ahead of him that they’ve started dating. 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.” [INSIDE JACKET]

[WC 371]
Fourteen-year-old Jack Sprigley just spent the past two weeks alone. Friends have not called or sent even one text. Jack has no idea why, really, but he convinces himself the problem is his puberty, or lack thereof. The eighth-grader is one of only a few boys who have not begun puberty and Jack believes he will lose his friends if he doesn’t get his “manliness” soon. To that end, Jack decides to fake it and makes a huge point of telling his friends—and anyone else who would listen—how manly he has become. Unfortunately, for Jack, he goes way overboard, especially in expressing his ability to satisfy himself. He doesn’t actually do anything, just talks as if he has.

When the Bigwigs hit reality show wants Jack in the reunion show, Jack is excited to remake himself, but he “fakes” himself into a corner when he cannot actually prove he is a marksman, a big fisherman, or any of the other claims he makes to look more like a man. The Bigwig vehicle serves to move the story along but in the end, the plotline fades away. There are better points not explored, such as the death of Jack’s father. Jack is now the man of the house but doesn’t feel he measures up to the task. In Jack’s mind, all of his shortcomings are because he has not begun puberty and doing so will make all his problems disappear.

Throughout the story, Jack is not a very likable character. He’s actually quite a jerk. Most boys, in all stages of puberty, will love SPURT, finding many things to laugh at. Girls may simply recoil, finding the story a cringing experience. In general, readers will need a high tolerance for awkwardness and embarrassing situations.

Originally released in Australia in 2014, SPURT is one of the few stories geared toward pubescent boys and possibly the only one openly discussing the experience, though Jack’s may be a tad over-blown.

**For those who want to read SPURT but do not want others to see them reading it, take heart. Author Chris Miles understands. Flip the jacket inside out for a second, less pubescent cover, for the fictitious book “World’s Worst Hot-Air Ballooning Disasters.”

SPURT. Text copyright © 2017 by Chris Miles. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Simon & Schuster BYR, New York, NY.

AmazonIndie BooksApple BooksSimon & Schuster BYR

Add SPURT to Your Goodreads Shelf HERE.
Check Out SPURT the Book Website:  http://spurtbook.tumblr.com/

Copyright © 2017 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

Written by Chris Miles
Simon & Schuster BYR


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