Stick - Andrew  Smith Why hello there! Okay, I have four reviews to do, so I'm going on a review spree. I'll start with this book because I've spent the longest procrastinating on it ... since I read it, like, two weeks ago exactly. Also, luckily, I don't have much to criticize about this book so the review will be fairly short.So, if you didn't know this, last summer I read Andrew Smith's book The Marbury Lens, and loved it. And afterward I was like, "Dude, I need to read more from this guy!"I've been meaning to read Stick for a long time but kept forgetting about it ... Luckily I found it at the library and snatched it. I sat down right away in a comfy library chair and started reading it. And, well, the next morning I finished it. (But, you know, I went home first. I didn't spend all night in the library, although that would've been cool.) To sum up the plot a bit ... First of all, NO THIS BOOK IS NOT ABOUT GYMNASTICS. I swear, like every single member of my family was like, "Oh, is that book about a gymnast?" Because ... I guess "stick" is close to the term "stick it." And he has his arms up on the cover like he just landed from some awesome gymnastics move or something, but ... NO.The story is actually about a kid who everyone calls Stick (because he's short and fat ... ha, just kidding––because he's tall and skinny of course). He's also missing one ear and dislikes the attention he gets from that. Stick has a brother named Bosten. The two of them are very close and need each other for protection against their abusive parents. But when it turns out Bosten is gay, he has to leave home in order to escape their father's wrath––leaving Stick on his own. Stick must then set off to find his brother, encountering both good and bad people on the way.What I liked most about this book (which is something I also liked about The Marbury Lens) is that Smith manages to write such a dark story, but it is not without hope. This story is not for the weak-stomached ... Stick and Bosten's parents are really horrendous, as are some of the people that Stick meets on his journey. There's a lot of violence, a lot of parts that had me cringing. Yet, there are a lot of powerful relationships that provide an uplifting aspect to the story––like the relationship between Stick and Bosten, and the relationship between Stick and his best friend, Emily. There are also a lot of interesting themes about love, sexuality, identity, etc. This was the type of book that kept me thinking afterward––which might not sound like a big deal, but really ... most of the time I finish a book and just chuck it aside like, "EHH" so if I thought it was thought-provoking ... it was. At least for me.I only have a few little complaints. One is that Smith kept doing this thing where there would be lots of spaces between random words. I think this was intentional, but I didn't really understand what the intention was. Maybe it had something to do with Stick being a little hard of hearing? But I'm not really sure how the two things would be connected, anyway. It kind of just looked like typos rather than a purposeful technique. My second issue was that there are some rather major conveniences in the plot––mainly, the fact that Stick and Bosten turn out to have this really awesome aunt who lives on the beach, and they can pretty much just go to her house when their parents are being particularly awful. (This isn't really a spoiler since she comes in like a fourth of the way into the book.) So, I found that part to be a little too much of a crazy random happenstance. But, otherwise, this was a good read. It kept me thinking, it kept me guessing, and overall it was just very satisfying. A good thing to read over the summer if you're looking for something. :)