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Stick often thinks of himself in terms of his birth deformity, a missing ear that causes sounds to reverberate strangely around his head. Though he is able to hear, Stick is uncomfortable walking around without his hat, and is constantly on the lookout for bullies. He is, however, able to form two strong bonds with his best friend Emily and his brother Bosten. While Bosten deals with issues of his own sexuality, Stick tries to sort through his feelings for Emily, which are complicated by his embarrassing body changes. The two brothers have grown up in a dangerous environment under difficult circumstances, but as their family falls further apart, things start to get even worse. While not for sensitive readers, Stick is the tender story of two brothers struggling to rise above the cruelty they have experienced in the world. Definitely for mature readers; this compelling tale is gripping and poignant.  292 pages  Ages  14 and up

Recommended by Carrie Shaurette, New York City Librarian USA

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