Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Grow Up - Ben Brooks

Grow Up was my first NetGalley grant from my most recent round of requesting. I’d be lying if I said that the cover wasn’t the reason I wanted to read it, so props to the publishing company for that.

Grow Up is the story of Jasper, a teenage boy living in Britain whose daily life consists of school, his best friend, fake therapy, and more drugs than I thought was possible. His goals consist of getting laid, doing drugs, and…oh. Proving that his stepfather is a murderer, which he already knows but that everyone else doesn’t seem to understand.

To start off, if this book is supposed to be even remotely descriptive of what it’s like to be a teenager in the internet generation…well, either the British are a lot more wild and drug obsessed than American teens, or I was really out of the loop in High School. I think Jasper, or someone with him, does drugs literally once every chapter on average. That may or may not be an exaggeration.

Grow Up is supposed to be a coming-of-age novel. I honestly don’t think I knew what that meant until I read this book, but it makes a lot of sense in context. It has everything a book about teenagers should, I’ll say that much. Plenty of angst, lust, anger, smugness, frustration, desire, utter inappropriateness.. It has it all in spades. And let us not forget teenage arrogance, which Jasper absolutely reeks of.

I will say that Grow Up is one of the funniest books I’ve read in a while. This is probably because I am a teenager myself, and the inappropriateness of everything just made me giggle. Jasper wants to hook up with the perfect princess of his school, and his Holy Grail quest to get laid had me rolling quite a few times.

What’s interesting about Grow Up is that, because it’s a book about growing up and not about saving the world or something, the plot jumps around like crazy. Without spoiling the details of everything for you, included in Jasper’s drug hazed story is graverobbing, (kind of) rape, golden showers, ruined lives, and a good bit of fire. Only in a book like this can all those things go together and actually work for the story.

So if you’re into coming-of-age teenager type books, I’d recommend Grow Up for you. If you’re into a book about drugs, booze, and sex, well, Grow Up is definitely for you. And if you want all that good angst mixed in with enough humor to make it easier to swallow, pick up Grow Up when it comes out April 24, 2012.

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