Nothing Special

Nothing Special

4.5 6
by Geoff Herbach

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A Stupid Number of Awards for Geoff Herbach's Stupid Fast

• ALA Best Fiction for Young Adults selection
• YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults
• 2011 Cybils Award Winner, Young Adult Fiction
• Junior library Guild Selection
• ABA Best Books

Hey Aleah,
I miss you. Because

…  See more details below


A Stupid Number of Awards for Geoff Herbach's Stupid Fast

• ALA Best Fiction for Young Adults selection
• YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults
• 2011 Cybils Award Winner, Young Adult Fiction
• Junior library Guild Selection
• ABA Best Books

Hey Aleah,
I miss you. Because there's some serious donkey crap going on right now. I'm supposed to be at football camp, but noooo ... Andrew had to go missing! So because of my stupid little brother, I'll probably lose my chance at a scholarship and end up being nothing special.

I'm pretty sure Andrew ran away to Florida, and now Gus and I have to drive cross-country to get him. Did you know Gus used to think
Miss Piggy was hot? Anyway, Andrew once told me I needed to get my head out of my butt. So that's what I'm trying to do. How about a kiss for luck?


"Readers looking for a genuinely memorable first-person narrator—in the vein of Sherman Alexie's Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian or Pete Hautman's Godless— should really catch up to Stupid Fast."—StarTribune

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—In this sequel to Stupid Fast (Sourcebooks, 2011), Herbach continues the saga of the dysfunctional Reinstein family. Written as a journal from 17-year-old Felton's perspective, the story follows the teen's journey to bring his runaway brother home. In the wake of his mother's mental breakdown and Felton's rise to fame as a sports phenomenon, Andrew feels lost and, well, like nothing special. He travels to Florida to finally meet his father's relatives in hopes of figuring out where he fits in his crazy family. What Andrew doesn't realize is the scope of his grandfather's bitterness over his son's suicide. After a wild, hazardous trip with his best friend, Felton arrives in Florida and becomes involved in a cousin's elaborate scheme to fool their grandfather into liking his grandsons before he discovers who they really are. The jig is up when the grandfather recognizes Felton's tennis style as that of his deceased son's. After an explosive exchange, Felton takes off, but Andrew stays and helps to smooth the way toward reconciliation. With this book, Herbach brings to fruition the exploration he began in the first novel of how a parent's suicide has a profound ripple effect on the lives of his family for years beyond the event. The combination of outrageous circumstances and humor expertly balances out the very serious issues of guilt, anger, and mental and emotional collapse. Felton's voice is fresh and believable as a teen on the edge of manhood. Boys especially will discover kindred spirits in Felton and Andrew. Kudos to Herbach for this deep, moving, LOL funny, and completely original story.—Cary Frostick, Mary Riley Styles Public Library, Falls Church, VA
From the Publisher
"I haven't read too many YA books told from a male perspective, and I have to say I was totally impressed with Felton's voice. The tone is conversational and funny, and Felton is an authentic and endearing character...This is a great series that teen boys especially will love." - The Reading Date

"Felton and Andrew are both appealing . . . readers who like their funny stories mixed with sports will root for the siblings' reconciliation." - Booklist

""A great male protagonist, and a fun story."- Blogger Rhiannon, The Diary of a Bookworm " - The Diary of a Bookworm

""Herbach's writing style is so much fun, and you will find yourself alternately laughing out loud, cringing, and maybe even shedding a small tear for Felton, as he comes to terms with forsaking what makes him special."- Blogger Cupcake, Cupcake's Book Cupboard " - Cupcake Book Cupboard

""Geoff Herbach brings another very uniquely written book to the table with Nothing Special. "- Blogger Lisa, Lisa's World of Books " - Lisa's World of Books

"This book blends humor with honest questions and realizations about family and life in an almost seamless way."- Blogger Jordyn, Ten Cent Notes" - Ten Cent Notes

""With this book, Herbach brings to fruition the exploration he began in the first novel of how a parent's suicide has a profound ripple effect on the lives of his family for years beyond the event. The combination of outrageous circumstances and humor expertly balances out the very serious issues of guilt, anger, and mental and emotional collapse. Felton's voice is fresh and believable as a teen on the edge of manhood. Boys especially will discover kindred spirits in Felton and Andrew. Kudos to Herbach for this deep, moving, LOL funny, and completely original story." - School Library Journal

Children's Literature - Kasey Giard
Summer for football and track star Felton Reinstein is not going at all according to plan. His girlfriend Aleah suddenly wants to take a break overseas, his best friend acts inexplicably cruel and his younger brother just plain bizarre. In letters to Aleah which he logs on his computer but doesn't send, Felton finds his only release. And he needs that, especially once he discovers his younger brother hasn't really gone to orchestra camp and has run away to Florida. As Felton begins to piece together how his own actions have hurt others, he realizes he must travel to Florida and find his brother to make things right. Nothing Special is a sharp first-person narrative, full of the soul and struggle of changing relationships. Felton's journey to reconcile how he sees himself and his relationships with others with the way family and friends view him is told with wit, humor and charm. It is a poignant tale of the power of forgiveness and the bonds of family. Recommended.
VOYA - Kate Conklin
Nothing Special is the sequel to Stupid Fast (Sourcebooks, 2011/Voya June 2011) in which Geoff Herbach continues the story of Felton Reinstein's rise to athletic infamy. The story is told by Felton as a letter to his girlfriend—an apology, really—while he tries to make it down to Florida before he has to return for the first football game of his senior season. Felton walks Aleah through his quest to discover where his fourteen-year-old brother has disappeared to, because he is certain it is not orchestra camp on Lake Michigan. Struggling with his talented, suicidal father's legacy, Felton and Andrew find different ways to make their own happiness in life. Herbach succeeds in portraying the stress and confusion facing Felton as he tries to decide what to do with his talent and with his life. The road trip story gets a little confusing when the teenager is on his way to Florida in present time as well as months before the apology letter is written. While the voice of the main character remains authentic to his age and circumstances, this may not be as popular as other first-person, male-character contemporary novels due to the heavy focus on athletic ability and confusing tense changes. Reviewer: Kate Conklin
Kirkus Reviews
Over the course of a cataclysmically awful trip, Felton Reinstein journals for his girlfriend about breakthroughs in his familial relationships. Last year, at 15, nerdy Felton hit a growth spurt and became Stupid Fast (2011), a track star and a football star. This year, with his girlfriend Aleah in Germany, Felton must deal with his fame and the possibility that his younger brother Andrew could be falling apart. Andrew has convinced their mother to let him go to band camp, but Felton discovers that Andrew, usually the sane member of the family, has in fact run away to Florida. An impromptu road trip with erstwhile best friend Gus turns up surprising reasons for Andrew's escape. Herbach's sophomore effort is impenetrable to those who have not read his first, due to a complete lack of character introductions. The conceit of telling the tale of the road trip while on a different trip is a convoluted one that buries the heart of this potentially touching tale in a flabby, confusing construct few readers will enjoy. Felton's voice is frenetic, often annoyingly self-deprecating and repetitious; his fans are the only ones who need apply. If Herbach had avoided playing narrative games and just run with his story, this might have been something special. (Fiction. 12 & up)

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Product Details

Sourcebooks, Incorporated
Publication date:
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
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File size:
845 KB
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

August 20th, 1:33 a.m. Bluffton, WIM

Hey, Aleah, I just thought I'd drop this in, because it's sort of interesting to know what Andrew was thinking back in January, before he got messed up. From his blog at

Felton is Number 2!

"Reinstein is the rarest of athletes, a freak of nature with great size and speed combined with crazy-quick animal reflexes. That Reinstein has played just one season of organized football should strike fear in the hearts of coming opponents and has already caused seismic recruiting efforts among collegiate programs across the nation."-Wisconsin State Journal

You probably already know this, but Felton has been deemed the #2 sports story in the state of Wisconsin for the year (right behind the Green Bay Packers' mid-season resurgence-I had no idea they had gone downhill ever-I pay no attention to professional athletics).

We had six State Journal newspapers jammed in our door, and Felton had approximately ten million voice mail messages from people wanting to congratulate him.

Did Felton celebrate this coverage? Not at all. He went running for about ten minutes. Then he came back because he kept falling down in the snow. (Snow hasn't stopped him before, I promise you.) He watched TV for ten minutes and groaned about how he'd seen every COPS episode ever made. Then he went to bed. It's not even dinnertime yet.

Jerri is concerned for him. I suppose he is feeling pressure. Why, though? He likes playing football. He just has to do what he likes. That is easy.

Jerri is making him some hamburgers for dinner. She's a terrible cook. Maybe he'll sleep through it? I won't, unfortunately.

Happy New Year!


Meet the Author

Wee Wisconsin boy, Geoff Herbach wanted to play for the Green Bay Packers or join The Three Stooges. His tight hamstrings left him only writing. Now he writes YA novels, including the award-winning Stupid Fast series, and teaches at Minnesota State, Mankato where he blows his students' minds with tales of football and comedy glory, none of which are true. Visit for more information about the author, his books, and much more.

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Nothing Special 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Marcie77 More than 1 year ago
elton Reinstein is the center of his own universe. He's very talented in the athletic department and it has made his ego swell to epic proportions. His brother, Andrew, has always been a big supporter of Felton. That is until Felton's in-sensitivities gets the better of him. With hurt feelings, Andrew runs away. Felton is then forced to take a hard look at him self. He implores the help of his ex-best friend to drive him across the country to help brother. This story is written in a journal type that's actually a letter to Felton's girlfriend, Aleah. It's told completely from Felton's point of view. It gives you insight into Felton's head. He's completely clueless to everything around him. He's let down his best friend, he's upset his girlfriend, and he's been a jerk to his brother. However Felton doesn't see what he's done wrong. His character can be very frustrating but you can understand a bit where he is coming from. Nothing Special also deals with the tough subject of suicide. Felton and Andrew's father committed suicide when they were both young. This book shows the devastating, long term impact suicide can have on a family. Felton goes through an intense emotional journey through Nothing Special. He has a lot to figure out and also to deal with. He has to find a way to make amends to the people he's hurt. Geoff Herbach wrote a deep story about what it is to be a teen who has suffered a great loss. The characters and the way they reacted and interacted with each other felt very real. Overall I thought this was a good story. It has a lot of depth to it. The story line flows easy and the characters are believable. I also think there's a little of Felton in each of us.
Cariblogs More than 1 year ago
If you haven't read STUPID FAST and NOTHING SPECIAL you are missing out! Last year when I read STUPID FAST I was shocked to be inside Felton's head. I mean let's face it, guys in YA tend to be smooth and romantic. Felton is nothing like Edward Cullen, but the goodness in his heart makes it easy to love him. If you haven't read STUPID FAST get it now and read it from start to finish and then start NOTHING SPECIAL. In STUPID FAST we really get to know Felton and how he went from the kid who got picked on and being treated like he was slow to the popular jock he is now. I think it's important to note that in STUPID FAST you get to know Felton's voice and understand him, which will make reading NOTHING SPECIAL completely special! The story is mostly told in journal entries to Aleah, his girlfriend. Felton's voice is so genuine as he tries to understand why his life is changing and not in a good way. Felton's little brother Andrew becomes distant and Aleah makes other plans for the summer. His lifetime best friend, Gus, ditches him and Felton is starting to feel the pressures of college and football no longer holds the allure it once did. And then there's his mom, who Felton worries could fall back into a depression at any moment. When Felton changed it caused a domino effect for everyone in his life and the biggest effect was on his little brother Andrew. Andrew feels that Felton's existence ruined his life and the fact that Felton treats him like an annoying little brother doesn't help the situation. Andrew tries to reach out to Felton but Felton isn't quick to pick up the subtle clues. Then Andrew decides he should go to camp, but then Felton finds out that Andrew isn't actually at camp and that he has run away from home instead. Felton will have to mend his friendship with Gus to save Andrew. Along the way Felton learns more about himself and the people around him than he thought possible. He also gets a new perspective on life from a very unlikely family member. I can't stress how important NOTHING SPECIAL really is. This is a great book for both guys and reluctant readers but I believe anyone will cheer for Felton. NOTHING SPECIAL is Geoff Herbach's second YA novel and I can safely say Geoff Herbach is one of my favorite authors. His writing is fantastic! NOTHING SPECIAL is in stores today so run out and get a copy!
Anonymous 9 months ago
Super good story line
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
BooksWithBite More than 1 year ago
This is a continuation of Stupid Fast. You can read this book alone, but there is information from the last book that will help you understand this one. Once again, Felton is on his way to find himself. After discovering secrets, Felton is on a new mission to save his brother. I loved that this plot line feels real. With emotions that rock the reader, Felton learns to sacrafice everything for the one he loves. I loved that with each chapter Felton is so real. He doesn't sugarcoat things but says things they way that they are. Even when he knows he is being correct himself, he is humble enough to recongnise his mistakes and own up to it. The misson on finding his brother is a good one. Felton is left with clues and figures every single one out. He lies to his mom and friends, just to save his brother. The love and bond between these two is amazing. Throughout their fights, the reader see two amazing brothers fighting for what they have left. I just adored the story all together. Many family secrets and family drama occur. Yet all the characters rise stronger then before. Nothing Special is a great comtemp that charms the reader from the first page. The cool humor along with the adreline rush of the secrets coming at the reader, urges the reader to read on. Nothing Special is great!
Icecream18 More than 1 year ago
Andrew and Felton are nothing alike. Felton loves sports while Andrew loves music. For brothers, they couldn't be more different and the strain of their relationship is beginning to show. Felton misses one too many concerts, causing Andrew to make a few rash decisions. Before Felton knows it, Andrew is off to visit their estranged grandfather and he must decide what, if anything, he's going to do about it. While writing to his former girlfriend, Aleah, Felton tells the story of meeting his estranged grandfather and forming a better relationship with his brother. The author has a consistent funny undertone in the dialogue and actions of the characters. The reader will probably find more than a few events hysterical. Sometimes, the book was confusing. There are two trips down to Florida to attempt to retrieve Andrew and meet his grandfather, they take place in Felton's letters/journal at the same time. Sometimes the events are hard to keep straight. However, the reader will definitely think this novel is worth picking up. The cover alone indicates funny subject matter and the first few chapters indicate that there may be something a little deeper below the surface. The characters were not always easy to connect to, but once the reader forms a connection it is hard to break. The author did a great job of depicting a believable sibling relationship, their small fights and insecurities when it came to each other felt very real. Overall, this book is great for young adult readers.