Spinning Out

Spinning Out

5.0 1
by David Stahler
     
 

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High school senior Frenchy has little ambition beyond hanging out at the smoking rock until his best friend, the ever-witty and conniving Stewart, gets him to try out for Man of la Mancha. To everyone's surprise, the guys are a hit. But when Stewart's antics begin to grow more obsessivehe wears his costume 24/7, freaks out about little details, and displays

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Overview

High school senior Frenchy has little ambition beyond hanging out at the smoking rock until his best friend, the ever-witty and conniving Stewart, gets him to try out for Man of la Mancha. To everyone's surprise, the guys are a hit. But when Stewart's antics begin to grow more obsessivehe wears his costume 24/7, freaks out about little details, and displays an incessant hatred of the high-tech windmills outside of townFrenchy worries that there's something deeper going on. Is Stewart spiraling into madness, just like Don Quixote? And can Frenchy battle through his own demons in time to save his friend from self-destruction before it's too late?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Stahler (the Truesight trilogy) delivers a simultaneously uplifting and heartbreaking look at the dual toll grief and mental illness take on teenagers—both on the sufferers and on everyone around them. Frenchy is intent on spending his senior year smoking weed and trying to blot out the death of his father in combat. But his best friend and fellow practical joker Stewart persuades him to try out for the school musical, The Man of La Mancha, and before Frenchy knows it, he's playing Sancho to Stewart's Don Quixote. But Stewart is also tilting at windmills in real life—he and his family oppose the wind turbines that have become a part of their town—and his obsession with the play seems to dominate his life, even as Frenchy tries to deal with his mother's new beau and his own potential love interest. Stahler creates a solid narrator in Frenchy, ably balancing his grief, confusion over Stewart's deteriorating mental state, and elation at his dawning relationship with stage manager Kaela. The resulting denouement is chaotic and heart-wrenching. Ages 12–up. (June)
School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up—Stewart and Gerry (aka Frenchy) are from vastly different socioeconomic backgrounds, but their friendship is fueled by their misfit status and their daily pot-smoking "pit stops." When they audition for the roles of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza in Man of La Mancha, their leader/follower relationship is cemented, and they surprise everyone with their talent. Their theatrical prowess, however, masks serious issues: Frenchy is trying to deal with his soldier-father's recent suicide, and Stewart's obsession with sabotaging the power company's wind turbines is evidence of his mental illness. When his increasingly erratic behavior puts both teens in danger, Frenchy is forced to admit to Stewart's schizophrenia and risks his own life to get him help. These teens have much more to them than meets the eye. The slow unraveling of their secrets provides insight into the often-complicated lives of adolescents bent on hiding their private demons from the world. Secondary characters, though less well developed, add depth to the story, and the adults exhibit a true desire to better themselves and/or to help the struggling protagonists. The relationships that develop between them and the boys add credibility. The narrative moves logically to its denouement, and the fast pace will keep readers interested in the conclusion. Religious epithets, derogatory terms (e.g., "faggot," "douche bag"), curses, slang, and raw language abound, adding a realistic feel to the dialogue. A good choice for broadminded young adult collections.—Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan, The Naples Players, FL
From the Publisher
"The narrative moves logically to its denouement, and the fast pace will keep readers interested in the conclusion" - School Library Journal"

[D]elivers a simultaneously uplifting and heartbreaking look at the dual toll grief and mental illness take on teenagers. The resulting denouement is chaotic and heart-wrenching." - Publisher's Weekly

Kirkus Reviews

Stocky stoner prankster Frenchy and his wealthy hippie friend Stewart usually prefer to bide their time smoking weed and plotting tricks to unleash on their unsuspecting school, but when Stewart hears that the drama department is putting on The Man of La Mancha, he eagerly convinces Frenchy to audition with him.

Stewart and Frenchy land the lead roles of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, respectively, and all hell breaks loose as Frenchy and the cast watch Stewart's mind disintegrate into dementia in rehearsals as opening night approaches. Stahler knows high-school boyspeak well, and both characters walk and talk like real teen boys who've known each other forever. He successfully renders other characters as well, including a stage-manager love interest for Frenchy. He stumbles with plot, however. While the parallels between the boys' lives and the musical are obvious, the allusions will feel bizarre and random to teen readers not familiar with either the play or the Cervantes original, especially when Stewart shows up to class in full costume and makeup with a saber.

The end may or may not be a surprise to readers, but ultimately this story of a high-school friend trying to save his buddy will be tough to find an audience for. (Fiction. 14 & up)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780811877800
Publisher:
Chronicle Books LLC
Publication date:
05/25/2011
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.30(d)
Age Range:
12 - 18 Years

Meet the Author

David Stahler Jr., is the author of several novels for young adults. He teaches high school English in the mountains of northern Vermont.

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