Stoner and Spaz by Ron Koertge


Stoner and Spaz by Ron Koertge

A beautifully written, uncompromising yet poignant account of the relationship between a boy with cerebral palsy and a girl with a drug habit. Ben Bancroft is the invisible man. Nicknamed Spaz because of the cerebral palsy that has disabled him since birth, he's a real loner: no parents, no siblings, no friends, just a wealthy, straight-laced grandmother, who looks after him as if he were still a small child. His only escape is the decrepit Rialto Theatre where, on Friday nights, he watches old movies with the other loners. The last person he expects - or wants - to meet there is Colleen Minou. Drugged out, covered in tattoos, clad in ripped tights and a neon mini skirt, she's the kind of trouble Ben's spent his life avoiding. But when Colleen climbs into the seat beside him and rests a woozy head on his shoulder, it's the start of a relationship that will alter Ben's life...for ever. With forthright humour and explicit dialogue, Stoner and Spaz tells an engaging story of the coming together of two teenagers from very different worlds, each with a demon to face...


If only a few more people dared to portray disabled people this way we might bury some of the patronising attitudes towards disabled people... Dan Batten, Scope Magazine. I shall use it in training... Margie Woodward, Scope's Disability Equality Officer.

-out whose only pleasure in life is getting high. 'Spaz

-laced film buff with cerebral palsy. They share the same US high school, but little else. A chance meeting is the start of an unexpected relationship, an adventure that takes both far from their previous lives. This is young adult rather than early teenage fiction. Hard hitting with strong language, it doesn't flinch at sex, drugs or disability, and manages to avoid any hint of condescension or cliche when dealing with these issues. This is not a story of great passion or endless love, and no one gets 'saved' - it's far more realistic than that. Ben and Colleen are believable and quirky loners, unmistakeably teenaged. Awkward, shy, desperate and clumsy, Ben can be seen as the epitome of pubescent angst. Colleen's character is less easy to understand, less loveable, more interesting. The dialogue is witty and well crafted, with fast-paced narrative, positively racing in the last third of the book. Koertge succeeds in giving us an unusual and highly readable tale of two outcasts finding each other and some respite from their troubled teenage lives. Recommended. Ages 14+ (Kirkus UK)

About the Author

Ron Koertge is the author of several acclaimed novels, including The Brimstone Journals. Of Stoner and Spaz, he says, My wife works with the learning disabled and the physically disabled. One night she came home and told me about a young man with cerebral palsy - and a terrific sense of humour. Coincidentally, that day I had talked to a former student of mine who'd recently been in rehab for substance abuse. What would happen, I wondered, if those two knew each other? Two months later I had the first draft of Stoner and Spaz. An avid movie buff, Ron Koertge lives in the house featured in John Carpenter's film Halloween. He teaches English at Pasadena City College and Vermont College in the US.

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Book Info


128 pages
Interest Age: 14+


Ron Koertge
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Publication date

7th October 2002



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