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The Sticks

3.99  ·  Rating Details  ·  183 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
Percy’s given up. He’s given up and wants to be as far away as possible from the place that has been the source of his troubles all his life. But to his disappointment, he finds himself in the last place he expected. And a chance encounter with a redneck and a stubborn hound dog aren’t helping, either. That is… until they do.

Invincibility can be found in the strangest plac
ebook, Smashwords
Published April 25th 2012 by JF Smith, via Smashwords
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(showing 1-30 of 366)
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Apr 27, 2012 Logan rated it it was amazing
It's funny really...most of us read to try and find something that sparks a feeling, memory, emotion...a connection to others out there, truly letting us know we aren't alone and even though we are merely a speck or a tiny grain of sand...there is those moments when you read something that makes you feel as big as a mountain. This short story did that for me...this author has a gift...I say gift because you can't really learn it. There is so much conviction and passion when he writes...I asked h ...more
Nov 09, 2013 Xing rated it really liked it
Shelves: lendable-kindle
A short story that can be read in under an hour. The Sticks is a little nugget of emotion for readers, and perhaps a bit of memory for those who have been bullied in the past. It is a reminder of what it might have felt like when we were fifteen - how we always saw the bad and none of the good.

And for this, I applaud J.F. Smith's successful attempt to remind me of things we sometimes like to forget.
Jul 11, 2012 Rick rated it it was amazing
I typically won't read short stories but I read everything JF Smith writes and I'm so glad that I did. It is an incredible story - brought back memories of my being teased and taunted when I was a child with thoughts of suicide. It made me sad but made me even more grateful that I didn't go down that same path.
May 18, 2013 Jerry rated it it was amazing
Wow, amazing short story. Makes you really think. No romance, just a story about a 15 year old kid. Not even necessarily gay, but persecuted as if he is. Great set up and the finish is what you make of it. Highly recommended.
Jul 04, 2012 C rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya
This was a wonderful, touching short that hit a spot in me that I don't think anyone else has ever gone near. Since it is so short, and the reader is slowly brought in on what's happening, I really don't want to give anything away, but this book is SO worth reading.

(view spoiler)

(view spoiler)
Jul 07, 2013 Greg rated it it was amazing
This story wasn't what I thought it would be about. It took me a couple of pages before it dawned on me what the author had written about. For such a short story, it was very moving and very well written. It also reminded me of my high school days and how deeply in the closet I was and how trying it is for some people. I would definitely recommend this short story.
Sep 16, 2015 Don rated it it was amazing
Very well written short story about a bullied gay kid living in small town Louisiana that's had enough and is running away. Can he find any hope and wisdom to carry on from a grown up stranger?
May 16, 2012 Djaemail rated it it was amazing
J. F. Smith has taken an agonizing concern in contemporary society, bounced it against ancient mythology, given the situation a palpably vivid down-home setting, spelled out the dialog in rustic simplicity, presented three very real and intriguing characters (one is a dog), drawn deeply from wisdom and insight, and pointed the whole thing in the direction of hope and renewal. From a literary point of view, it is well worth the several readings I could not resist giving it. As a grandfather and a ...more
Mar 17, 2014 Trix rated it really liked it
Touching story about the hardships of life and how to move past them.

Each period of our life has a certain degree of hardship and bad times. And it is ourselves that must find the strength to carry on, it is us that must discover the good things and hold on to them until "this too shall pass".

A lovely story, despite the sombre subject.
Jun 06, 2013 GymGuy rated it really liked it
Interesting read. Not quite sure how to categorize this one. Definitely not a an m/m story, but a story of a gay youth dealing with persecution.

I always am impressed with a write who can successfully write a short story. I feel that it is just as difficult to crystalize thoughts and themes into 25 pages or so as it is to write an extended novel. This is a story rich in metaphor: the swamp, the dark water, the old man, the tatoo.

Very nice positive story.

Feb 22, 2013 Katharina rated it liked it
This was a nice short read, dealing with a difficult, very serious topic. Percy has been the victim of bullying for years and this story is about how he has and should have dealt with it. The story's message is encouraging, despite the sad, heavy content, and it is generally well written.
For me, the message was a bit too much in-your-face, a bit too... uh... preachy for lack of a better word, but it IS a good message, so I guess that's alright :)
Apr 12, 2014 Pat rated it it was amazing
Anyone who knows about Charon and the River Styx will go into this story assuming the worst. My first thought was Percy was dead, and the redneck with the hound dog was taking the poor kid into an even worse life than the one he'd escaped.

But the novella really isn't about any of that at all. Instead, it's a amazingly beautiful look at life, happiness, and self-reliance. It's a tale of who we are despite where we are. It's an uplifting story about looking inward for happiness and not outward.

Feb 03, 2013 Ery rated it really liked it
Shelves: shorts
Very sad, very clever, somewhat hopeful. Awesome.
Aug 22, 2012 L-D added it
Shelves: novella, borrowed
I'm not going to rate this book because to be honest, I wasn't really in the mood for this particular book while I was reading it. I was expecting a quick M/M short with little substance. I sometimes pick shorts to clear my mind between reading larger works. That backfired here.

This short had plenty of substance. I just was not quite in the right headspace to receive it. This is the first work I've read from this author and I didn't expect it to be quite so eloquent and vibrant. His writing styl
Sooo... I went into this thinking it was something it totally wasn't. It isn't m/m romance, despite that being the number one genre listed in goodreads. I'm not sure Percy was even gay, just that that was the insult flung at him in school. We are never really told. This is a ya PSA about (view spoiler). I'm not sure I even got the ending. The first three quarters were heartbreaking though. The writing was poignant and sad. If you take out expectations, it was a moving sto ...more
Jon O
May 11, 2012 Jon O rated it it was amazing
Shelves: gay, teen, short
Honestly, I did not really get the story at first. Maybe because I was not in the right set of mind. Since that it was a short story, I decided to give it another try - going back to Page 1 and starting all over again. I was happy I did. Initially, my mind was not ready to comprehend JF Smith's style of writing. I was expecting simple writing for a short story. Nope. Smith put in effort to deliver a story worthy of listening. It made me felt someone who was listening to all the bullying stories ...more
May 11, 2014 Sara rated it really liked it
A short about a gay teen (with no sex described) contemplating ending everything but finding a reason to go on. Good, but not nearly as good as Smith's full-length works.
Dec 22, 2014 Donald rated it really liked it
A simple and haunting tale of a 15 year old's crossing the river Styx, coming to grips with taking his own life.
Apr 11, 2014 Pam rated it it was ok
Beautifully written but depressing to read.
Jul 20, 2015 wesley rated it really liked it

Now this is a lesson every gay kid experiencing shit should learn from. And it's true. You can't really blame other people when you were the one who gave up. It's hard but it's all about having the right perspective. I know I've been given shit my whole life but I never let it affect me in a way that made me think of myself as someone less. High school is just a temporary place. Even when things don't turn up well after that, that too is temporary. It does get better eventually. You just have to

Nov 13, 2013 Simon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting short story. This is not an M/M romance, rather a story of persecution of a 15 year old boy by his peers. We don't actually know whether he is/was gay. The Sticks is a metaphor for The Styx and Char in this story is the boatman (check out your Greek mythology). Sad, lonely story.
We never find out why the protagonist ends up in the Marsh awaiting the ferryman but I suspect suicide. Well written, beautiful language but beware, this is a story of despair and does not have a happy
May 28, 2012 Kimberly rated it really liked it
For many authors, a short story can be incredibly difficult to develop the characters, details, and emotions needed to help the reader truly understand and experience the story from beginning to end. However, this is not the case for JF Smith. The Sticks transports the reader and it is... bewildering, painful, hopeful, beautiful. JF Smith has a gift and I am so thankful he is sharing it with us.
Ok, Ill admit it. I orefer to read books where I can just read and not have to put a lot of thinking into it as I read. I was over halfway through this short book before it clicked what it was about and then Im not really sure.
I read this as it was short and would cover me for a challenge I was doing.
Jul 19, 2013 Wendy rated it liked it
Every time that I contemplate that someone can be so hurt, wounded and sad that they feel the need to (view spoiler), I get very emotional. That is why I found this short story hard to read. I just wanted to protect Percy and make everything OK for him.
Nov 30, 2012 Brooke rated it liked it
This was pretty haunting and at first I had no idea what was going on. It's just a short story but it's sad enough in that small amount of time. I could certainly identify with it. Bullying is a terrible thing.
Jun 17, 2013 Jo rated it it was amazing
Took me a couple of reads, it is a short book, and I have decided that I love it. I love the themes that run through it. The raw journey of the protagonist.

Actually this is my favourite book by JF Smith.

Aug 29, 2012 Emily rated it really liked it
Shelves: indie
The descriptions in the beginning are a bit overwrought but once the characters started interacting, the story captivated me. Well done!
Jan 17, 2013 Sunne rated it really liked it
A short story that makes you wonder and think....nothing spectacular but unique and a bit heartbreaking.
Apr 28, 2012 Tailtiu added it
Shelves: free
I really don't want/know how to rate (it's good!) this story...go and read it for yourself it's free.
May 20, 2012 MLE rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle-archive
A short story, both deeply moving and timely without being sappy.
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