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Stoner & Spaz (Stoner & Spaz #1)

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  2,802 Ratings  ·  299 Reviews
For sixteen-year-old Ben Bancroft --- a kid with cerebral palsy, no parents, and an overprotective grandmother --- the closest thing to happiness is hunkering alone in the back of the Rialto Theatre, watching Bride of Frankenstein for the umpteenth time. Of course, the last person he wants to run into is drugged-out Colleen Minou, resplendent in ripped tights, neon miniski ...more
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published May 1st 2002 by Candlewick Press
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Shirley Marr
Oct 06, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: usa-ya
Stoner & Spaz is a wonderfully unapologetic and brash contemporary study about well... two self-explanatory characters. Spaz is Ben Bancroft, an uptight, Grandmother-raised boy who is nicknamed so because of his cerebral palsy. Stoner is Collen Minou, the high school bad girl who is perpetually drugged out, hence the nickname.

Told from Ben's point of view, the novel is primarily driven almost entirely via dialogue, which in this case, works really well because the dialogue is a joy to read -
This awkwardly-covered book follows a teenager with cerebral palsy around while he attempts to break free a bit from the strict rules his grandmother enforces. He befriends a popular girl at school who exposes him to the wonderful worlds of dance clubs, drugs, and making out. I liked the book as a character study and I wasn't expecting more to happen but the author adds in a storyline about Ben's interest in filmmaking that overwhelms the second half of the book and changed the flow for me. (tho ...more
Dec 17, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: disabilities
I chose this book because like the protagonist I have spastic cerebal palsy, also similar to Ben it affects only one side of my body. I was interested to see how a non-handicap author portrays a disabled person. There are multiple levels of CP ranging from the very mild to very severe; Ben and I are similar in our capabilities although his is slightly worse. I only have slight difficulty getting dressed and I am able to drive. Overall, Koertge did a exemplary job with both main characters. I lov ...more
Who would have thought that a love story between a boy with cerebral palsy and a manic pixie drug addict would make me sigh "Aww!" in my head at least 20,000 times? This book is so damn cute.
Lorry Chwazik
Jun 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An movie-buff teen disabled with CP meets a girl who actually treats him like a human being without CP - the only trouble is that she was so stoned she can barely remember their encounter. Still, a friendship develops, one that means changes in both their lives. Terrific dialogue is a highlight in this story, another is Koertge's ability to spin a great tale with interesting characters that leaves one wondering about their fates. Good thing there is a sequel!
Marianne Robin-Tani
Well written and quite funny even though it's dated, because technology has shot off the chart since this book was written. I liked the characters and thought they were well drawn. The only thing that felt unrealistic was when Ben decides to try smoking pot and gets stoned off one hit. No matter how good Colleen's "shit" was, that would never happen. But storywise, it's a fun, fast read.
Jacob Hablewitz
Feb 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Personal Response

I really enjoyed the book "Stoner and Spaz" written by Ron Koertge. This book had a great amount of action combined perfectly with drama to create a very good book. I did not want to stop reading this book, and I was quite fascinated by the plot and the events that took place. I am very glad that I found this book well I was looking around in the library. This book is my favorite book of 2016, so far.


Ben, the main character in this book, suffers from C.P. This is a
My Teen Book Club chose this one to read, otherwise I probably would have never picked it up! This book grew on me as it went. For the first half I was kinda meh about it -- I wasn't a huge fan of the sorta stereotypical way the characters were portrayed (nerdy loner movie lover and TOTAL mess hot drug addict manic pixie dream girl), but as it went on, I warmed up to it.

My Teen Book Club tends to pick fantasy or genre fiction in general, so it was a good experience, I think, for them to read a
Ben’s life has been tough to say the least. His parents are gone, he has Cerebral Palsy, and to say his grandmother is overprotective would be an understatement. Everyone treats him differently, except for Colleen. When he runs into her at an old movie theater, he tries to avoid her. Who wants to hang out with a drug addict anyway. The more she hangs around, the more he want to see her. She talks to him like he is normal, she touches him like he is normal, she just overall treats him like a norm ...more
Dawn States
Contemporary Realistic Fiction

Stoner and Spaz is exactly that, a story about a girl who is on drugs and a boy who has cerebral palsy, the spastic kind. This book gives a slice of what it is like to go to a modern day high school, especially with something as difficult to deal with as cerebral palsy. It portrays this issue realistically and without any softening of the issue, but also without using stereotypes or being desensitized. This book seems like something young adults could c
Jan 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I gotta say...while not really having a whole lot of time to do this right now. I used to call this book my favorite. And I mean it still is one of my favorites. I love this book for so many reasons. 1. it has this amazing way of showing you that you really have to look at people and look at yourself before you make a judgement in anyway. 2. Sometimes you just can't get it in your head that you have to face your own shit, Though when you feel you have to save and be strong for someone ...more
♡ Jeri's Book Attic ♡

While I really like the plotline I had a really difficult time with the writing style of the author and therefore my rating is on the lower side. But I still would like to recommend the book to other readers as I feel it is just me being again the odd one out here

Give it a try and judge for yourself


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Sep 22, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teen-fiction
it was merely ok. i really liked ben's character, but found colleen to be both irritating and unrealistic. some of her "drug problems" come across as particularly unrealistic and might make anyone who knows more about the topic than the author snicker just a bit. for instance: colleen winds up in the hospital and hooked up to an i.v. because of all the marijuana she smoked (not the cocaine she's been snorting throughout). really? any kid who's been around these drugs will likely be turned off at ...more
Jenny Brown
Aug 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teens
You have to love Ben Bancroft. He is 16 years old with cerebral palsy, his mother abandoned him, his father may have committed suicide, and his grandmother dresses him in preppy clothes. But he has a killer sense of humor, honed in the last dark rows of the Rialto Theatre in Los Angeles, and refers to himself as “spaz.” By page four, he has bumped into Colleen Mintou; “Everybody at King High School knows Colleen. At least, everybody who wants weed.” Plus, she looks like Helena Bonham Carter in F ...more
I liked this book because it's one of the few books written that can actually, truthfully put into words what highschool is like. While the book was good, the ending made me angry because for some reason in books, authors have to leave you to wonder exactly what happens instead of just telling you. all throughout the book you kind of feel sorry for spaz because of his clinging grandmother. i would recomend this book to someone who is looking for a quick read
Nov 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Stoner and Spaz is a really good book. I would recommend it to younger people like in their teens. The book covers situtaions and the lives of teens like the ones today. It also is a touching story about a teen girl who uses drugs and how she becomes friend with a teen boy who has a mental illness and how they become good friends. It is a very good book.
The spaz is a 17 year old boy with cerebral palsy whose life begins to change after a teenage girl with a drug problem and drug dealer boyfriend leans on his shoulder and sleeps during a showing of The Bride of Frankenstein. They seem to be polar opposites, but they somehow make a romantic connection and leave an imprint on each other's lives. One for the better and one for the slightly better.
Mia Powell
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
love love loved
This book is about a boy with CP in high school and how he grows and changes throughout the year. The main character Ben is very good kid who is kind of boring, until he meets a "bad girl". He experiments new things, and the book focuses on his new experiences. Stoner and Spaz is a pretty good book. I liked seeing the characters develop, and the book had good humor. If you are looking for a light easy read this would be a good book. The reason it is not 5 stars is it is a little bit predictable ...more
Mar 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have a weakness for people who are a little messed up in the head, and I guess the same goes for characters, because Ben and Colleen are my kind of people. This was SO GOOD, and made be wonder-- why aren't there more books about people with disabilities? I think this might be the first one I've ever read, and that seems crazy.
Samantha Snyder
This book has such a GREAT concept. The execution was just, meh. I enjoyed the characters, I did. There just wasn't much to work with in the way of character development. Life was one way, then it was quickly another. I kept feeling like, "how did they get here?"
Sep 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I bought the audiobook version of this novel and I fell in love with the main character and his outlook on life. I've been searching for another book that touched me the way this one did and I have yet to find it.
Nicole Clapp
Feb 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not quite the ending I was hoping for but a good plot.
Feb 13, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-for-class
Hmm. Some of these books just move so fast I never know how to process when they're done.
Megan Vosk
Nov 13, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Not very memorable. I found the voice of the protagonist annoying.
Flossmoor Public Library (IL)
4 stars

- Ms. Jenn
Andrew Hicks
Sep 29, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya
The first notes I wrote down while reading Stoner and Spaz were “out of touch - old?” When I finished the book, I searched author Ron Koertge’s biography - yeah, turns out he’s in his seventies. So when he wrote Stoner and Spaz in 2002, he was at least 60. It shows.

The title sums it up - there are two main characters. One, a hot mess of a girl named Colleen, is the stoner. The other, a boy named Ben who has cerebral palsy, is the spaz. Both are firmly on the outskirts of popularity in their
Paul Baker
Aug 08, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
Although classified as a breakthrough novel in the Young Adult genre, Stoner & Spaz--like all good novels--can be read and enjoyed by anyone.

It's a short book, very lean and very well-written. Maybe my own experience with cutting a large novel down to size has colored my point of view, but I have grown to really appreciate storytelling that gets right to the heart of the subject. The characters are bold, the Southern California landscape spare, and the theme explored relentlessly.

Told from t
Sep 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lindsey Decker
Period 7
Book report

The book Stoner and Spaz is an amazing book. The true meaning behind the book is very touching. You should never judge a book by its cover. Like any other book, Stoner and Spaz follows the "Hero's Journey". Three out of twelve steps that this book follows is uncomfortable home, denial, and reward.

First is the uncomfortable home. Colleen is a young girl with a drug addiction. Her home life is not the greatest. Colleen is basically the boss of herself and doesn't f
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Mrs. Gallagher's ...: Valeska's Book Review 1 8 Nov 17, 2012 07:49PM  
  • Out of Order
  • Suckerpunch
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  • 33 Snowfish
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  • Bucking the Sarge
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Ask Ron Koertge what he brings to the realm of young adult fiction, and the seasoned author responds matter-of-factly. "I write dialogue well, and I'm funny," he says--an assessment few would argue with. "I like iconoclasm and practice it in my fiction. I don't like pretense or hypocrisy. I'm almost always irreverent."

A faculty member for more than 35 years at Pasadena City College, where he has
More about Ron Koertge...

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“I always sit through the credits. I am always the last one out of any theater. I even make a point of being last. I stay in my seat until everyone else has shuffled past. Then I turn my back, too, on the comforting dark.” 1 likes
“Since I’ve been pretty much treading water all day, the marquee of the Rialto Theatre looks like the prow of a ship coming to save me.” 0 likes
More quotes…