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Stoner & Spaz

(Stoner & Spaz #1)

3.61  ·  Rating details ·  3,019 ratings  ·  314 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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Average rating 3.61  · 
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Jan 07, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Allie and I stopped talking when we were sixteen, but we were best friends for years. She introduced me to alternative music and Jackie Chan movies. We shared laughter and secrets and talked about boys and the Lord of the Rings actors. Being friends with her helped me feel comfortable in my own skin, and I never worried about how I looked or what other people thought of me when I was with her.
Melanie and I were friends from about tenth grade through our early twenties. She and I laughed like nob
Heather Stewart
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
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
Jan 05, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels, teensy
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. ...more
Amy Layton
This was a book that I unexpectedly really enjoyed.  I didn't realize how few books about disability narratives I've read.  And this one was pretty dang good.  Ben has CP, which has significantly affected his life.  But one day, when he's at a movie, the local stoner Colleen lays her head against his shoulder--and thus a friendship is born.  She treats him as a person, and openly discusses his CP rather than denying its existence or ignoring it.  

AND we as the reader get to experience Ben having
Marge O'Leary
Nov 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although this was a short book, it was very good. The book is about Ben, a boy with cerebral palsy, and a girl, Colleen, who is a big mess. I thought it was going to be a common two-weirdos-fall-in-love-and-live-happily-ever-after type of book, but it turned into something more than that. Colleen was truly a wild child with more drugs and dancing experience than a regular teenager would experience. We all wanted her to truly fall in love with the spaz, but that's just not a realistic expectation ...more
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! ...more
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. ...more
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
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
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
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
Adele Broadbent
Ben is 16 and has cerebral palsy. He lives with his overprotective grandma and with no friends, escapes into movies. One night at the Rialto Theatre Colleen Minou asks him for the cost of admission. She is tattooed, loud and oozing attitude, and Ben tries to avoid her as he knows her from school. When she sits next to him then falls asleep on his shoulder, he enjoys the feeling. They build an unlikely friendship – her the stoner, him the spaz – which they openly admit and label each other.
But th
♡ Jeri's Book Attic ♡ Jeri the Romance Bibiliophile ♡

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: 20xj-classics, 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 ...more
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. ...more
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.
Mia Powell
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Richie Partington
Feb 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, box7
3 March 2002 STONER AND SPAZ by Ron Koertge, Candlewick Press, May 2002

Relatively early on in my career as a "children's" bookbuyer I had the great fortune to participate in a day-long workshop discussing "teen" literature. The experts from whom I was to learn that day were Michael Cart and Richard Jackson. Between them, they made several points that have stuck with me as I define and evaluate young adult literature. Among the words of wisdom that day were:

Adolescents create and re-create them
Cassidy Sanborn
Dec 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the book Stoner & Spaz By Ronald Koertge. Ben, who is the main character is a 16 year old who has cerebral palsy. He has a very shy personality and mainly keeps to himself, while at a young age his mother abandoned him so his grandmother took him under her wing. Ben’s life soon changes after he meets Colleen, a teenage girl with a drug problem and a drug dealer as her boyfriend. The material in this book shows the reality of a teenagers life, that not everyone is a “perfect” child. In ...more
Harrison Cook
Dec 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Stoner and Spaz, a book by Ron Koertge, had many aspects involved in it to make o enjoyable to read. I enjoyed reading it because of the language, characters, and humor. Ben a boy with Cerebral Palsy befriended a girl who was a rule breaker, stoner, and quite frankly the opposite of himself. Throughout the book Ben tried to fit in and convince Colleen that he was worthy of his love. Ben is different than everyone, as seen on page 12 “are you kidding me? While every other raised to grade school w ...more
Rose Marie
Stoner and Spaz follows Benjamin, a sixteen year old boy with cerebral palsy as he meets and falls for Colleen, a local druggy who sees the boy behind the CP and teaches him to live a little.
Benjamin himself is quite an interesting character. While I cannot speak much on whether the representation of his CP is well done or accurate, I can say that his personality is enjoyable and his character is full of hope and humor. Colleen on the other hand, is a very flat character with no real developmen
Monica Tolva
When you watch a movie, you don't have to think. You can sort of escape your real life. Especially is you're watching "The Bride of Frankenstein," a movie you've seen a million times.
If you're 16-year-old Ben Bancroft, you've got a lot to escape from. His parents are dead, he lives with his overprotective grandmother, and his cerebral palsy twists his arms and legs so bad that he asks at the movie ticket booth, "Since it's Monster Week, can I get a discount?" The old lady working the ticket boo
Stacey Adams
Mar 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Spaz has cerebral palsy. Stoner is a beautiful, popular, misfit. Why are they spending time together? The kids at school don't understand what the attraction is. Ben, an orphan raised by his extremely proper, old-fashioned grandma is a loner. Colleen likes to get high. This unlikely pair have great conversations talking about things they could never share with others. They help each other find a way of dealing with life....better than the way they were dealing with it before they met. Opening up ...more
May 12, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
As someone with Cerebral Palsy, I am always interested in literary fiction that features a character with CP. Unfortunately, this book missed the mark.

First, the book description makes it seem as though this is a stand-alone book (Yes, I am aware there is a second book that has been published which I am guessing continues the story). But it’s incomplete and reads like the first part of a larger novel rather than a stand-alone.

Second, the characters are pretty far out there, especially Colleen. H
Michelle Kellar
Apr 05, 2019 rated it liked it
Read this in a day and a half. Quick read. Cerebral palsy high schooler young man meets girl that goes to his High School that will take any drug she can get her hands on from her boyfriend that everyone is afraid of. "Spaz" lives with his Grandma (parents are out of the picture) & Grandma isn't to keen on the relationship that develops. "Spaz" his just happy that someone/anyone from school will "hang" with him. I am a grandma & read this first - hoping to maybe pass it on to my 11yr old grandda ...more
This is not my normal type of read. I do not normally choose novels dealing with drugs and alcohol. I do like reading where the main character is struggling with a disability of some sort. It helps me understand how other people live, and it also reminds me how lucky I am.

One thing I appreciate about this novel is that it is fairly clean for a young adult book. Yes, it mentions sex, drugs, alcohol, and a few other things, but it is not graphic. It also does not make you want to try any of the d
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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

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18 likes · 1 comments
“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
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