Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Huge” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.25  ·  Rating details ·  555 ratings  ·  134 reviews
Life hasn’t been easy for Eugene “Huge” Smalls.

Sure, his IQ is off the charts, but that doesn’t help much when you’re growing up in the 1980s in a dreary New Jersey town where your bad reputation precedes you, the public school system’s written you off as a lost cause, and even your own family seems out to get you.

But it’s not all bad. Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hamme
Paperback, 320 pages
Published July 7th 2009 by Broadway Books (first published January 1st 2009)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Huge, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Huge

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.25  · 
Rating details
 ·  555 ratings  ·  134 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Huge
Brent Legault
Jul 21, 2009 rated it did not like it
If I took the time, I'm sure I could think up a kitbag of cheap shots to hurl at Huge. Instead, all I have to offer is this soiled hanky of a Goodreads "review."

After I (somehow) finished reading this novel, I sat in my rumbling and uncomfortable bus seat, fuming, shaking a mental fist (like a regular fist but made of mind mist) at the rotten world and its many injustices, injustices like the publishing of Huge: A Novel.

Uh, oh cripes, I'm dizzy with upset and my mouth tastes like sick. There are
Oct 31, 2009 rated it it was ok
Oh, James Fuerst, how you have wronged me!

The character of Genie (aka "Huge") had such potential. A 12-year-old with a filthy mouth, a violent streak, and a checkered past who also happens to love detective novels, is unabashedly "friends" with a stuffed turtle named Thrash, and is fiercely protective of his senile grandmother -- really, what's not to love?

Oh, right. I forgot to mention that he also has some sort of creepy relationship with his sister in which it's okay for them to see each ot
Jul 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 31, 2009 rated it it was ok
Has the world gotten to a place where one should assume a book is full of profanity and vulgarity unless told otherwise? This was the third such book in a month I selected based on blurbs that hinted at nothing of the sort. I thought I would be safe with a pre-teen coming of age story that prominently features a stuffed frog, but apparently this is a pre-teen coming of age story for adults only. At least, I wouldn't be comfortable letting my children read this, as I wasn't even comfortable mysel ...more
Dec 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
I'm kind of a sucker for coming-of-age stories written for adults, and this debut fits the bill. Set on the New Jersey shore in 1980-something, we follow 12-year-old Huge (aka Genie, aka Eugene) for a few weeks over the summer between 6th and 7th grade. Thanks to his severe anger management problems, he's got a well-deserved reputation as the meanest (not to mention smallest) kid in his peer group, However, he's also the smartest -- a combination that leads to his utter isolation and hilarious b ...more
Feb 15, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: listened-to
3.5 Entertaining audio book for adults, but with a kid narrator. Genie Smalls is stuck in the summer between 6th and 7th grade. He is IQ brilliant, but troubled with rage and behavioral issues that give him a hard time socially, not to mention his name and his size (small) and the fact that he doesn't have a Dad (he walked out) and his single mom and older sister Nicey (short for Denise) are raising him - though supportively. His beloved Grandma Tootsie is in a nursing home and his only friend i ...more
Matt Fitz
Apr 29, 2018 rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this book, but I don't know who the author was writing for. It's premise reads like a YA coming-of-age story about a 12 year old kid who struggles to fit in with his peers/family and takes solace in three things: His grandmother living in a nursing home, his stuffed frog companion that he talks to, and detective noir books his grandmother turned him onto. Set in New Jersey in the 80s, the protagonist (he prefers to be called huge) tries to solve a "crime" and along the wa ...more
Dec 31, 2016 rated it it was ok
I really wanted to finish this book, since the start of it was very intriguing. Love "Huge" and the premise of the story. However, it just went downhill from there. Who is the audience for this book? I was confused. Huge is a kid with an adult hard-boiled detective brain. The dialogue is very witty and too detailed for someone who doesn't do well in school. The cursing is probably how kids talk today, but it distracted me somehow, and I curse all the time! I couldn't recommend the book to young ...more
Mike Dickenson
Nov 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I picked up this book from a libary and almost didn't read it, but I'm really glad I did. It's a coming of age book with a lot of adult language. Fuerst does a good job of putting us into the mind of a crazy pre-pubescent 12 year old, who makes a lot of bad decisions that keep the tension high and the reader curious. Recommend. ...more
Mar 04, 2018 rated it it was ok
Who was this book written for? A coming of age book that might be a young adult tale, but with enough swearing to make the school librarian blush. It’s never easy to be a middle schooler, so why did I read this?
Apr 03, 2018 rated it liked it
Kid’s 80s summer adventure caper told in the voice of hard boiled detective novel. Also touching coming of age story.
Apr 08, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf
Started. Skimmed. Bailed. Could not connect with characters. Read Freak the Mighty instead is my recommendation
Jun 02, 2020 rated it it was ok
Semi-good book, but ends very abruptly and annoyingly. Annoyance at end definitely outweighs the enjoyment from the rest
Will McGee
Jul 30, 2009 rated it it was ok
I liked this book, and I appreciated how the narrator--Eugene "Genie/Huge" Smalls--thinks he has everything figured out, and his take is as sordid and rotten as anything he's read in a hard-boiled detective novel, but then realizes he doesn't know anything. But there seemed to be an awful lot of loose threads, like those on a pair of cut-off jeans, that dangle noticeably and threaten to unravel and render the cut-offs unwearable. First, there's Thrash, Eugene's stuffed animal "partner" who in in ...more
Sep 01, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2009, young-adult
First of all, I feel like this novel is a bit mis-characterized. It didn’t feel like a YA novel to me (and I do read YA). Instead, it felt like a coming-of-age story with a 12 year old protagonist that is written for adults. Which is perfectly fine! Just not what I expected.

The tone of the novel was a *little* bit overdone. Huge (Eugene) is very brash, very angry, and not quite as tough or mature as he thinks he is. It took me a while to convince myself that his speech/actions/thoughts/etc were
Jul 03, 2009 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: no one
Recommended to Sara by: People magazine
This book is amazing - but not in a good way. It revolves around a foul-mouthed 12-year-old wannabe detective named Huge, who's hired by his grandma to investigate the mystery of who tagged the sign at her retirement home. The mystery is fun enough, though the resolution to it is underwhelming, and most of the book plodded along awkwardly.

I have absolutely no idea who is the target audience of this book. It's shelved with adult fiction but the main character is 12, and the text is WILDLY inappr
May 28, 2010 rated it really liked it
Twelve-year-old Eugene “Huge” Smalls wants the world and everything in it to be huge like him. But Huge—too small to even make the junior high football team, though he’s the fastest kid at practice—doesn’t exactly live up to his moniker.

His uncontrollable temper and sardonic wit leave him isolated from his peers, and his obsession for the detective stories of Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett drives him to question the motivation of everyone around him, even his doting mother and older siste
Aug 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
Excellent first novel by James Fuerst. A great coming of age story that instantly gets into your head and infects you with the voice of Eugene "Huge" Smalls who channels the identities of the classic noir detectives of yore like Marlow and Spade. In fact from the opening paragraph it is hard not to hear the narrator's voice as that of one of the classic black and white movie voiceovers from the 50's. The story was a good mix of those classic detective stories and Mark Haddon's "The Curious Incid ...more
Laura de Leon
Apr 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, review-copy
Very unique. The protagonist is 12 years old, but this book is not for kids.

"Huge" (he really wishes everyone would stop calling him Genie) is going to enter 7th grade and the world of Junior High in the fall, but he's entering with two big strikes against him.

First, he has a really bad temper. A destroy-the-classroom, terrify-the-students, can't-be-left-home-alone temper. This temper has led him to have one heck of a reputation.

Second, he's smart. The kind of book smart that leads kids and tea
Jul 15, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction-misc, vine
Twelve-year old Eugene Smalls is the smallest kid in 6th grade. Everyone still calls him Genie but he'd rather be known now as Eug (sounds like "Huge"). He's also the meanest and angriest kid in 6th grade. He reads Sam Spade detective stories, and when the sign outside his grandmother's retirement home is defaced, he sets out to find the culprit.

The book starts out sounding like an old-fashioned noir detective story. But while that's pretty clever it doesn't last long. Unfortunately, however, t
Mar 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
It took awhile for me to get into this book, but when I did I really enjoyed it and found it hard to put down. The setting is a NJ shore town in the 1980's. "Huge" Smalls is an impulsive, angry, lonely, smart-alecky, highly intelligent yet naive 6th grader with few friends. He is the smallest boy in his grade, confides in a stuffed frog (Thrash) at the recommendation of his school counselor, gets into fights easily, adores his aging grandmother and doesn't quite realize how much love and support ...more
Jun 16, 2013 rated it liked it
Eugene “Huge” Smalls doesn’t have much going for him. He’s middle schooler whose reputation as a violent troublemaker precedes him. His teachers have written him off and even his family seems to be working against him. Except for his dear grandmother, who supported him through his tribulations and introduced him to important role models that helped shape who he is today: Philip Marlowe, Sam Spade, and of course, Sherlock Holmes. So, you may have guessed it…this is a coming-of-age, mystery novel. ...more
Jan 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
As I began this book, it seemed to resemble the literary lovechild of "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime" and "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao." But I was mistaken, and I was not disappointed by what the book delivered.

The story is told with a serious dose of humor and irony, and the family dynamics are pretty believable. Huge seems to accept things in life towards the end of the book that he wouldn't have accepted at the book's beginning, which shows his growth and maturity;
Tammy Dahle
Jan 25, 2010 rated it it was ok
My thoughts:
ARRRGGGG! I really tried to get into this book. I really tried to like Eugene "Huge" Smalls. Okay, he's twelve. He's being raised by a single mom who works two jobs. He drives around a cruiser that he built himself out of spare parts from a junk yard and he has a stuffed frog, named Thrash as a side kick.
What I could'nt get past was that this kid has MAJOR anger issues and is a HUGE bully.
Page 66
Sure, Thrash was pretty sick, but his schemes for revenge didn't always work out like the
Sep 23, 2009 rated it really liked it
Meet Eugene "Huge" Smalls. He is one tough 12 year old who talk to a stuffed frog, loves a good ole detective story and will stop at nothing to solve the case....

Written for adults from the POV of "Huge", we are throw back into the 1980's, where every young kid/teen overuses the word like and graffiti and tagging are THE way to make a mark (and a name for oneself) in the world....

While I had a tough time believing the voice Fuerst gave "Huge" at first - entirely too grown up and littered with cu
Dec 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fuerst, James W. Huge: A Novel. Unabridged. 8CDs. 10.5 Hours. Blackstone Audio, Inc. ISBN: 978-1-4417-2314-7. $100.00. F

12yo hard boiled detective wannabe Eugene "Huge" Smalls with his only friend and sidekick "Thrash" (a stuffed turtle), is hired by his possibly senile grandmother to investigate the vandalism of her retirement home's sign. A hilarious, nostalgic journey back to 1980's Jersey 'burbs, complete with jersey girl hairdo's, neon clothes, converse shoes and lots of gratuitous cussing.
Mar 17, 2010 rated it it was ok
This was the last choice pick for January's book club meeting, and honestly, I am a bit relieved that it lost the vote. I don't know that it would have generated much conversation for our group. It felt a bit overly written with two distracting similes on the very first page. Fuerst's use of metaphors throughout was just as distracting. It just felt like the author was trying too hard and ultimately missed the mark. The "mystery" was not mysterious and the time era wasn't very well done either. ...more
Sep 30, 2009 rated it liked it
A nice little book about a wildly disturbed 12-year old boy with an anger problem.

I didn't like the last two pages of the ending (no spoilers) and the protagonist thinks like characters in Dawson's Creek talk - verbosely and way above their age level. Indeed many of the events of the book strike me as a little age-askew. Another off-note is the year of the setting - I might have missed it, but it doesn't seem like 2009 to me (lack of video games, DVD, computers etc) and harkens to simpler times
Jan 08, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ir-books
The main character in this book, Eugene "Huge" Smalls is a genius. He also has serious anger issues. One day Genie goes to visit his grandmother and someone has changed the sign from retirement home, to retarded home. His grandmother knows he likes detective books, so she gives him some money and tells him to figure out who did it, and report back to her. So Genie goes and figures out who did it. Somewhere in there he decided his sister was a slut, and adicted to drugs and a bunch of other crap. ...more
Jul 01, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Those looking for a fun and enjoyable read
Recommended to Kate by: David R.
Shelves: book-club
Eugene "Huge" Smalls is my new favorite fictional character. He's a "problem" child who has a very active imagination, loves to read mysteries by Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett and has a potty mouth that would rival Philip Marlowe and Sam Spade's to be sure. Oh yeah, did I mention his partner in crime is a stuffed green frog named Thrash and he gets around town on his Cruiser that he made from old bicycle parts he found? Well he does.

I loved how this story was told from Huge's perspective
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
2nd reading log 2 3 Dec 12, 2011 06:02PM  
WHY I CHOSE THIS BOOK 4 4 Dec 09, 2011 12:03PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • In Search of April Raintree
  • No Laughing Matter
  • A Good Girl's Guide to Murder (A Good Girl's Guide to Murder, #1)
  • Waiting to Exhale (Waiting To Exhale #1)
  • Stepsister
  • White Bird
  • Upright Women Wanted
  • Writers & Lovers
  • Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You
  • On the Bright Side: Stories about Friendship, Love, and Being True to Yourself
  • El príncipe de la niebla (Niebla, #1)
  • The Ruins
  • Crime Beat: A Decade of Covering Cops and Killers
  • Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife
  • Newjack: Guarding Sing Sing
  • Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War
  • A Simple Plan
  • The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin
See similar books…

News & Interviews

Need another excuse to treat yourself to a new book this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our...
22 likes · 5 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“She used to read us Where The Wild Things Are, which i loved, because Max was a bad little fucker and i always respected that.” 0 likes
More quotes…