Hailed as "one of the most hilarious and well-observed accounts of teenage debauchery you are ever likely to read" by the trendsetting British lifestyle magazine Dazed & Confused, Ben Brooks's Grow Up is a shocking, stylish, and very modern coming-of-age story.
As Jasper J. Wolf careens through high school, his list of to-dos includes: get high with friends, seduce the hottest girl in school, and, last but not least, expose his stepfather as a murderer. But as growing up soon teaches him, what he wants and what he gets are often wildly different—and decidedly unexpected.
|Publisher:||Penguin Publishing Group|
|Sold by:||Penguin Group|
|File size:||283 KB|
|Age Range:||18 Years|
About the Author
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Grow Up is the sort of novel people refer to as "coming of age" because it's about teenagers about to graduate from high school (or finish A-levels, since they're British kids). It's also the sort of novel that gets very mixed reviews because the characters, particularly the main character, is equally charming and despicable. In other words, he's a teenager. Add to that the fact that the author is barely nineteen years old himself and has already written five novels (though he says this is his first "proper novel") and the book ends up being rather polarizing. Young readers adore his fresh and honest (and very engaging) storytelling, while professional reviewers say the book is vapid and filled with "sex and drugs and not much else," perhaps unwilling to give the author the benefit of the doubt that he has anything real to say. I, for one, am torn. I really did enjoy this book. The characters say and do offensive things, but I didn't find myself offended. I had to really think about why that was. And I think in the end I believe that Ben Brooks was successful in creating precisely what he set out to: an unreliable narrator. Jasper Wolf is a naif (in some ways like his idol, Holden Caulfield) in that he believes he is completely self aware and worldly but his own immaturity and bravado prevent him from accurately seeing the world around him. Ben Brooks has not created a world in which there are no consequences for Jasper's actions; he has created a world in which Jasper does not always see what those consequences will be, and one in which Jasper himself is not always the one who will have to pay for his own bad behaviour. Jasper treats some of the girls around him horribly, but the reader sees that those girls probably really are devastated by his actions, even if Jasper is mostly just interested in how it all affects him. This isn't Saturday Night Fever, where the girl forgives her rapist in the end so long as he's a little bit nice to her. In a lot of ways, Grow Up reminded me of Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. The reader sees more than the narrator does because the narrator has a fundamental flaw in his reasoning power. Only in this case it isn't autism, it's being a middle class teenaged boy. For my full review, please visit my blog, CozyLittleBookJournal.
I recently went to a friend with the following statement about this book: "Good golly I read a coming-of-age book last night that was so foul languaged and filled with sex, drugs and alcohol that I don't know how to talk about it on the blog.. because I actually enjoyed it." Then I realized, that's exactly what I wanted to say about Grow Up by Ben Brooks. Frankly, I needed to grow up and face the fact that, in spite of its numerous moral deficiencies, this book tackles tough, hard issues teenagers are facing every single day and it doesn't give them a "hero" to make them feel as if they are losing some kind of battle because they can't measure up.Grow Up is the story of a boy and a girl, best friends, who make mistakes left and right. They lie, they do drugs, they have sex, they drink, they party, but most of all, they are hurting and it's so transparent it made my heart ache. Because in the middle of all of these harsh realities and the foul language, the boy and the girl, they are there for one another in a bond of friendship so strong it gave me hope.When I found myself faced with star ratings on review sites, I honestly struggled with myself because, in terms of how potent this book is, and how hard it made me think, and how quickly I devoured it, it rates off the charts. But the other messages being flagrantly broadcast, and here is the deciding factor on that, the lack of consequences for those actions tilts the rating factor to the opposite side -so I end up right in the middle.Grow Up is not a book for the faint of heart. Don't go into the book expecting warm and fuzzy emotions and tears. Go in expecting to be offended and disgusted - but don't let those emotions overwhelm you because no matter how offensive the teens are in this book, just like the teens you will, no doubt come into contact with, they have something else buried deep in side of them just crying out to be heard.
I liked the book because, even though at times I scoffed at the character's immaturity, that's what happens when you're a teenager--you're immature and you do stupid things. Plus, there wouldn't really be a story if the character never did anything stupid, right? I was really surprised at how well-written the book was at times. Although not a deep book, it was hilarious, and the writing swept me into Jasper's world and left me nostalgic for my own risk-taking adolescence. However, near the end the writing seemed almost sloppy and choppy, like the author was trying quickly to get the book finished. I didn't like that abrupt change of pace--that's really my only complaint
I found it very interesting and I personally could not put it down.