I recently reread this book after discovering that Ron Koertge had just released a sequel called Now Playing: Stoner & Spaz II. Since Stoner & Spaz first came out in 2002, I knew I’d have to reread it before tackling the sequel.

Stoner & Spaz tells the story of sixteen-year-old Ben Bancroft, a loner with cerebral palsy who lives with his grandmother and finds solace losing himself in movies. During one of his frequent trips to a quirky movie theater that specializes in classics like Bride of Frankenstein, he runs into Colleen Minou, a beautiful and charismatic stoner. Her initial interest in Ben seems to stem from her altered state at the time, but the two soon form a friendship that, much to the surprise of everyone at their school, sometimes even seems like something more.

Yes, I know the opposites attract theme has been played to death, but Stoner & Spaz truly is worth checking out. Spurred on by Colleen and an arty neighbor named Marcie, Ben slowly comes out of his shell and progresses from watching movies incessantly to making a documentary about the students at his high school. Colleen’s progress stops and starts as she seems to know that she should ditch Ed, her drug dealer boyfriend, but seems less sure about what to do next. I enjoyed Stoner & Spaz immensely both of the times I read it and hope the sequel will be as good if not better.

John

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