This book was an emotional ride. I LOVED it, from start to finish. Ozzy was an enthralling character and I couldn’t stop reading. I empathised with him through every page.
Seventeen-year-old Ozzy has a super-hot girlfriend who’s ready to take their relationship to the next level. Tonight. At the lake.
But a missing condom scuttles his plans for seduction. Furious, Ozzy takes his girlfriend home and drives off—into the path of an oncoming truck. He wakes up with both legs amputated above the knees.
When his girlfriend runs out gagging after one look at him, Ozzy knows he’s a hideous freak. He’s convinced he’s blown any chance of having a real relationship with a girl.
Determined to prove he can still be a man despite his disability, Ozzy throws himself into dumping his virginity, but finds there’s a limited number of people willing to touch legless dudes in wheelchairs. His obsession takes him into an underworld of brothels and escort services where he discovers the difference between sex and intimacy, and that sometimes the price is much higher than a sex worker’s fee.
14+ due to sexuality, language, and adult situations
Mom didn’t lie. She’s still there when I wake up. I turn my head and find her in the chair, chin slumped to her shoulder, mouth open as she sleeps. She looks old. Why have I never noticed? My mouth is dry again and I search around for the water. Ah, there it is. A whole jug of it, sitting next to the plastic cup with the kiddie straw in it. It’s right beside the bed, on some sort of low cabinet. I can reach it. At least, if I can make my body move, I can.
I’m not as foggy as I was the last time I woke up, so I’m confident I can do this simple chore. But first I need to sit up. I press my hands into the mattress and push myself upward. Sharp pain slices through my legs. I suck in air, gritting my teeth against it as I flop back into the pillows. Okay, so maybe sitting up isn’t going to be the piece of cake I thought. I guess I busted my legs in the crash.
I remember it now. The light, the car skidding out of control, the voices and confused thoughts. I crashed the car. That’s why I’m here. I wonder if the car’s redeemable at all. It’s a piece of crap, but it’s my piece of crap. I might insult it several times a day, but I love it. I hope it’s not wrecked beyond repair.
My eyes creep toward the water again. I’m so thirsty. I have to have a drink. It’s so close. All I need to do is reach out and shake Mom’s knee and I’m sure she’ll hand me the cup, but she looks so exhausted. I should let her sleep.
Steeling myself for the pain, I try rolling onto my side. It hurts like hell, but I manage it. Various tubes and wires connected to me tug at my skin, but I ignore it. Yeah! Chalk one up for Ozzy. What a hero, he can roll over in bed. From there, I try pushing myself up with my arms and into a sitting position. I gasp at the glassy pain, but this time I don’t give up. I wind up on my butt. From there I’m pretty sure I can lean over and reach the water. I fix my eyes on the prize, measuring the distance. It’s not far. I can do this. Stretching out my arm, I reach for it. When my fingers close around the cup, I feel an absurd sense of accomplishment. I sit back, clutching the cup, surprised to discover I’m breathing heavily. Damn, I must be out of shape. Already. I’m going to have to get back into the pool as soon as I can. Otherwise I have no shot at Nationals.
I drink deeply, gulping down the cool water. I’ve never known water to taste this good. This is what it must be like for people who get lost in the desert when they’re found. When the cup is empty, I let it drop. It bounces across the bed. I expect it to stop, its progress to be barricaded by my legs, but it keeps going, rolling to the opposite side and tumbling from the edge.
What the fuck?
I sit up straighter and stare down the length of the bed, seeing the way the sheets and blanket lie flat against the mattress, undisturbed by the mounds of my legs and feet. I stare at the smooth bedclothes. I don’t get it. What is going on here? I’m dreaming. That’s got to be it. This is some full-on fucking nightmare and I’ll wake up soon. But I don’t feel like I’m dreaming.
Where are my legs?
4.5 stars. The hero’s voice in “Stumped”, by Kate Larkindale (Evernight Teen), is the most enthralling element of the story, raw, honest, both snarky and innocent, capturing the myriad of emotions, changes and challenges Ozzy goes through as a seventeen-year-old suddenly so dramatically different. The author managed to transmit all the pain, despair, resilience, stubbornness and incredible sense of humor of Ozzy. And still portray him as a very normal seventeen-year-old boy, full of testosterone. I loved how in this journey we get to watch Ozzy dealing with very serious physical and mental health issues, even matters of life or death, yet the story is still a celebration of life, friendship, love between siblings and a mother’s infinite love and compassion. Ozzy’s journey is hard, gritty, sad, but like Phoenix he rises from the ashes stronger and smarter. He’s a tough kid, a fighter, who learns to adjust his dreams and expectations to a new reality. The representation of a competitive, driven adolescence dealing with a dramatically changed body is top-notch. Having Ozzy’s exclusive point of view is wonderful, it feels very real and believable, his thoughts and feelings matching the mind and soul of a seventeen-year-old. I liked the dialogue and the interactions, Ozzy’s sarcastic considerations and self-deprecating humor, when facing hardships and experiencing mortification. He’s his harshest critic, but even in the depths of despair there’s always the humor and no mushy feelings are involved. Ozzy’s loss of virginity quest is filled with both fun and heartbreaking episodes. I found the changes in the hero’s social life after the accident, with so many people disappearing from his circle, too cruel and hard to understand.
The only thing more troublesome to Ozzy than losing his legs is how many times he’s tried and failed to lose his virginity. Ozzy’s character development was fantastic. His sarcastic response to his accident was funny, but it was also completely believable. He’d suffered a huge loss at a time when he wasn’t at all emotionally prepared to deal with the his disability or how his life was going to change now that he had two amputated limbs. While he definitely had his fair share of flaws, I soon came to love Ozzy’s boldly honest and complex personality. My only criticism has to do with the descriptions of the many secondary characters that were introduced during the course of the plot. I got to know Ozzy’s mom and siblings pretty well, but there were so many other people who moved in and out of his life that it was hard at times to remember who everyone was, how they were connected to him, and what they looked like. Had there been a smaller cast, I would have chosen a much higher rating for this tale as I loved everything else about it. As I hinted at earlier in this review, this story was quite humorous. It dealt with so many difficult topics that the last thing I ever expected to do while I was reading it was to start laughing. I was pleasantly surprised the first time it made me chuckle, and I was even happier when this trend continued up until the very last scene. Stumped was a hilarious and thought-provoking book that I’d recommend to anyone who has ever dealt with serious medical problems or wondered what it would be like to go through that sort of experience.
absolutely loved this book. It's an amazing story about a boy and the struggles every normal teenager goes through but with a twist. It was wonderful, I could feel for the main character, I felt his heartbreak, his joy, his anger, his pain. I loved it. (I volunteered to read an ARC copy of this book.)
It was a sweet YA read. It has sexual issues, problems that arise with disability, and run of the mill friendship and family issues as well. I found myself getting lost in Larkindale's world and I was truly excited to read about it! I received a copy of this book and am voluntarily reviewing.
I've always felt bad for disabled teens. I don't know who's more courageous out of all the characters, but you end up loving them all. Ozzie starts out a popular, athletic horny teenager in love. Lainie his current girlfriend true colors show up soon after a tragic accident and there not pretty. Ozzie not only matures but shows he is real hero. Enter Melissa battling cancer and falling for Ozzie. Who's also falling for her. An awesome young adult read. I received this as a Advanced Reader Copy.
i got an arc and i want to review he was going to have a great night with his girl and he forgot his protection so he stormed off. the next thing he knew he woke up without his legs. when his girl friend appears. she cries in horror before running out. a well written story about loss and how to overcome it
A finely written story of great loss and the valiant journey coming back with the help of a good hearted imperfect family (like we may be blessed with) and the gift of unexpected friends. Five stars totally earned
I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book. this book was pretty awesome, I loved the characters and the story line, I am looking forward to reading more from this author
This story is a sweet love story. When things don't go as planned, obstacles have to be over come. This is an amazing story that leads the reader through the struggles of overcoming obstacle to reach his goal and the love of his life. You may want a box of tissues as you follow this journey. I was given a free ARC and have voluntarily chose to review this book.
An immersive easy read. I really enjoyed it. I voluntarily read an adv. reading copy
This story is so touching and well written you can't help but get swept up. You just feel for Ozzy at every turn. You can't help but want to see him change and grow with every new struggle he goes through. I hate that this story had to end and it is definitely something I would read again.
A tragic accident leaves Ozzy, a hormonal teenager, with the loss of both of his legs. This story is about his journey coming to terms with living with a disability, losing his virginity, and being a teen. I truly enjoyed everything about this book. It was well written, fast paced, full of warmth, funny moments, and depth in all of Ozzy's personal relationships. And, because it's told from a teen boy's perspective, there are plenty of raunchy behaviors for boys to relate to.
... I think that's the main message of this book. If such a tragedy hits you like 16year-old Ozzy, you first think of the opposite. As I broke my foot at the end of summer - which is nothing compared with what our main character has to deal with - it was weird how every simple thing needed much more effort than usual. So managing your life again as an amputée needs a lot of training and diszipline and support from your family and we will see how and if Ozzy will succeed. This touching story about disabiliy was very well written and had also interesting secondary characters. I can warmly recommend this novel from Kate Larkindale. I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
What would you do if at the most pivotal time in your life, when you're at the edge of finding out what sex is and growing more into manhood as most boys to men see it, you instead lose your legs? Your super-hot girlfriend? And your view of the world around you? Well, if you're Ozzy, you lash out. You curse. You act like a real teenage boy who feels like nothing is ever going to be the same again. Because you know what, it's not. In Stumped, Ms. Larkingdale provides a richly populated and emotionally charged journey to uncover just what Ozzy does and who he does it with. And in his journey, Ozzy is not a sappy cut-out designed to gloss over all the darkness of such a life-changing event, nor is he a permanently broken guy who will never find his way. Instead, we meet a real almost man, who finds out that humanity has quite a number of different views from which to grow up. I highly recommend this emotionally-resonant work and its "stumped" main character. Sometimes being mixed up is the beginning of something quite interesting.
I received an arc of this book for an honest review I enjoyed this book even though the subject matter is quite sad. This book is very humbling and a quick read! Ozzy is just 17 when he has a tragic car accident that leaves him a double amputee. Naturally his girlfriend at the time now rejects him and can’t face him in this condition. Feeling like a freak and feeling like he will never have a girlfriend again or even die a virgin he is feeling pretty down on life Wanting to prove he can still become a man and with the encouragement of his family he begins group therapy and becomes obsessed with losing his virginity . He meets a cancer ridden girl named Melinda who he befriends and they quickly decide that they don’t want to die virgins so they start to see each other in hopes of having sex. Unfortunately things go wrong and the deed doesn’t happen. Totally pent up on sexual frustration Ozzy goes to a brothel for sex but alas that doesn’t work out either. This book has a lot of heartfelt tender moments but also some comedy and it keeps your interest .
I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book. The story is a heartbreaking read and is is very touching for the reader. It shows a perspective into the life of someone who lost the ability to walk. The characters brought the story to life for a good read.
Comical read about Ozzy. A 17-year-old boy trying to lose his virginity. He has the hot girlfriend and the romantic setting. He just forgot the condoms, but that night changes everything. I don't mean his girlfriend got pregnant. Ow no, it's far worse at least in Ozzy's eyes. He's in an RTA and loses his legs. He's lucky to be alive, but he doesn't see it like that. Ozzy is still a virgin and legless. His girlfriend is too materialistic, and can't cope with the changes. He's feeling sorry for himself and determined to have sex, whatever the cost. His adventure is crazy and people are mean. He has lost a sense of reality. He's forgotten that a random hook up has no loyalty or feelings to his situation. Along the way, he makes some friends and try's to find his place in his new world. I think this book is supposed to be light-hearted about a dark topic. Ozzy feels different after he loses his legs, but the same rules apply. You find love and friendship through mutual understanding. It doesn't happen overnight. It's a sad story, but with crude language, and dark humour. I enjoyed this book and couldn't put it down. I just wish it had been longer. This story had a lot of potentials that wasn't explored. The characters are interesting. The story kind of reminds me of American Pie but with the added element of disability. The ending is sad, but it wasn't the kind of book to make you cry. 4 stars out of 5. *I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review via Hidden Gems*
As a person who works with students who have a variety of disabilities, I am happy to report that Ms. Larkindale did a wonderful job with this topic. She not only captures the language and emotions of adolescents, but also the heartbreak and difficulty of being a teen with a disability or terminal illness. The main character in this story, Ozzy, isn't a great kid - he won't melt your heart with his insight and strength and willingness to "make the best" of his situation. That's precisely what I liked about this story! He is a real teenage boy. So preoccupied with sex and his body that he can't see the blessings in front of him such as his friends and family. It is very interesting to read his evolution and understanding about what it means to live with a disability. The secondary characters of his family, the sex workers and friends in group are also well written, though I think she could have spent more time developing Miranda. Overall, a very good read and a GREAT addition to the YA genre. Highly recommend!
I typically don't read this genre, but I'm really glad I gave this book a try. After a tragic accident left Ozzy unable to walk and his girlfriend unable to stand to look at him, he decides to go on an adventure and finds new friends along the way. It's a book that really touches you. *I received an ARC of this book and voluntarily chose to review it.
This book was so heartbreaking but put so much into perspective on the life of a person who has lost the ability to walk. Just the writing alone was so touching and not easily forgotten. The characters brought the book to life and made for an extremely great story. I received an arc and this is my unbiased opinion.