The Children’s Book Review | September 20, 2018
The Children’s Book Review: Which five words best describe Stu Truly?
Dan Richards: Funny, Awkward, Middle School, Crush
If you had to take a vacation with one of the characters from Stu Truly, who would it be? Why?
Stu is the main character in the story, but I think it’s his best friend Ben that I’d want to take on vacation. Stu would probably have a near death experience boogie boarding in ankle deep water. Ben would most likely win an impromptu surfing contest even though he’d never been on a surfboard before.
What has been the best reaction from a reader, so far?
A sixth-grade teacher in Arizona looked me up on Facebook just so he could tell me how much he LOVED the book. He’s now reading it to a group of 50 sixth graders at his school. And a Skype visit is in the works.
What’s on your nightstand? Any books?
Recently finished The Train of Lost Things (loved it!) by Ammi-Joan Paquette. I’m just finishing Fast Backward (loving it!) by my good friend David Patneaude. And looking forward to starting Serafina and the Black Cloak (pretty sure I’m going to love it) by Robert Beatty.
For your writing energy: sugar or salt, tea or coffee?
Dark chocolate and Diet Pepsi (never together). Dark chocolate makes me feel dangerous. Diet Pepsi makes me feel like a passive middle aged guy who drinks diet colas. I probably should stick to the dark chocolate.
Writing tools: computer, pen and paper, or all of the above?
I like to keep pen and paper nearby to feel old school. But my handwriting is SO bad I can’t actually use either. The computer, with spell check enabled, is my truest writing friend.
Can you tell us one more thing we may not know about Stu Truly, your writing style, or yourself?
The novel takes place in the little town of Sequim, WA where I grew up, which really does have an Irrigation Festival Parade every year (I did not make that up). The characters were greatly influenced by my son and his friends who were in seventh grade at the time I wrote the first draft. Everything else is my own and I have no plans to reveal how much, if any, is biographical.
Written by Dan Richards
Publisher’s Synopsis: Stu Truly is the coming-of-age story of 12-year-old Stu as he struggles to navigate the murky waters of adolescence when he finds himself living a lie-that seems to be growing beyond his control-to impress the new girl in school.
When Stuart Cornelius Truly first sets eyes on the new girl, Becca, he staples his finger to his seventh-grade history assignment. The second time he sees her, he coughs up a bite of her lunch—a vegetarian roasted pepper sandwich—all over her sweater, and promptly lies, claiming that he, too, is a vegetarian. Their third encounter goes more smoothly, but Stu’s lie turns out to be harder to keep than he expected, especially since his family owns a butcher shop.
In this hilarious, heartwarming, contemporary middle grade novel, Stu suddenly begins to realize the opposite sex exists (and isn’t so bad, after all!). Can Stu learn to successfully navigate old friends, new crushes, and horror-filled school dances, or will his lie, intended to impress his crush, actually cause his world to fall apart?
Ages 8-12 | Publisher: Yellow Jacket | July 3, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-1499806465
About the Author
Dan Richards grew up in a small town eating meat, avoiding vegetables, and cheering at the annual Irrigation Festival parade. He’s a graduate of the University of Washington’s Writing For Children Program, where he wrote his first picture book, The Problem with NOT Being Scared of Monsters. Stu Truly is Dan’s debut novel. He lives with his family in Bothell, Washington. You can learn more about him at DanRichardsBooks.com.
This speed interview with Dan Richards, author of Stu Truly, was conducted by Bianca Schulze. For similar books and articles, follow along with our content tagged with Adolescence, Coming Of Age, Humorous Books, Middle Grade Books, and Speed Interview.