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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Authentic, shocking & funny
This is the story of Jasper, a quirky, egotistical, frequently frustrated and even more frequently funny seventeen-year-old. He's by turns capricious, irritating, charming, scheming and even sweet. The author's 19, which shouldn't be relevant, I know, but somehow is, because this all feels horribly, but enticingly real, like you've actually opened up someone's diary and...
Published on 9 July 2011 by EMLYN REES

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great writer but not for the easily offended
If you want to read about a normal teenage English boy, then this is the book for you. Our protagonist Jasper is a seventeen year old boy. He's typically self-absorbed. He can be quite a charmer and quite thoughtful but most of the time he's just irritating. Still, the author makes you want to continue reading about him. Jasper is always avoiding studying and looking for...
Published 12 months ago by Chrissi Read


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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Authentic, shocking & funny, 9 July 2011
By 
EMLYN REES (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Grow Up (Paperback)
This is the story of Jasper, a quirky, egotistical, frequently frustrated and even more frequently funny seventeen-year-old. He's by turns capricious, irritating, charming, scheming and even sweet. The author's 19, which shouldn't be relevant, I know, but somehow is, because this all feels horribly, but enticingly real, like you've actually opened up someone's diary and are in on every hope and fear going through their head. It's like a punked up version of Joe Dunthorne's SUBMARINE. And smacks of the kind of authenticity Skins would kill for. Looking forward to seeing what Brooks comes up with next. Something exciting and unexpected, I should think.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great writer but not for the easily offended, 27 Aug 2013
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This review is from: Grow Up (Paperback)
If you want to read about a normal teenage English boy, then this is the book for you. Our protagonist Jasper is a seventeen year old boy. He's typically self-absorbed. He can be quite a charmer and quite thoughtful but most of the time he's just irritating. Still, the author makes you want to continue reading about him. Jasper is always avoiding studying and looking for sex, drugs, drink and cigarettes. Some of the storyline is completely over the top, but I guess that's realistic for a teenager. The author was a teenager when he was writing the book, so it does feel quite authentic and Jasper feels like a character that teenagers could relate to.

I think if you're going to read this book, you definitely need to keep an open mind. It could easily offend a lot of people with its subject matter.

Ben Brooks is a talented writer, so I think he's definitely one to look out for!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Misadventures of an Annoying English Teenager, 22 April 2012
By 
A. Ross (Washington, DC) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Grow Up (Paperback)
If you want a window into the world of contemporary suburban middle-class English teenage life, this is the book for you. It's narrated by Jasper, a seventeen-year-old boy with all the characteristics of many of his ilk: self-absorbed, sometimes thoughtful, sometimes charming, often irritating, generally scheming to avoid studying and on the lookout for maximum sex, drugs, booze, and good times with his friends. Although the book is sometimes quite winning and amusing, Jasper's narration can also veer unevenly between bursts of insight and unbelievable idiocy. One subplot involves his belief that his mother's live-in boyfriend murdered his ex-wife, and his pseudo investigation in an attempt to bring evidence to light. It just comes across as ridiculous that even someone as flighty as Jasper would wander as far down that road of self-delusion as he does. And that detracts from the general realism of the rest of the book, which is quite good at depicting bored teenagers killing time with drinks, bad TV, video games, sex, and the like. It's not salacious or sensationalistic in any sense, just matter of fact in a way that only a writer confident of their subject matter can pull off. (The author was a teenager when writing the book, hence the ring of authenticity). Still, despite the relatively strong portrayal of that milieu, I never found the misadventures of an annoying teenage guy all that compelling, especially as some of his treatment of other people (especially girls) is downright awful. I guess that's the reality of teenage guys, but it's not a reality I needed to spend more time with.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars If Jasper Wolf were my son I would castrate him, 7 Nov 2013
This review is from: Grow Up (Paperback)
Is this book badly written? Not especially. Is it written in a readable style? Definitely. It is a bit like 'Submarine', but nowhere near as good.

I read it all, hoping it would get better, but it actually got worse.

The problem is that Jasper knows how badly he has behaved on numerous occasions, but does not care.

He sexually uses girls (who of course when he is compos mentis he doesn't want anything to do with), writes about rape, time wastes on sexsites where SE Asian women are desperate for the cash (which he does not spend) kills a cat, and drugs and rapes a girl he fancies (he knows that otherwise she will not look at him) - which we are all meant to find OK because his female friend (with whom he had sex in the same hour as the drug rape) tells him that it wasn't rape.

And all this is apparently funny!

I have a 17yo son. I have led a pretty wild life and in no way am a conventional parent, but I really hated this book because it is a litany of abuse of women and girls. I would like to recommend a contemporary book to my son (not that he ever reads!) but I could not recommend this.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars DO YOU WANT NU-RAVE OR DO YOU WANT THE TRUTH?, 9 July 2011
By 
Giles Ruffer - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Grow Up (Paperback)
Canongate seem to have a knack for publishing funny, intelligent, slightly hip novels - see 'Naive.Super' and 'The Bird Room', for example - and 'Grow Up' is definitely a continuation in this tradition.

It's hard for any aspiring writer not to be jealous of Ben Brooks' credentials. He hasn't even reached his twentieth birthday and he has four books in print as well as a pushcart prize nomination to his name. But, as Raymond Carver wrote, "Ambition and a little luck are good things for a writer to have going for him. Too much ambition and bad luck, or no luck at all, can be killing. There has to be talent." And Brooks certainly has talent.

Brooks had an early start managing to make a name for himself with his unique experimental fiction, which often had more in common with poetry than straight-up prose. He released three books in print on small presses in America and also saw his shorter work published in some reputable online journals. But 'Grow Up' sees a departure from this earlier style, producing a more accessible form. While still retaining the vivid sense in which Brooks' paints his world he also manages to bring forth a comic voice. In fact, it has been a long time since I have laughed so much while reading a novel.

It has been said that 'Grow Up' is "full of sex and drugs", but, while many movies, TV shows and novels use sex and drugs as something to make their products "edgy" in an attempt to reach their "target audience", you can't help but feel that the sex and drugs within 'Grow Up' are a report from a lived experience, not included to make the book sell more copies or anything cynical like that but to give a realistic account of what life is like for teenagers, or at least Ben Brooks, growing up in the 21st century suburban England. Brooks writes, with honesty and tenderness, his unique way of how he sees the world. To refer back to the Carver essay that I quoted at the beginning of this review, "Some writers have a bunch of talent; I don't know any who are without it. But a unique and exact way of looking at things, and finding the right context for expressing that way of looking, that's something else."
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 8 May 2014
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This review is from: Grow Up (Kindle Edition)
This book was a brilliant read, both amusing and captivating. It strongly reminded me of Joe Dunthorne's Submarine. I would recommend this book to anyone, it was absorbing and captivating.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Funny as @$&@, 8 April 2014
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This review is from: Grow Up (Kindle Edition)
Funny, politically incorrect and at times touching.
The life and times of a modern teenager. Grow Up is a great book.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Nothing Ever Really Happened, 3 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Grow Up (Kindle Edition)
It was a bit of a let down really. The plot was weak at best and nothing really ever happened. It was funny at times but it wasn't a work of art.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing book, 12 Dec 2013
This review is from: Grow Up (Kindle Edition)
I love this book. I bought the kindle edition and read it on my app on my iPhone and its one of the best books I've ever read. Its funny, witty and full of hysterical one liners as well as some great meaningful quotes. I recommend 100%. Loved it!
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2.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down, 9 Nov 2013
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This review is from: Grow Up (Paperback)
Best book I've read in ages! I took it on holiday and was only there for a few days and finished it. It gave me a good insight into how teenagers think, maybe I will be able to read my own teenager better!! Really funny and brilliant writing from a guy who is only 21.
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Grow Up
Grow Up by Ben Brooks
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