Tuesday, May 17, 2011

SPINNING OUT by David Stahler Jr.

Don Quixote and modern-day wind turbines combine as author David Stahler Jr. spins his latest tale.  Two friends, usually wandering on the fringes of high school society, are suddenly thrust into the limelight. 

Frenchy and his quirky friend Stewart spend most of their time figuring out how to get high.  Fortunately, Frenchy's mother's loser boyfriend is a reliable source of some decent pot and is cool about not letting Frenchy's mother know.  A typical day in the lives of Frenchy and Stewart involves heading out to the woods to smoke some weed and then heading off to school where they are known as class clowns.

When Stewart proposes the idea of trying out for the school musical, Man of La Mancha, Frenchy is sure he's kidding.  Their high school is known for amazing musical productions, and Frenchy can't believe Stewart has serious intentions of really becoming involved.  It takes a while, but Stewart finally convinces Frenchy he isn't trying out because he wants to sabotage the play.  He actually wants to try out for the lead role, Don Quixote.

In some odd twist of fate, the two friends display some awesome talent and score the two leads in the play.  Frenchy plays Sancho, Don Quixote's sidekick, and he discovers that acting can be an incredible "high."  However, as rehearsals get underway, Frenchy notices that Stewart is taking his part way too seriously.  He begins showing up in full costume long before dress rehearsal, and he even begins wearing it to school and insisting that Frenchy refer to him as Don.

In a strange Quixote-like coincidence Stewart is angry about a group of controversial wind turbines perched on a ridge above town.  As his character begins to take over, his desire to see that the turbines are destroyed intensifies to the point that Frenchy realizes his friend is spinning out of control.

SPINNING OUT shows friendship at its best and at its worst.  The desire to be there for his friend nearly ends Frenchy's relationship with Stewart.  He learns that wanting to help doesn't always end with the best results.


David said...

Hi, Reading Junky

Thanks for taking the time to read and present my book to your fans. As a writer and fellow teacher, I appreciate the hard work you do bringing attention to YA literature!

My only quibble might be that Stewart's hatred of the turbines is actually explained early on--like many in the town, he and his parents resent the turbines, seeing them as eyesores that have marred the natural landscape of the area and caused lasting environmental damage to the ridgeline on which they've been installed.

The use of wind turbines is a very controversial issue in my neck of the woods (Northern Vermont) and it seemed like a natural way to connect to the other issues in the book, particularly in the context of the Don Quixote story.

Thanks again for taking the time!

David Stahler Jr.

Readingjunky said...

Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting.

I was actually fascinated with the issue of the wind turbines. Personally, I think they are awesome, but then I don't have any in my backyard. There is a plan being discussed to build some about 20 miles from where I live, and it is causing quite a stir.

I did understand why he was upset and will edit that part of the review. For some odd reason I always find it difficult to write reviews of books I really liked. Must be some fear of including too much and spoiling things for the reader.

Once again thanks for commenting.


David said...

Thanks, RJ. It is tricky to strike the right balance between being thorough and not giving too much away.

Keep up the great work!