VOYA-Starred Review April 2007
Beaudoin, Sean. Going Nowhere Fast. Little, Brown, 2007. 224p. $16.99. 978-0-316-01415-1.
Years ago, Stan Smith won a chess championship. With an IQ of 165, he seemed destined for a life of greatness. Now seventeen, Stan works at a video store, deals with his extremely eccentric parents, and tries to avoid being beaten up by Chad Tilton, the local bully. Comfortable but hiding a feeling that he is wasting his potential and with a lifetime of disappointment expressed in sarcasm, he spends his free time writing screen treatments. When Chad 's ex-girlfriend Ellen begins to show and interest in Stan, he must decide whether he is ready to move out of his cocoon and risk trying to achieve his potential.
Writing in first person, Beaudoin expertly captures the adolescent who has always been told that he is special but must now come to grips with the fact that potential does not equal greatness. Beaudoin's breezy, conversational style quickly invites the reader to see the world through Stan's jaded, hypercritical eyes. Alternately hilarious and poignant, the novel is over far too soon. The characters are well drawn, and their eccentricities seem to arise naturally out of the character and not artificially from the author's council. Written with short paragraphs, lots of dialogue, and many lists, the book will appeal to many levels of readers. Although it might require some initial pushing, once the novel begins being circulated, word of mouth will make it a favorite.- Steven Kral.