Author Guest Post and Review: Nothing Special by Geoff Herbach


I am always woefully unprepared when I hit the road.  Generally I gain a lot of weight from eating truck stop crap and also have to buy supplies along the way, because I’m not a good planner.  So, if I were to think about it ahead of time, rather than taking off half-cocked, these are the ten items I would make sure I had: 

  1. A cooler for my beer.  Just kidding.  I’d bring a cooler for yogurt and health drinks and for lettuce.  I’d also bring some almonds for heart health and some delicious fruit to tide me over until I can hit the next organic co-op along the way.
  2. Stretchy pants.  After agonizing over how much I don’t like vegetables, I will need to have stretchy pants, because I will likely freak out after a day, and then I’ll eat pizza and sub sandwiches and many bacon cheeseburgers.  If I’m in the south, I will eat cheese grits.  My jeans will burst and I’ll need stretchy pants.
  3. A harmonica.  I’ll use this when I’m singing the fat man blues.
  4. Several phone chargers.  I spill coffee on everything electronic when I’m road tripping.  Phone chargers fizzle fast.  I’ll likely need a new phone or two, but that’s a risk I’ll take (won’t buy in advance, due to expense).
  5. A paper map.  Electronics die when you spill coffee.  Paper just looks gross.  You can still read a map through coffee stains.
  6. A Frisbee.  My muscles get all knotted up.  Nothing feels better than chasing a Frisbee through the winds of some foreign place (if my heart can take it after all the bacon).
  7. Mad libs.  These are funny for three minutes.  The best three minutes of your trip will be spent creating a dirty mad lib.
  8. A friend or two.  My friend Sam and I went on a two-month book tour a few years ago.  We took lots of hilarious pictures in crazy places – like at crazy Niagra Falls – which made the trip seem fun! 
  9. Underpants.  Remember, you will want a change of underpants at some point.
  10.  A notebook.  The truth about road trips is that much time is spent suffering, confused, wishing you were home.  I love that.  I would rather suffer than be bored.  You get to know yourself when you’re uncomfortable.  Bring a notebook so you can keep track of your beautiful monkey thoughts.


That sounds about right.


Nothing SpecialNothing Special by Geoff Herbach

  • ISBN-13: 9781402265075
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/1/2012
  • Pages: 304


Hey Aleah,
I miss you. Because there’s some serious donkey crap going on right now. I’m supposed to be at football camp, but noooo … Andrew had to go missing! So because of my stupid little brother, I’ll probably lose my chance at a scholarship and end up being nothing special.

I’m pretty sure Andrew ran away to Florida, and now Gus and I have to drive cross-country to get him. Did you know Gus used to think Miss Piggy was hot? Anyway, Andrew once told me I needed to get my head out of my butt. So that’s what I’m trying to do. How about a kiss for luck?

My thoughts:

Geoff Herbach brings another very uniquely written book to the table with Nothing Special.  I have never read a book written in the manner that this is.  Written in letter style reflecting on both current events and looking back further to explain the background of what is currently happening.  Nothing Special starts at the beginning of Felton’s second football season the following year from Stupid Fast.  Felton is being scouted by colleges and his younger brother is acting very odd.  That is if odd is the right word.  There were many changes in life for all of the family and it has affected all of the relationships even down to Felton’s relationship with his best friend.  Felton’s younger brother, Andrew, makes a pitch to Jerri, their mom, to attend an orchestra camp and leaves for the summer. Gus, Felton’s ex-best friend,  finds out that Andrew did not go to this camp but ran away.  At the same time, Felton has been getting very odd emails and think that it is Gus being a jerk.  Anyhow, Gus knows that something is wrong and wants to help Felton find his brother and sort things out.  The boys start out on a massive road trip, lying to both parents that they are headed to the University of Michigan for college visits.  What Felton finds in Florida, is a family he never really knew about and this Grandfather who is very angry with his dead father.  This whole experience is very eye opening for Felton and he learns a lot about himself along the way.

It took me a while to get used to the style of writing in this book.  A letter form was very different, kind of like a journal but not really.  I did find that this was easier to read that Stupid Fast mostly because I knew what to expect of the language and attitudes of the characters.  I still enjoyed the male point of view but did feel that Nothing Special was a much more mature book that handled topics that seemed much more real and important.  It was not as full of fluff but more about dealing with feelings both expected and unexpected.  I also felt that the language used was more mature and better written.  

While not my favorite read, I did enjoy the story and believe that most young male readers would be drawn to the story.  I am pleased to see a second book in this series since there are so few books that have male main characters that teen boys would pick up and read.  I hope that that these books encourage more books to be written from this perspective.

My Rating: