Review Spud by John van de Ruit

My dream is to find another book like Spud.

I could never.

It’s incredibly funny, the characters are well-developed, it’s not cliché at all, and you simply can’t stop reading. It was so relatable to me, his family is well constructed, and the school’s adventures are simply delicious. It’s a Young Adult Comedy, not fantasy, which is generally what I read, however, this is nevertheless incredible.

This is what the cover says:

And this is the front:

I find this cover so cute. It’s simple yet captivating. I was immediately bought by it.

Amazon’s description is not the best:

“JOHN SPUD MILTON takes his first hilarious steps toward manhood in this delicious, laugh-out-loud boarding school romp, full of midnight swims, raging hormones, and catastrophic holidays that will leave the entire family in hysterics and thirsty for more!”

However, you do have to give this book a chance if you love comedy, especially if you’re addicted to boarding schools like me.

Review Spud, General Opinion:


5 stars

From the first page onwards, I couldn’t stop laughing. I felt how nervous Spud, or still, John, was when he left for his new boarding school in South Africa. Then, we walk through the first days remembering our own school days. The embarrassment, the peer pressure, all the fun. It was all there, in a very relatable way. Everybody gets nicknames. I think it will be even more relatable if you are a boy. As a girl, I can only find it funny and imagine how different it is. But, if you’re boy, you might have gone through the same… the showers after sports, the first teenager parties.

I loved it all. There was only one detailed that I didn’t like, but now, let’s focus:

Main Character

John Milton, or Spud, as he is known in the school.

He is a typical 13-years-old boy WITHOUT the need of the author to say “he was a regular, normal teenage boy until…”

I HATE when authors do this. This just makes the character look bland and stupid EVEN BEFORE you start reading the book. Thanks, God, this is only an example. This definitely doesn’t happen here.

Spud is kind of shy, but he also blends in very well in the crowd of boys. He is put together with seven other crazy kids and, together, they are known as the Crazy Eight. They start exploring the school and testing boundaries. Spud is not the leader, nor he is the bullied kid. He is normal! Like us all! He is not the most popular kid but he is neither that ridiculously weak kid.

This is very hard to achieve in school books. The main character always seems to fall into one of the two extremes. The super popular jock or the stupid bullied nerd without friends.

Spud is well-constructed, he is 100% real, and he is so funny. His comments are to die for. The scenes will make you laugh-out-loud. And in the movie, he’s played by Troye Sivan. What’s not to love?

Other Characters

The other characters are almost better than Spud. All Crazy Eight has their own defined personalities, but without falling into a ridiculous stereotype. They are friends but Spud is not that much of a popular kid. He is friends with everyone, but he has one very good friend. I was like this in school too, so I really identify with him.

The teachers are also funny, crazy, and great.

The bullies had an existence of their own, they don’t just exist to bother the main character. THIS IS ALSO SO RARE IN SCHOOL BOOKS! I HATE when the bully is only there to bother the character. In here it’s not the case.

Mad Dog is my favorite character. He is so funny and well-developed for a secondary character.

Romance Interest

You guys know my opinion on romance.

I found it kind of forced and not necessary.

He is in love with his neighbor but he goes to a boarding school. Therefore, he only sees her when he is on vacations or by the phone. Thank God. This could have ruined the book. Her nickname is Mermaid and I think it looks really the way that he dreams about her all day when he is at school. The way he is insecure because all the other boys seem more experienced than he is. I also felt like this. However, when Mermaid does appear, she is poorly developed. She appears to exist only to be the romance interest. She has no real personality and it is really bad. However, the book is in first person point of view, so it goes as far as Spud’s comprehension can go.

It’s realistic but I do wish that it didn’t exist in the book. All parts with Mermaid are boring in my opinion.

The Adventures

There are plenty of adventures in this book as far as a school goes. They break the rules, they get in real trouble thanks to that, and it very, very funny. You want to see they breaking the rules and it makes you want to be there with them (until the punishment, which I wouldn’t like). It also enhances the characters relations besides showing how the school world works.

I liked it all. It’s a diary, so it covers a lot of his life, in a lot of different aspects. I didn’t like very much the rugby part since I don’t understand rugby. I also didn’t like the theatre very much, but this is mainly for Spud’s since he wants to be an actor after school. However, the rest is all great.

The ending

No spoiler, however, I do think that it happened an extremely unnecessary thing in the end.

It left me saying: WHYYYYYY???

This wasn’t supposed to be in a book like this.

I won’t say what happened. You’ll have to read it.

For the rest, the school year is over, he is on vacations, and you are saying: COME ON, WHERE IS BOOK 2?

I bought book 2 right away while I started 1 all over again.

I mean it, I’ve read it like 10 times.

Review Spud, Final Opinion

This is one of the best books I’ve ever read.

I WIIIISH I could know other boarding school books like this… funny, light-hearted, well-developed characters, including teachers and bullies.

Since I couldn’t find any, I wrote my own book that is about a boarding school (but fantasy, which I love above everything else).

Besides the fact in the end and the romantic interest, the rest is perfect.

You won’t regret it, I mean it.

Oh, did I mention that this book turned into a movie with TROYE SIVAN?

The movie is not exactly like the book, but it’s good. The third one is the best, though.

Gosh, I love this so much.

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