8 Fun Facts About Stu Truly With Author Dan Richards
Stu Truly is a super funny, charming look into middle school life, first crushes, and growing up. Stu’s family owns a butcher shop, and they’re pretty much all meat, all the time. But when the cute new girl in school says she’s a vegetarian, Stu claims to be one too. He even goes as far as taking a bite of her lunch! After one embarrassing mishap after another, Becca still seems interested in talking to Stu, but his lie becomes harder and harder to keep. We loved this hilarious, sweet, and authentic look into all the struggles of sixth-grade life, from friendship struggles to awkward school dances, and everything in between.
We think Stu Truly is a great read for pretty much anyone, but especially for readers looking for the light, silly fun of books like The Dork Diaries and Diary of a Wimpy Kid in a more complex package. It’s a great stepping stone for readers looking to branch out. It is also a great pick to read this Summer to remind you how happy you are to be hanging out by the pool rather than in the school cafeteria, navigating your own embarrassing moments.
Stu Truly is the coming-of-age story of 12-year-old Stu as he struggles to navigate the murky waters of adolescence when he finds himself living a lie-that seems to be growing beyond his control-to impress the new girl in school.
When Stuart Cornelius Truly first sets eyes on the new girl, Becca, he staples his finger to his seventh-grade history assignment. The second time he sees her, he coughs up a bite of her lunch – a vegetarian roasted pepper sandwich-all over her sweater, and promptly lies, claiming that he, too, is a vegetarian. Their third encounter goes more smoothly, but Stu’s lie turns out to be harder to keep than he expected, especially since his family owns a butcher shop.
In this hilarious, heartwarming, contemporary middle grade novel, Stu suddenly begins to realize the opposite sex exists (and isn’t so bad, after all!). Can Stu learn to successfully navigate old friends, new crushes, and horror-filled school dances, or will his lie, intended to impress his crush, actually cause his world to fall apart?
Ready to learn more about Stu Truly? Author Dan Richards shares 8 fun facts about how he brought Stu to life and how his son Paul was a big inspiration for the story.
Author Dan Richards Shares 8 Fun Facts About Stu Truly:
- FACT #1:
- I’m not sure how Stu’s name came about. It just always seemed right for him. As the story progressed, I came to realize it perfectly represented two key aspects of Stu’s personality. He stews over everything happening in his life, which causes a LOT of anxiety. And he struggles to be true to himself, at the risk of losing the girl he has a crush on.
- FACT #2:
- The primary story revolves around Stu having his first crush. When I was his age, I also had my first crush, though I kept it secret until a high school reunion many years later. At the reunion, I saw the girl, now a woman, and thought maybe it was time to finally come clean about my long-ago secret crush so we could laugh about it as adults. I approached the woman and said, “Hey, I gotta tell you when we were in grade school I had a big crush on you.” She stared at me and replied, “Yeah, you told me that at the last reunion.” Awkward silence. How could I have forgotten about that? I suddenly felt twelve all over again.
- FACT #3:
- Much of my inspiration for the dialogue between Stu and his friends came from my son, Paul, and his buddies. Paul and his sidekicks were in 7th grade when I wrote the first draft of Stu Truly. I spent a lot of time driving them places and also coached a basketball team with them. They constantly entertained me with their love of gross-out trivia, gleaned from Ripley’s Believe It Or Not and/or the internet, and their wild storytelling, some of which might have even been true.
- The novel is dedicated to the Trailblazers. Yep, you guessed it. The Trailblazers was the basketball team I coached with Paul and his friends. Being around them taught me so much about what life is like for a boy entering manhood.
- FACT #5:
- The novel is set in the town of Sequim in western Washington. Sequim is the actual town I grew up in. I did everything there from playing sports, to being in the band, to acting in the spring musicals. And spent considerable time having crushes of one sort or another. I live near Seattle now but still enjoying visiting my hometown whenever I can.
- The Irrigation Festival Parade plays an important role in the story. Sequim really does have an Irrigation Festival with a parade every May. I marched in the parade with the Sequim High School Band several times. And loved going to the parade every year as a kid. Before the main parade, there used to be a Kiddies Parade. My brother and I took part more than once including winning first prize one year.
- The idea for the square dancing unit in P.E. came from my own kids experiences in middle school. Their P.E. teacher brought in an expert every year to teach square-dancing to the whole school that led to a big school assembly with a square dancing competition. I was shocked to see that kids were still being taught to square dance, but their P.E. teacher told me it was a great way to teach social skills. Seriously? I knew I had to use that in a book someday. Stu seemed like the perfect place.
- Stu pretty much hates vegetables and loves meat. Becca, the girl he has a crush on, is a vegetarian. My inspiration for Stu’s eating choices came from my own childhood spent avoiding vegetables. I love vegetables now, but it wasn’t until I was out of high school that I could stand their taste. My son Paul is the same way. I’m hoping vegetables become part of his life at some point. Right, Paul?
Dan’s hope for Stu Truly:
- My hope for the story is that it gives middle schoolers a chance to laugh at the awkwardness they’re experiencing leaping from childhood to young adulthood. There is no ideal way to stumble into the grown-up world. The journey is full of mistakes, missed opportunities, and also moments of surprise and success. I hope Stu’s story shows you don’t need to be perfect. Just be yourself.
Looking for even more books to read this Summer? We think you’ll love Drum Roll, Please by Lisa Jenn Bigelow!