Theo and Sprout Reviews
From Chick Lit Cafe
Theo and Sprout by Joseph Gergen is an extraordinary book that will make you think–will turn life as you’ve always thought about it upside down. Undressing gender stereotypes in favor of finding what one truly wants and needs is the theme in this timely Young Adult book.
As Theo, a fifteen-year-old boy on the cusp of adolescence, explores his own inner life and contemplates his body, Sprout suddenly appears to offer her own version of events. Sprout is the older, wiser (think: therapist) version of an invisible friend. She offers comfort, courage, and conviction to a socially awkward, aloof teen.
Joseph Gergen has clearly done his research. He is brilliant and clever writer as he effectively and skillfully takes on a distinctively female and male voice simultaneously. Each character’s story line, arc, and personality are well thought out and nuanced. This book is very intriguing, different and unique in its approach to growing up and finding our own path. The topics broached in Theo and Sprout are interesting, important and timely; I believe they will have an impact on any teenager or adult who reads this. There are several significant ideas in this story that many, including myself, need to hear and I think we all benefit from the reminders written into this remarkable plot. Sprout’s character especially shines through and will make every reader want to go out into the world in a bold, new way.
Instead of shutting down when you feel fear, Sprout wants you to push back, to take a stand. Be you and let go. Theo and Sprout is the reminder that we all need—to feel fear and to act, not to feel fear and turn away. Many interactions throughout this book demonstrate the importance of showing up for those around you, standing up for what feels right, and becoming quiet enough that one can hear one’s own inner voice. Chick Lit Café highly recommends Theo and Sprout by Joseph Gergen, an incredible story that is meaningful, entertaining and unforgettable.
Review from BookBub
Joseph Gergen’s book “Sprout” explores an intriguing personal journey. A carefully crafted coming of age story that questions the boundaries of traditional masculinity versus femininity and their balance within oneself. An age old devil or angel on your shoulder question explored throughout with a blend of skepticism and optimism, all with a wry sense of humor on growing up.
Review from Reedsy
You will be transported into the shoes of an insecure teenager, but left with his renewed courage- prepare to have your inner child healed.
This novel has an imaginative take on communicating a bildungsroman story-somewhat odd and eccentric but charming. The premise is complex and feels to some degree ambiguous to appeal to different readers; it could be seen as a story of gender dysphoria, as the sense of euphoria from gendered bodily changes certainly indicates. Or, to generalize the overarching message, simply about escaping your body and stepping away from your own perspective as representation of finding freedom from yourself. Thus, seeing different perspectives and having a taste of the freedom that these new perceptions of the world could bring. This brings Theo a sense of exhilarating peace, evident through the quotation: “the colors, the shades of gray, the smells, the sounds of the birds. A lost world I was too busy to see anymore”. Theo certainly finds freedom from what it means to be ‘manly’ through the presence of Sprout, which as a consequence makes him reconsider his relationship with his brother, BJ. His brother exhibits the stereotypical ‘manliness’ and ridicules Theo for not, through ‘tough love’ and what is described as “manliness training”, which turns out to be physical and mental abuse. Sprout teaches Theo the art of bodily intuition, and allows him to grow his mindset out of reach from those who can hurt his mind.
Read more of Sam Bland’s review here.