Author:  James W. Fuerst

Title:  Huge

Genre:  Mystery

Publication Date:  2009

Number of Pages:  304

Geographical Setting:  Suburban New Jersey

Time Period:  1980s

Series:  N/A

Plot Summary:  Eugene “Huge” Smalls, a twelve-year-old growing up in suburban New Jersey in the 1980s, and his stuffed turtle sidekick take on a case involving graffiti tagging at his beloved grandmother’s retirement home.  Huge, schooled by Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett, becomes a hard-boiled detective determined to solve the mystery.  After all, his grandmother already paid him $10.  Unfortunately, the socially awkward Huge misreads clues and misinterprets motives, leaving him embarrassed and frustrated.  Despite his shortcomings as a hard-boiled detective, Huge also undertakes more personal – and important – cases: those involving maturity, responsibility, friendship and family.

Subject Headings:

New Jersey – Fiction

Mystery and detective stories

Interpersonal relations – Fiction

Family life – New Jersey – Fiction

Appeal: detailed, dramatic, quirky, character-centered, domestic, family-centered, flashbacks, literary references, resolved ending, detailed setting, small-town, humorous, introspective

3 terms that best describe this book: nostalgic, hard-boiled narrative, coming-of-age

Similar Authors and Works:


The Soprano State: New Jersey’s Culture of Corruption by Bob Ingle (details the corruption that New Jersey has seen over the last thirty years, deals with New Jersey politics, government and business; might appeal to those interested in New Jersey-centered reads)

Weird N.J.: Your Travel Guide to New Jersey’s Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets by Mark Moran (the New Jersey installment of a travel series dedicated to “strange travels”; appeals to both New Jersey fans and readers enjoying Fuerst’s quirky mystery)

1980s: Decades of the 20th Century by Nick Yapp (a collection of photographs detailing art, politics, war, and American society of the 80s; appeals to fans of Fuerst’s nostalgic descriptions of American life in the 1908s)


How to Sell by Clancy Martin (a coming-of-age novel involving deception in the jewelry industry; appeals to readers favoring detailed, honest, and introspective first person narration like Fuerst’s)

Rosie and Skate by Beth Ann Bauman (a Jersey-shore coming-of-age YA novel involving teenage sisters; may appeal to readers who enjoy smart and witty young narrators similar to Huge, also includes detailed New Jersey setting)

Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco Stork (a YA novel focusing on a teenager with an Asperger-like condition who unravels a mystery involving his father’s law firm; much like Huge, Marcelo is a dynamic and sympathetic young character bent on finding out the truth)

Name: Elizabeth


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