Gave Up On: Huge by James W. Furst, 2009, 9780307452498.
Huge is Eugene's new name for himself. Eugene is about 12 or 13 and lives near the New Jersey shore with his mom and sister. Huge is shockingly smart but has mega- emotional and behavioral problems with anger. Huge has been suspended from school several times and is renown for his short height and shorter-temper. After slugging a teacher he spent a lot of time at home with his grandmother who forced him to read. That's sort-of good I suppose, it worked and Huge became hooked on hard-boiled mysteries.
Huge's grandmother is now in a home and when the home's sign is vandalized she "hires" Huge to find out who did it. Huge gets all sorts of bizarre suspicions about people that are just guesses in the dark - just like in hard boiled novels, really. Huge travels around town on the bike he custom built. Huge travels with his stuffed turtle a therapist gave him. Huge gets angry at everyone by thinking they betrayed him (presumably a leftover issue from his dad leaving several years ago). Tough guy Huge has a thing for a classmate but is unable to talk to her.
I gave up at the point where Huge and the would-be-girlfriend are sort-of hooking up at a party and playing cuddle monkeys. That early teen romance stuff gets creepy and uncomfortable for me.
This had some neat potential in Furst writing a hard-boiled novel with a 12 year old protagonist. Huge wants to be a detective but knows he is just a kid. However, being a kid he is able to convince himself that he has a real job and can make a real impact. I would have liked if Furst just kept with that but, to me, the storyline got off track. Since this has been sitting unread in the house for a month or so it's time to turn it back in.