Author: Rob Lloyd Jones
Length: 304 pages
Genre: Historical Mystery
Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone
Content Appropriate For: Grades 4-7
Three adjectives that describe this book: gritty, exciting, memorable
Wild Boy Book Review:
Rob Lloyd Jones has combined some seriously interesting elements in this terrific novel. The main characters of Wild Boy and Clarissa are wonderfully crafted and deliciously complex. The struggles of both will stick with me for a long time - Wild Boy is mocked and abused, relegated to life as an outsider just because of how he looks. How can you view yourself as anything but worthless when people can pay a penny to kick you, and even your guardians call you Monster?
The setting of Victorian London was the perfect backdrop for this gritty story. Our characters tromp through the dark reaches of society - alleys, sewers, circuses, and even The Tower of London. This is no glorified, upper class society. I found it wholly engrossing.
And the mystery? A shadowy group of men is either being murdered or murdering others... or maybe both. Wild Boy and Clarissa solve the case using skill. Wild Boy has terrific powers of observation and deduction. The passages that detail his observations and conclusions are wonderfully written. Think Sherlock Holmes. Clarissa is an acrobat. She scrambles up the sides of buildings and wriggles her way into off-limits areas. Together they make a terrific team.
Overall, this new novel is a must read. It would also be a great introduction to mysteries and/or historical fiction for readers who might, otherwise, shy away from these genres.