Saturday, September 19, 2015

Book Review: Dead Boy

Premise: Crow died 2 years ago. But he's still alive. Sort of. He doesn't sleep or eat anymore, and his sometimes maggots crawl out of his ears, but other than that he's a pretty normal kid. Except that Crow isn't allowed to leave his house. And his parents won't tell him how he died. And then, a new neighbor moves in next door and Crow gets a chance for true friendship. Together they discover the secret of Crow's death.

Title: Dead Boy
Author: Laurel Gale
Length: 256 pages
Genre: Fantasy
Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone
Content appropriate for: Grades 4-7
Format: Digital ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley

Three adjectives that describe this book: surprising, engaging, creative

I was expecting Dead Boy to be interesting and fun, a little gross and probably humorous. It was all of the things, but it was also entirely more. Much richer, stronger, and complex than it appears at first. There's something for everyone here.

Dead Boy is a story that reinvents itself over and over. First, it explores the tribulations of being a dead-ish kid. Not a zombie, a dead kid who's still mostly functional. Then, we turn to a friendship and family drama tale. Just as you think you know where the story's going, BAM you get an adventure novel with a crazy does of magic/fantasy/quest. It feels a little Indiana Jones! And in the end, you realize that somehow it was a coming of age story all along.

I found Dead Boy to be completely novel, highly engaging, and really well-done. It would be easy for many authors to struggle with piecing all those elements together cohesively, but somehow they flow together seamlessly with just the right balance of action, dialogue, description, and exposition. Highly recommended.
4.5 stars

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