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The Godless Boys

3.21  ·  Rating Details ·  160 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
If you were forced to live with faith, or without, which would you choose? England. 1986. The Church controls the country, and all members of the Secular Movement have been expelled to the Island. On the Island, religion is outlawed. A gang of boys patrols the community, searching for signs of faith, and punishing any believers. When an English girl arrives - intent on fin ...more
Paperback, 356 pages
Published April 1st 2011 by Picador USA
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Sep 03, 2015 Rizal marked it as pause  ·  review of another edition
I can't even force myself to read this. Will pick this one up later in the future.
Dec 30, 2012 Ian rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This one got a lot of positive word of mouth last year, so I thought it would be worth a go. In 1951, a Secular Movement opposed the increasing hold the churches had on British society. This prompted a government backlash. The secularists were rounded up and exiled to an island off the north-east coast of England. In 1977, there was another wave of church burnings, and yet more people were sent to the Island. And on the Island, a decade or so later, a group of youths, led by Nathaniel, see thems ...more
Amanda Patterson
Aug 30, 2011 Amanda Patterson rated it liked it
This dystopian novel is from debut author Naomi Wood.
Highly recommended. Unsettling. Imagine England in the 1980s. The Church has expelled non-believers to an island. Nathaniel was born on the island. He is bored. He is angry. He is a gang leader who defends atheism. He punishes the religious. Then he falls in love with Sarah, a stowaway from England, looking for her terrorist mother. And everything changes.
Don't read this book if you want to smile. It's laced with sadness and despair. But love
May 01, 2015 Heather rated it liked it
What really annoyed me about this was the fact it had SO much potential and Ms. Wood simply didn't live up to it. The plot is excellent, I was gripped. I enjoy the story for the most part and felt Ms. Wood have a fairly decent portrayal of how lonely life can be without community, stuck in the middle of nowhere. How perceived freedoms can be just the opposite. There were a lot of threads put into this novel and I just didn't feel Ms. Wood managed to make a knot out of them.

Do. Not. Get me start
Feb 27, 2014 Vanessa rated it liked it
A very good debut novel although the subject matter seemed a trifle unbelievable. The human relationships on the island to which all the non-believers are banished was done with a simplicity and a gentle touch which leaves the reader aching for more. The personal growth is astounding and the ending, although expected, bittersweet. I look forward to reading more of Naomi Wood's work.
David Hebblethwaite
May 24, 2011 David Hebblethwaite rated it really liked it
[Continued from my review of Chris Beckett's The Holy Machine.]

A search with a more concrete objective provides the impetus for Naomi Wood’s first novel, The Godless Boys. The Church gained political power over its alternate England in 1950, and a series of riots led to members of the Secular Movement being sent to ‘the Island’, where they and their children now live in isolation. The Malades, a gang of boys born and bred on the Island, have taken it upon themselves to root out any English spies
Karen Angelico
Oct 06, 2016 Karen Angelico rated it liked it
This is a good debut novel - there is far too much criticism levelled at debut novels. A fledgling novel writer is still learning their craft and we readers can be far too critical. Reading The Godless Boys, I can appreciate the huge potential of this writer, and Ms Wood's next novel, Mrs Hemingway, certainly lives up to this potential.
The Godless Boys explores some great themes - religion, community, unconditional love, forgiveness. The premise of the 'alternative' England of the 1970's and 198
Nov 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The Godless Boys is without a doubt one of the most intriguing novels I have read this year. The island setting for the book is as cold and bleak as it is atmospheric, the old English spoken by its inhabitants is curious and endearing, whilst the characters themselves are guarded and suspicious.

The forming of teenage gang the Malades threatens this small community, as the boys begin to police residents as they were once in England. As hormones begin to rage so does the intensity of the members’
Sep 22, 2014 Andrée rated it liked it
I enjoyed the premise i.e. that the Church 'won' and threw out the unbelievers but there were some holes - e.g. where did they get the fuel for roaring fires? Those kind of islands are short on trees to start with.... Why didn't they escape to Europe? Why no sheep? Why not eat sea birds and their eggs? Why no music or radios even? A weekly drop of a few boxes of supplies was woefully inadequate for the number of people living there (who were far too few for the 'troubles' described)
It was clearl
Aug 02, 2016 Gloria rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I decided to read ‘The Godless Boys’ by Naomi Wood after reading the brilliant ‘Mrs Hemingway. It is not a book that I would have chosen by the ‘blurb’.

In 1951 Britain is controlled by the Church and a Secular Group challenges the Church by setting fire to churches. The result being, those found guilty were exiled to ‘the island’. There were two expulsions, in 1951 and 1976.

The island received supplies weekly via a boat sent from Britain.

On the island a group of boys, bored and troublesome, star
Victoria Sadler
Mar 28, 2014 Victoria Sadler rated it it was ok
I thought about giving this two stars so I am in a generous mood. It takes 100 pages for this story to become interesting and that's way way too long. The characters aren't particularly interesting and it's unclear what the stakes are which does make it drag. More frustratingly for a dystopian book, it is wholly unrealistic and sheds no light on our society today. It is no warning or observation, which is kind of the point of dystopian books.

The book is of an England where secularists have been
Hannah Sharp
Jun 07, 2016 Hannah Sharp rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed reading this book, its a relatively big book but not too much to read. Its set twenty or so years ago, after a rebellion by The Secular Movement, who burns churches and the like. After these people have been banished to the Island, they are forced to live without meat, etc, and only some of the occupants remember England as it used to be. Eventually a girl from England comes to the Island searching for her lost mother, and so the story goes.
It's an interesting read, though the
Jun 14, 2014 Laura rated it liked it
I read this because I'd read Mrs Hemingway and adored it. The Godless Boys, however, isn't beautifully written and the characters and plot line isn't very credible - the complete opposite of Mrs Hemingway! It reads very much like a book where a young writer is finding her feet, which I suppose it is. Sad to think, though, that if I'd read this first I wouldn't have bothered with Mrs H. The Northern language is cringeworthy and the Malades gang-speak a weak rip-off of A Clockwork Orange. My advic ...more
Mar 01, 2012 Pauline rated it liked it
This book is disturbing, filled with sadness. Wood succeeds in describing the loneliness, the poverty and the deprivation of the people unable to leave the island. She follows through with details in her storyline, using slang and problems like the unfounded fear of anaemia, because there is no meat on the island. The character developments are also good, but the story left me wondering why there was such antipathy towards religion, why churches were bombed, I missed the context. Overall the boo ...more
Sue Hawley
Feb 24, 2016 Sue Hawley rated it it was ok
I was a little disappointed in this book. It set the scene of a dystopian future very well, the back story of how the world came to be as it was subtly introduced. I liked the characters and the psychological insight into how people would react and behave was very believable but I didn't think that the author really used the setting she created as well as she could have done. The best book in this dystopian genre is Never Let Me Go and unfortunately this doesn't match it.
Flyss Williams
2.5 Intriguing premise, but somewhat fails in the execution. Set in an England where its a crime to be a non believer, involving the story of an island full of secular deportees, a young girl smuggles herself to the island to try and find her mother she believes was deported 10 years before, for burning a church. She runs into the Godless boys a gang of discontented skinhead youths intent on rooting out any English God fearing spies, she is not in good company.
Sal Noel
May 24, 2015 Sal Noel rated it really liked it
A book that meanders along quite nicely. The premise is that the godless and the god fearing parted ways after a bit of discrimination and a bit of terrorism and the godless ended up on the island with not a lot. The characters felt genuine and everyday. For a touch a dystopia this was quite believable and the book took you into that world with fair description and background. ( I either speed read the ending or it rushed along a bit too fast..?)
Spandan Sharma
Overtly preachy in parts, but maintains enough elements of dystopia to keep it a sufficiently interesting read for William Golding fans. Although no 'Lord of The Flies' by any stretch of imagination, it's a valiant first effort for a new author, and one looks forward to the next work from Ms. Woods.
Erin Wynn
2.5 stars. This had the potential to be great. Unique plot line, interesting premise. It just bored me to tears and I have no idea why. I feel it would have been better as a short story, or a collection of short stories rather than a full length novel. Not to mention, the boys' treatment of Sarah made me cringe.

It wasn't awful, but I wouldn't recommend it.
Aug 30, 2012 Shirley rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2012
A fascinating glimpse into a dystopian world where the Church rules England and non-believers have been banished to a small island...I thought this was well written with an engaging style. Disturbing, yet not without hope, the characters are complex and the plot keeps you reading until the end. I wasn't keen on how the book ended though.
Aug 21, 2014 Sadie rated it really liked it
The prose and dialogue and pacing of the story are excellent. Wasn't quite sure what to make of the ending though...... but still, a great story about the consequences of holding onto rigid beliefs, and betrayal.
Rd King
Rd King rated it it was ok
Jun 10, 2015
Heather rated it really liked it
Apr 11, 2014
Rainer rated it really liked it
Mar 18, 2014
Rachel J Parris
Rachel J Parris rated it it was ok
Oct 16, 2016
Silke rated it did not like it
Jan 08, 2013
Lorrie rated it liked it
Mar 16, 2012
Chymeera rated it liked it
Mar 25, 2014
Kim rated it liked it
Feb 04, 2013
Rory O'Brien
Rory O'Brien rated it really liked it
Jul 22, 2014
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Naomi Wood was born in 1983 and lives in London. She studied at Cambridge and at UEA for her MA in Creative Writing. Originally from York, she has gone on to live in Hong Kong, Paris and Washington DC. She is the author of The Godless Boys and Mrs. Hemingway.
More about Naomi Wood...

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