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The Every Boy

3.79  ·  Rating Details ·  419 Ratings  ·  51 Reviews
In this addictive and highly original debut novel a fifteen-year-old boy dies mysteriously, leaving behind a secret ledger filled with his darkly comic confessions. Whether fantasizing about being a minority, breaking into his neighbors’ homes, or gunning down an exotic bird, Henry Every’s wayward quest for betterment sometimes bordered on the criminal. Alone now in their ...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published July 6th 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jun 29, 2009 Joshua rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 11, 2008 Rachel rated it it was amazing
i read this in about 2 sittings. just when i thought i could no longer read a book. maybe the problem is i'd been trying to read autobiographies. maybe that's just not my thing. kind of like how right now i'm supposed to be watching Citizen Kane... well, the real problem is i'm addicted to the internet.

anyway. i found some of the dialogue and characterizations a little unrealistic, but maybe that's because i don't accurately remember being a teenager. i was not as witty and interesting a person
Jan 26, 2010 Megan rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, ajpl, 2010, adult
Henry is a wonderful kid. It's impossible not to grow attached to him despite the fact that you know - from the back cover, from the very first page - that he's dead. Shapiro does a wonderful job of bringing Henry to life through his journals, his parents, and his actions. Henry, like any other fifteen-year-old, is emotional, quick to fall in love, quirky and loveable. He meticulously details his life in a journal written on graph paper, which his parents find after his death. Although one of He ...more
Aug 17, 2009 Daniel rated it really liked it
Recommended to Daniel by: Belindasandalon Sandalon
This deceptively simple story explores the development and definition of identity through the experiences of the Every family. Henry Every has died at fifteen and his father, Harlan, has begun obsessively reading his son's copious and quirky journals (written and color-coded on graph paper because "diaries are for girls"). His mother returns from her self-exile in the Netherlands after leaving her family five years previous.

Harlan studies Cnidarians, going so far as to construct a huge aquarium
Apr 27, 2008 e rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: my friends.
Recommended to e by: I found it at the bookstore where I work.
Like the main character, Henry Every, this little book is very much itself.
Shapiro takes us through the only window into Henry's mind: his ledger- in which he meticulously wrote (and colour-coded)his wonderfully philosophical,romantic , and witty observations before his death.
If you are slightly awkward, notice little things,and love fleeting moments of young joy and love-
this is your anthem.
Feb 20, 2011 Holly rated it it was ok
So I had a really hard time getting into this book. It was pretty much just talking about a teenage boys quite odd life. But the farther I read the more I got pulled in and finally by the end I was dying to know what happened. And when I found out what did happen I was quite amazed.
Apr 20, 2013 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those books where the trees are definitely better than the forrest.

Don't get me wrong, I loved this book. In fact, I didn't want to stop reading every time I picked it up, but as a whole, it left a few things wanting for me. However, the individual moments and insights that permeate this book outshine any of its shortcomings. You still feel rewarded at the last page, but just not in that "This was a fantastic story" sort of way, more a "I loved so much of this... even if there wer
Aug 08, 2012 Mari rated it liked it
The Every Boy and Henry Every left me scratching my head. I am stuck between really liking this book and not liking it at all. I think it had a lot of promise, but ultimately fell short in a few key areas. At first, I had a hard time tracking the story line. Some of the book is a present-tense narration of Henry's world (read: mom and dad's lives, mom and dad discovering Henry through his journal), some of it is a past-tense narration of Henry's life, and some of it is his journal. The typeface ...more
Meghan Schuyler
May 26, 2014 Meghan Schuyler rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 23, 2011 Anne rated it liked it
Dont normally write much in my reviews. Feel I may have underrated this book. The writing is actually very good. Plot strand excellent. There is something in the execution that makes the narrative "jerky" like a hand held camera. Apart from this, the novel is a quirky tale of Henry who we learn very early, is dead. Novel uses flashbacks extensively accompanied by journal entries to fill gaps in Henry's life. Very poignant with traditional themes but innovatively explored such as mortality, life ...more
Sep 16, 2012 Zeo rated it liked it
Suburban straight white American boy angsting about his lack of otherness. I knew this going into the book, and wanted to see where Shapiro took it. He goes into a fair bit of different people's efforts at self-exploration and identity building, from Henry's father's efforts training jellyfish to recognize him, to his grandmother's Cuban housekeeper intent upon 'whitening' herself, to a group of people bonding over their varying levels of self-editing plastic surgery, including gender- and ethni ...more
Linh Hoang
Oct 26, 2011 Linh Hoang rated it it was amazing
The protagonist, Henry Every, is not the average teenage boy. Henry has a very unique perspective on life and that partly comes from his odd family. However, we do not get to go from day to day with Henry because in the beginning of the novel, Henry dies a mysterious death. All that's left from Henry is his journal that he kept, recapping almost every important moment in his life.

I believe that the main message that Dana Adam Shapiro wants the read to see is that you should form your own perspec
Aug 14, 2012 Mark rated it it was amazing
It been a while since I've read the book, but I was astounded by the story. The author also created the documentary 'Murderball' which came out at the same time and completely overshadowed a wonderful book. While short in length the story is deeply rich and complex. A father is learning about his dead son by reading his (the son's) diary. Believable events, strange occurences, and a powerful ending. I've shared the book with several people whom all gave favorable reviews. There is but frustratin ...more
Aug 08, 2012 Lindsey rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 19, 2013 Taylor rated it it was amazing
This has become one of my favorite books now. I believe this book sneaks up on you in a way. You don't realize how attached you become to the characters until you are half way through the book and think "Wow, when did I start to feel such emotion while reading this book?" You really do go through life with the characters. Shapiro did an excellent job letting you into the minds of the characters in the book, almost as if they have become actual people who are living and breathing. The main charac ...more
Dec 13, 2008 Lonnie rated it liked it
I don't know where I heard about this book and I'm not sure why I picked it up. The premise, a coming of age novel about a precocious young man, is hardly revelatory, but there is a very sweet and genuine quality given to the characters that drove the novel for me. I recommend this boot to anyone looking for a short read that, despite the tragedy disclosed in the first few pages, will leave the reader buoyed by the hopefulness of it's characters and the clarity of it's albeit small, but taut and ...more
Jan 10, 2008 Greg rated it liked it
The somewhat light-hearted story of the days just before and after the death of a fifteen year old kid, mostly as discovered by his father reading through his 2,000+ page, color coded journal. Has some clever moments, but no real revelations. His realistic (for me at least) portrayal of the strangeness of early high-school life and relationships, and some of the funnier, quirkier bits made it worth the short read.

You can read the first several pages here.
Sep 15, 2011 Kim rated it liked it
I grabbed this one from the library because it looked fascinating - the (hinted suicide) death of a teen boy as seen through his personal writings, read by his father after the fact. And while I did really, really, really like the boy, I did NOT like or connect with any of the other characters in the book, and as such, the plot suffered. However, there were moments in the boy's voice/writings that seemed genuine and insightful, and for that alone, I ranked the story a 3 star read.
Feb 01, 2012 Jeni rated it really liked it
The cover had a review comparing this to The Catcher in the Rye, which Im not sure I would have made the comparison if not seeing that review before reading it. It had the journalistic first-person narrative for a majority of the book, and it gave me a tumultuous feeling while reading it. Overall I think it was a great book and would definitely recommend it; strong characters and keep-your-interest storyline.
Jan 20, 2008 Natalie rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who liked Perks of Being a Wallflower
Perks of Being a Wallflower fans- this is your next book. This book is one of those wonderful coming of age stories with a sad twist and a beautiful outlook on life. It captures perfectly the uniqueness we all want to possess and makes you happy for your quirks.
One of my favorites here, it was such a good read. Simple, but profound with lots of room for interpretation and development in which the book completely stepped up to.
Holly Cagney
Apr 19, 2013 Holly Cagney rated it really liked it
I'm not completely sure how to put into words how I feel about this book, as I just finished it. I will say that I love Henry Every. He takes life head-on, and I devoured his words. This book, to me, is about identity, and it was clear that Henry was trying to figure out his own, as we're many other characters. It's a good read for someone who's okay with being dragged out of their comfort zone and into darker places.
Feb 03, 2016 Alessandra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Letto tutto d'un fiato, in un giorno solo. E' un libro molto bello, ma troppi adolescenti si suicidano per i miei gusti. L'azione è ambientata negli anni Ottanta (il protagonista è morto a pagina 2, e siamo nel 1989). Titolo originale: The Every Boy (riferito al protagonista, Henry Every). Il titolo italiano svela un po' troppo della risoluzione del mistero.
Jan 06, 2009 Chris rated it really liked it
This is a real gem of a book, written by the same guy who made that excellent documentary Murderball about the wheelchair rugby team. The startling gimmick of this book is that the main character dies in the opening paragraph, but he's left behind a journal through which his father gradually gets to know his son. It's a nice read.
Aug 16, 2010 hannah rated it liked it
This was not very good, but it got better toward the end. The premise is interesting, but the two storylines and three narratives don't gel together. There were good moments, but it was an unsatisfying book.
Jun 02, 2008 Annette rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 02, 2011 Ann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
yow! recommended to me by a student. i was hesitant with the first few chapters, but as it got going, really enjoyed the voices. powerful and insightful. really well done -- you sink in without realizing it. delicious and chewy and surprising -- like a frozen strawberry charleston chew.
May 07, 2008 Tara added it
If you like books that are a little out of the ordinary, and require you to use your brain a little then this is the book for you. It is very entertaining though. It's like reading from the end to the beginning.
Nov 04, 2009 Chiara rated it really liked it
I really liked this book, it was slightly quirky but it still seemed realistic and you cared for these characters. The ending was bittersweet, it made me cry. I checked this book out of the library and once finished it made me sad to have to return it. A good, quick read!
Audrey Metzger
Aug 25, 2010 Audrey Metzger rated it really liked it
Intriguing, especially as the main character is dead. I loved the writing style, lots of lovely adjectives and details. The book flowed well, sort of reminded me of a modern Hemingway? A little clean-cut, and somewhat ambling pace.
Jun 12, 2008 Patty rated it it was amazing
One of my favorites! This is possibly the coolest protagonist in the history of literature (okay, I realize that's a bold statement, but he's frickin' cool!) and the way the story is broken down is very unique. I have been waiting for more from this author since I finished this one.
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“It's amazing that someone who knows so much about the human body can know so little about people. I think it's time we laid all our stars out on the table.” 2 likes
“When he was little, she'd stay late in his room, drawing pictures of him as he slept. She had fat pads filled with closeup sketches of his growing muscles, hands, and teeth, roughly rendered in black ink and charcoal. She wasn't trained or ambitious when it came to art; she was simply fascinated by her creation—not the drawings, the person. "This is mine," she'd say, checking Henry's pulse, looking into his nostrils, "This is me." She once counted his eyelashes with a magnifying glass and drew each one to scale.” 0 likes
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