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The Boy on the Bus: A Novel
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The Boy on the Bus: A Novel

2.14  ·  Rating Details  ·  261 Ratings  ·  60 Reviews
Meg Landry expected it to be a day like any other -- her asthmatic eight-year-old son would step off the bus, home from school. But on this day, the boy on the bus doesn't seem to be Meg's son. Though he shares Charlie's copper hair, tea-brown eyes, and slight frame, there is something profoundly, if indefinably, different about him. In the wake of Meg's quiet alarm, her f ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published March 2nd 2004 by Free Press (first published March 17th 2003)
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Brie Klein-fowler
Aug 03, 2011 Brie Klein-fowler rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
You know that feeling that you get at the end of an M Night Shymalan movie that asks all sorts of cool questions, has freaky plot twists, and seems like it's leading somewhere shocking, but ends with absolutely no answers to anything? That's what it's like to read this book. I feel like the author could have taken this concept, a stranger that looks exactly like your son but is a, to so many interesting places. I thought of at least five (alien, android, Changeling-esque lying orpha ...more
Jun 25, 2008 Ryan rated it it was ok
The premise of this book is interesting - a boy gets off the bus, and his mother believes that it isn't him. Neat! But then it becomes a very tedious exploration of the mother's very tedious life. Whoopee, she's having a midlife crisis that is exacerbated by a distant partner and bratty teenage daughter. I spent most of the book wishing she'd get a hobby or a job or a red sports car.

I'm sure there are lots of metaphors and whatnot buried in this book, but the drudgery of this upper-middle-class
Tristan Macavery
Sep 13, 2010 Tristan Macavery rated it did not like it
Deborah Schupack's first effort, the novel The Boy on the Bus, is one of those painfully self-indulgent and pointless "artistic works" which plague the bookshelves from time to time. Beginning with an interesting premise -- a mother's creeping certainty that this boy on the afternoon school bus is a close approximation of, but is not truly, her son -- Schupack takes us on a 215 page slog through a quagmire of psychological pretension which ultimately, as Shakespeare put it, signifies nothing.
Jan 15, 2011 Tamara rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
The book jacket blurb was way more intriguing than the actual book.
Feb 02, 2011 Christie rated it liked it
Meg Landry is an unreliable narrator. She’s the central character of Deborah Schupack’s novel, The Boy on the Bus. Meg lives in rural Vermont with her asthmatic son, Charlie, and her partner, Jeff (who is mostly away working as an architect) and her 13 year old daughter, Katie, who attends boarding school.

As the novel opens, Meg is waiting for Charlie’s school bus (and Charlie’s school bus driver, Sandy, for whom Meg has ‘feelings’). But when the school bus arrives, Charlie won’t get off the bus
Mar 09, 2012 Angela rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book left me so perplexed and really wondering where my time went.

The course of the book seems to take place in the span of 2 days, with a little extra thrown on. I couldn't figure out if the boy was truly different or if the mom was suffering from some kind of mental illness (or at least self illness).

I never connected with the characters, never felt an affinity for anyone. I think I connected more with the goose than anything, kind of wishing I could fly away. Maybe I missed something. Ma
| J
Mar 21, 2009 | J rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: someone with extra time to give way to no answers
Yes, it may appear to be a waste of time. The end reveals no wrap to the mystery... or does it?
The answer is probably found, not so absolute, in the journey.

All professional reviews I've read make this novel out to be something much more magical than it was for me. The concept, if it is indeed to discover oneself and to recognize those you love must be 're-discovered' all the time, isn't a new one. In my opinion, 'the mystery' at hand was only used to coax us in, to reiterate an already taught
Oct 24, 2008 Sharon rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Well, this was weird.

The bus comes to their house but Charlie doesn't get off. The mother gets on the bus to see why. She sees a boys that looks a lot like her son but is not her son. She doesn't say this out loud but remains on the bus with the boy for hours.

The sheriff comes and gets both the mother and son (boy) off the bus and has the father called who happens to be working in Canada.

The father comes home and isn't sure about the boy either. But he has been gone for months. They get the o
Jul 14, 2011 Jean rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I did not enjoy reading this book about a family unraveling, it seems, because they cannot deal with their young son's asthma--the father and daughter become unavailable physically and the mother, though present physically, becomes unavailable emotionally. The author has an impressive command of the language (which is what kept me reading), but the whole thing was utterly depressing. (I have a headache as I type.) If anyone needs to write a critical literary analysis using the psychological appr ...more
Betty Marshall
Amazing story of fantasy---what would you do if you were in the situation this mother was in finding a child not her own on the school bus in place of her son. A great read with the author leading the reader to come to their own conclusions about what was happening...was the mother going mad....was the child sickly....was living alone with her family driving this mother to live in a fantasy world?
Karen Linder
Dec 25, 2013 Karen Linder rated it did not like it
I was disturbed by this book and disliked the lack of an ending. It was disturbing, the concept of one's child going missing and another 8 year old (or perhaps slightly older) child replacing him. All the questions about his family recognizing him or not. The mother perhaps suffering from mental illness, unable to recognize her child and convinced he is not her child was distasteful to me. The woman seemed obsessive in the reflections on parenting her asthmatic child. She sounded overprotective ...more
Sep 23, 2009 yumi rated it liked it
Casey...i didn't get it!!! hurry up and read it so we can discuss!!! ARG
Jan 13, 2009 Kris rated it did not like it
Shelves: drama
One afternoon, Vermont housewife Meg discovers that the boy on the school bus outside her door is almost, but not quite, her eight-year-old son, Charlie. It's a typical X-Filesscenario, but in the hands of first-time novelist Schupack it becomes an acute psychological study of alienated ex-urban family life. Meg's panic recalls her aloof, restless husband from his job in Canada and her bratty, rebellious teenage daughter from boarding school, but neither they nor the local sheriff nor the family ...more
Oct 26, 2010 Jennifer rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Anna Klein
Sep 25, 2007 Anna Klein rated it liked it
The boy that Meg put on the school bus this Vermont morning was her asthmatic 8-year-old son, Charlie. The boy who comes home in the afternoon is not. Sure, he almost looks like Charlie, almost acts like Charlie, almost knows the things Charlie should know, but not quite. As Meg sits on the bus studying this boy, the bus driver, Sandy, tells her, "We looked back out the window and there you were, reappearing at the front door when you had been standing there only a second ago." The sheriff arriv ...more
Emi Bevacqua
Dec 15, 2009 Emi Bevacqua rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Emi by: Betty Marshall
Shelves: fiction, haunting, euro
Meg is physically and mentally exhausted. She's a stay-at-home mom to 8 year old Charlie with chronic asthma. One day she goes to meet his school bus and he's not on it. Instead, there's a slightly different red-headed kid, a bit bigger than Charlie, and wearing an argyle sweater she doesn't recognize. It takes her so long to decide what to do, the sheriff is called in, who then notifies Charlie's father who has been away on business for months. When Jeff returns home he fetches teenage angsty d ...more
Jun 12, 2013 Victoria rated it did not like it
Shelves: lit-fic, sold, not-for-me
I didn't really care much for this book at all. The premise captured my interest - that of a woman who failed to recognize her own son getting off the school bus - but ultimately, the plot failed to maintain my curiosity. Perhaps its only saving grace was its length - it was a very short novel - more of a novella than a novel, really. The narrator's flights of fancy became dull and rather cliche after the first fifty pages. The stylized writing was solid, but the lack of real characters and an a ...more
Jan 09, 2014 Jim rated it it was ok
An interesting but puzzling book. The book starts with a mother going to the bus to pick up her son after school, she see's him and is sure it isn't him. The book proceeds with her contacting the sheriff, neighbors, recalls her husband from Canada and retrieves her daughter from a private school. The book really left me in a quandry, is the mother mentally disturbed, is everybody else, or is everybody just psychotic. The bulk of the book has the mother totally fighting with her son and daughter ...more
Betsy Murphy
Jul 09, 2015 Betsy Murphy rated it did not like it
I read this and I was left very disappointing I think it should have been a bit more - aka its not a full story left too many questions . So I didn't like this . I think Charlie's Mom should dump his dad stat .
Matthew Wayne
Feb 19, 2015 Matthew Wayne rated it did not like it
Literally one of the worst, most confusing books i've ever read. There is no resolution and I don't even know if the author knows what happened. The premise is so promising but the execution just wasn't there, I feel.
Jan 13, 2015 Cathy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This story held real promise and it was pretty good as it was going along, but the ending was such a disappointment, it made me feel like the entire read was a waste of time. Grrr!
Sep 18, 2014 Melissa rated it it was ok
A woman gets her son from the bus, he's like her son but he isn't him. Disturbing, family is falling apart. Couldn't really figure this out, no clear resolution.
Jan 28, 2016 Martha rated it liked it
Read for Library Book Discussion Group, otherwise would not have read. I think it will be a good discussion book. Not sure I liked it very much.
Jul 27, 2015 Ashley rated it it was ok
Writing was all right, but I seriously didn't understand this book. Ending was not an ending. Just confusing.
Apr 30, 2015 Melissa rated it it was ok
beautiful language, but i felt it was a cross between "the yellow wallpaper" and a post-modern horror story.
Jun 14, 2014 Chris rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
this book was boring confusing story waited for it to go somewhere but never got there.
Mar 29, 2014 Hilary added it
Creepy & left me with a lot of questions.
Erin Sterling
3.5. A changeling story without any sort of fantasy, The Boy on the Bus is a really bizarre book. After reading it, I realized why Nancy Pearl recommended it for book clubs because I wanted to discuss the book with other people. A mother waiting for her 8-year-old asthmatic son to come home from school discovers a different boy--one that looks like her son and talks like her son, but is slightly different. A psychological drama where you're never sure what's going on. The style reminds me a litt ...more
Dec 07, 2007 Cindy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those looking for something different
Shelves: fiction
I really wasn't sure what to make of this book. It looked interesting from the book description, but it wasn't quite what I thought it would be. I was expecting some sort of big revelation, but there wasn't one. No big climax, just clues along the way that added up to - not as much as I thought it would. Still, it was a compelling read in an odd sort of way.

Feb 25, 2009 Pamk rated it liked it
An interesting book, but I found it very frustrating. The perspective is very different - the boy that comes home on the school bus one day is not the same boy that had left in the morning. He looks the same, but his mother is convinced that it isn't the same boy. I don't know if it is just me, but this is one of those books that I didn't quite 'get'.
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