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The Boxer and the Spy

3.63  ·  Rating Details  ·  834 Ratings  ·  104 Reviews
When a shy high school student's body is found washed up on the shore of a quiet New England beach town, an apparent suicide, fifteen-year-old Terry Novak doesn't know what to think. Something just doesn't add up, so he decides to do some investigating of his own with the help of his best friend, Abby. It doesn't take long before they learn that asking questions puts them ...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published May 1st 2008 by Philomel Books
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396th out of 519 books — 419 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,395)
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Apr 06, 2009 Cornmaven rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ms-hs
Full disclosure - I am a Robert B Parker fanatic. His Hemingwayesque style of writing is the key to the revealing of 'human nature truths' that is Parker's hallmark.

So, this is one of two books he has written for middle school/high school kids. Clearly, this is Parker's image of the 'birth' of his iconic Spenser and Susan Silverman characters - i.e. what they would have been like as 9th graders. Wise beyond their years, open to listening to adult mentors, learning how to be what they grow up to
I have a friend who absolutely loves Robert B. Parker books. He rants and raves all the time and is constantly recommending them to me. I've read two of them and they just don't do for me, what they do for him. This was just okay for me, but the fact that it had a creative story line, I can give this 3 stars. I think I would have liked this developed a little more, especially the characters. This was heavy on dialogue, which I usually love, but I wanted to see and understand the characters more ...more
May 08, 2013 Kris rated it really liked it

Parker, R. B. (2009). The boxer and the spy [Recorded by S. Brick] [CD]. New York, NY: Listening Library.

Genre: Mystery


Format: Audio (4 CDs, 4:12 hours)

Selection: Follett


In Robert B. Parker’s second young adult novel (Philomel, 2008) he takes readers to his hometown of Boston, where young Terry Novak and his friends try to discover why a quiet isolated classmate, Jason Green, would commit suicide. Terry is unconvinced that Jason committed suicide or that he used steroids, which st
Katrina Burchett
Jason Green overheard a conversation and soon after he was dead. Terry Novak and Abby Hall are on a mission to find out what happened to Jason. When some of their friends join in to help, they form a spy network and they are very serious about being detectives. But there is an adult who wants to put an end to their investigation and he’s using one of their classmates to keep them from finding out the truth. If he can.
Jason: He lost his father and his mother got drunk a lot. He didn’t like sports
Oct 24, 2011 Leenah rated it liked it
Shelves: class-books
Book Review
Jason Green, a shy high school student was found washed up on the shore of New England beach town; he committed suicide linked to steroids. Terry Novak a fifteen year old boxer in training doesn’t know what to think, he knew Jason Green and he knew that Jason wasn’t the type that would be doing steroids. With his best friend Abby’s help, they start doing some investigating of their own. Little do they know that asking question puts them in grave danger and they are going to have to fi
Oct 06, 2014 Blue rated it liked it
This book is a good book it has great great plots with some different things that i really did not see coming. It is a great book but it does have its dry parts like most other books. I had to figure out some of the reasons why the main character did what he did and why he did them because it had a lot of good juicy things that helped you picture what was going on the book. It had a cool book plot where it had the main story going on in one part of the book and then the next chapter could totall ...more
I might be one of the few adults who hasn't read a Robert B. Parker novel, so why not start with one of his young adult titles? I remember discussion of this mystery at a Abe Lincoln book award meeting a few years ago so I thought I'd give it a try.

Terry Novak is fifteen and in training to be a boxer. When classmate Jason Green's body turns up dead on the shore, Terry starts asking questions. Unfortunately Parker uses the author's technique called All Adults Are Idiots, which I'm not a big fan o
Mostly Parker-esque dialog, which, in my opinion, is a good thing. And blue butterflies. Damn, I'm sorry this man is dead.
Eric Mikols
Feb 16, 2016 Eric Mikols rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
This was fine, but it didn't really do much for me. Parker seems to be writing adult characters with teen limitations and it's weird.
Davis Porath
Mar 01, 2015 Davis Porath rated it liked it
In The Boxer And The Spy by Robert B. Parker the authors message is that things are not always as they seem. This is demonstrated at multiple points in the book. “Everything you have said, everything is a huge and disgusting lie.” (Parker 159) This quote illustrates how some characters can come across as nice on the outside but they are actually not at all nice on the inside. “You’ll keep your nose clean or I’ll lower the boom on you.” (Parker 105) This quote is also an example of how people and ...more
Christian Garcia
Oct 01, 2014 Christian Garcia rated it it was amazing
***Spoiler Alert***

Who do you think killed Jason Green? The Boxer and the Spy is a realistic fiction book that has a lot of twists and turns.

This story takes place in a small town in Illinois.Terry Novak wanted to know who really killed Jason Green, because he knew Jason well enough that he wouldn't commit a suicide for nothing. So he and his friend,Abby and other people joined together to solve the mystery of Jason Green. After all the conflicts they go through with the principal they finall
Callan O'brien
Nov 12, 2014 Callan O'brien rated it really liked it
In the novel, The Boxer and the Spy, a boy named Terry Novak and a girl named Abby Hall try to crackdown on the death of a fellow student. A boy at the school named Jason Green had apparently died to use of steroids when there was no trace of him using them in the past. So, Terry believes this is not the way he died and wants to investigate. His friend, Abby, wants to help and she coordinates a plan to help them figure out what happened. Terry is a boxer and ends getting into a couple fights and ...more
Aug 07, 2015 Jerry rated it liked it
"Boxer” is the second of three young adult novels written by Parker late in his career. Like the other two, it featured a thoughtful and persistent teenaged high school boy and his similarly faithful friend (and budding girlfriend), in whom most readers would identify as young models of Spenser and Susan.

Terry Novak (the “boxer”) is taking boxing lessons from an old pro (George), who is slowly helping Terry learn to be a man, not just a fighter. When classmate Jason dies and his death is ruled a
Dec 14, 2015 Jessie rated it did not like it
A few chapters in, started losing interest. Halfway through and all interest was gone.
The book wasn't exactly bad, I just found it poorly executed and all of the characters were boring.
There was nothing believable about any of it.
I was looking forward to a good young detective story and ended up with a group teenagers who think they know everything.
The Boxer and the Spy is about 15-year-old Terry who is convinced that he knows everything about his classmate whose death was ruled as a suicide. Wh
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 15, 2013 Cassi rated it really liked it
It's always nice to give my mind a break and read a YA/Teen book every once in a while.

"For Joan, who needs no blue butterfly." Found out what that was about later in the book and chuckled.

On his nightly walk Jason Green is murdered just because he overheard something he shouldn't have. The guy made it look like a suicide as a result of steroids so the police thought nothing of it. But when one of Jason's classmates, Terry Novak, hears about his death he doesn't believe any of it. He sets out to
Apr 17, 2011 Terry rated it really liked it
This is my first Parker, and now I'm curious about his adult titles, the one's that have been best sellers for decades. There are several things to like about this YA mystery: Terry and Abby are believable fifteen year olds and a good couple, the pacing is swift, the crime and solution make sense. My favorite line comes about 2/3 of the way through, when Terry's boxing coach, George, tells him that he's coaching him to be a good man. That piece was powerful, as were all the explorations of cruel ...more
Jan 27, 2009 Teen rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime
Review: High School Principal Bullard and a female member of a small beach town government bureaucracy are having an affair, plus they are trying to pull off a scheme, involving student built houses, that will financially benefit them both. All is under control until, a high school student, Jason Green, washes up on the beach. Bullard, and his governmental mistress, Mrs. Trent know they must do some major information control to keep the lid on. But Terry and his ‘girl’ friend’, Abby, don’t think ...more
Michelle Rocha
Plot and writing style make this book a winner for reluctant readers, but advanced readers have lots to love about it too. The story begins with a dead teenager and a high school freshman who just can't let it go. The two main characters, Terry and Abby, are the kind of people we all wish we could be. Their courage and persistence is especially unusual in a high school environment where the pressure to conform and to know your place in the social hierarchy mean survival. I appreciate that the bu ...more
Mark Soone
May 18, 2013 Mark Soone rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would probably rate this one a 3.5 if that were an option, but due to the personal intrigue of the boxing theme rounded up. Funny that I have been meaning to read one of parkers detective series or stand alones for a few years, and so far have only read his westerns (I hate westerns, but loved Parker's!), and this which I enjoyed a great deal. I have often heard people refer me to parker due to my enjoyment of Coben's works??? Not sure if they are similar, or just the way the recs have played ...more
Feb 23, 2015 Ed rated it really liked it
The second of three YA novels written by the author more at home with his detectives Spenser, Jesse Stone, et al.

Young Adult novel - 15 year old Terry Novak, a boxer in training, is disturbed by the reported suicide of a classmate. Despite threats by the principal and the top jock to mind his own business, Terry and his girlfriend determine to find out how and why their classmate died. Terry's boxing coach provides a moral and ethical compass.
Abby B
Jun 18, 2016 Abby B rated it did not like it
Do not read this book. It was utterly horrible. No plot whatsoever. Likewise, there was no real resolution at the end. This book, while extremely short, took me nearly a week to finish because I just didn't. want. to. read. it. It was that bad. And every chapter ended with the male protagonist making some creepy reference about sex to his female friend. It was so dumb. I feel dumber having read this book.
Jun 19, 2009 Patti rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Teens, mystery & sports fiction readers, fans of Robert B. Parker
Shelves: ya, read-in-2009, mystery
This book was a return to the best of Robert B. Parker. It was a good story of a young boxer, Terry, and his best friend, Abby who choose to find out what happened when the death of boy from school doesn't add up. It's declared a suicide, but this detecting duo don't believe that Jason had any reason to take his own life. The case expands to the captain of the football team, possibly the principal, and, impossibly to them, a town selectwoman running for governor. Terry also begins to learn and u ...more
Kathy Disanto
Jan 28, 2015 Kathy Disanto rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't read a lot of YA, Robert B. Parker and Harlan Coben being the exceptions to that rule. Parker manages to combine the charm of youth and innocence with the brand of smarts often displayed by his PI in the Spenser series. His YA characters are young, but hardly naive. The plots are interesting enough, with just enough grit, to hold your average adult without crossing the line into too much.
Jan 14, 2013 Bryan rated it really liked it
The book i just finsh was the The Boxer And The Spy by Robert B. Parker. I was really into this book because i enjoy boxing that what caught me into this book. What i dislike about this book was that it was long im not into long book but i wanted to finsh the whole thing because it really intersting. There is alot of characters in this story but the two main one are Terr,Abby,Kip Carter and last Mr.Bullard. one other character is George Terry boxing trainer and there more characters thtat help ...more
Lonna Pierce
Jan 18, 2014 Lonna Pierce rated it it was amazing
Loved it. Parker writes an insightful YA novel with a boxing metaphor as a wise construct to reveal how a boy can mature to a man with control, discipline & honor. Teenager, Jason Green, is dead of an apparent suicide, but it doesn't make sense to Terry and his friend, Amy. It turns out this is only the tip of a very ugly iceberg involving Kip Carter, All-American football star & juicer, a beastly bully of a high school principal, and a candidate for governor. Best of all is George, Terr ...more
Homewood Public Library
Feb 27, 2012 Homewood Public Library rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult, mystery
Jason Green washed up on the beach. The media reported it as a suicide, implying that it was linked with traces of steroids in the teen's system. But Terry, Abby and a few others don't believe Jason took steroids, or that he took his own life. They start digging for information, which leads to threats of suspension from the sketchy principal and threats of a beating from the obviously over-steroided football player Kip. Terry and Abby don't give up, but they do get sneakier. As Terry spends his ...more
Morris Graham
Sep 13, 2013 Morris Graham rated it it was amazing
I usually don't read teen fiction, but in my research for my own novel Warzone: Nemesis, I needed whatever I could find on boxing for a chapter I was writing. The MC of the story, Terry Novak, gets curious about a shy teen boy's death and starts to investigate. He enlists the aid of a girl he is sweet on, who is the "spy" half of the team, while they investigate a conspiracy of corruption both in the school they go to, and a local government official. What drew me to the book, as I said, was wan ...more
Douglas Cootey
Nov 18, 2010 Douglas Cootey rated it really liked it
Light, airy text. Short chapters. Small town mystery solved by teenagers. Boxing chapters served as metaphors for life. Thoughts on love, sex, and adulthood. Overall, a very good read. Engaging characters. Not overly involved plot that touches upon teenage feelings on isolation, responsibility, friendship, etc. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

My only complaint is that teenagers rarely think or say "What do I know about X, I am only 15". My experience with actual 15yos is that they think they are alread
Mar 23, 2016 Bernadette rated it really liked it
finished 2016-03-23. Solid story, if the ending was too pat for my taste. I will say this, Parker gave me a a new found respect for boxing as a disciplined sport. I have a hard time watching two people out to deliberately hurt one another but I like the way George explains the techniques and philosophy.
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database named Robert B. Parker.
Robert Brown Parker was an American crime writer. His most famous works were the novels about the private detective Spenser. ABC television network developed the television series Spenser: For Hire based on the character in the late 1980s; a series of TV movies based on the character were also produced.
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