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The Boxer and the Spy

3.56 of 5 stars 3.56  ·  rating details  ·  798 ratings  ·  96 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
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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

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
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
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
Davis Porath
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
***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
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
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
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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
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 4 of 5 stars
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
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
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.
Jun 19, 2009 Patti rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Teens, mystery & sports fiction readers, fans of Robert B. Parker
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
I haven't ever read a Robert B. Parker novel, and I can understand what everyone is saying about his incredible dialogue. Terry is not an overly complicated boy, with the basic motivations of an essentially good person. He is head-over-heels for the flirtatious, intelligent Abby, and the two of them banter continually about sex even though they've never had it and aren't sure they want to have it. The zen-like wisdom of the capable George balances the easy back and forth of the pair and the chat ...more
David Ward
The Boxer and the Spy by Robert B. Parker (Philomel Books 2008) (Fiction - Teen) is one of the master's few forays into the world of mystery books for young readers. The plot revolves around a group of young high-schoolers who band together to solve a mystery in their hometown. Along the way they manage to overcome injustice and to defeat any number of prejudices of various sorts. The author's approach to this story is a step more sophisticated than the stories in the "Encyclopedia Brown" myster ...more
Spenser lite for teens. That's not a bad thing. Parker clearly had strong feelings about masculinity and moral codes and it's kind of fun to see him work with a young male protagonist figuring those things out.
Dec 16, 2011 Jill rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2011
While a murder mystery, a more important theme of The Boxer and the Spy is how teenagers can do the things they set their minds to, despite the limitations of not being adults. Robert B. Parker also makes an understandable case for how learning to fight, in this case, boxing, can give people the confidence and self-control that allows them to avoid unnecessary violence.

This book contains drugs, homosexuality, infidelity, sex, smoking, and swearing.
Kelly Thielen
Easy-to-read mystery with high school detective team. Reluctant readers will like the white space and the short chapters. Average mystery that includes some boxing and little romance.

Booktalk Notes: When shy Jason Green's body washes up on a beach and the cause of death is determined to be related to steroid use, his classmates don't believe it. In fact, Terry Novak and his friend Abby are especially suspicious and make it their job to investigate. When they start getting close to an answer, thr
This novel was quite entertaining and enjoyable. It was interesting to see Parker take a 15 year old character and start to build him into the same kind of self-contained man that we see in Spenser. Terry is also somewhat of a loner, with a dead father and always drunk mother, but he raises above this disadvantage. He has found a father figure in a retired boxer, George, who is teaching Terry to box and how to be a man. This relationship is really more interesting than the plot itself, and in so ...more
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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.
More about Robert B. Parker...
The Godwulf Manuscript (Spenser, #1) Sixkill (Spenser, #39) Painted Ladies (Spenser, #38) Chance (Spenser, #23) Split Image (Jesse Stone, #9)

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