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Ostrich Boys

3.54 of 5 stars 3.54  ·  rating details  ·  672 ratings  ·  137 reviews
'It's not really kidnapping, is it? He'd have to be alive for it to be proper kidnapping.'

Kenny, Sim and Blake are about to embark on a remarkable journey of friendship. Stealing the urn containing the ashes of their best friend Ross, they set out from Cleethorpes on the east coast to travel the 261 miles to the tiny hamlet of Ross in Dumfries and Galloway. After a depress
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Paperback, 368 pages
Published September 1st 2008 by Definitions (Young Adult)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,340)
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Monica!
No lie, friends, I picked Ostrich Boys up solely because of this:

“I suppose it was all right Miss Dean being there. Ross always said he thought she was okay.”

“She’s a librarian,” Sim said. “They’re not teachers; they don’t give you half as much hassle. If there’s a fire in the school and I’ve got to choose who I’m gonna save—a teacher or a librarian—the teacher’s gonna burn every time.”

Kenny and I agreed. Harsh but true.


Loves it.

Anyway, the actual story. So Blake, Sim, Kenny and Ross have The Mo
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bup
This book accomplishes a lot. First, It's a coming-of-age/loss-of-innocence story, wherein three 15-year-old friends take the ashes of their recently dead fourth friend on a journey they all need. Second, it's a book that reminds you that no matter what happens on a road trip, road trips are always worth it. Third, it's sickly funny.

Before I go on, I need to say I won this book in the goodreads 'giveaways' program.

So, yeah, these three mates (that's British for 'friends') take their mate's (frie
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Raya
"Ross was hit by a car, knocked off his bike. At the funeral the vicar had called it an accident. But somehow the word wasn't enough. It wasn't big enough, powerful enough--didn't mean enough. He hadn't spilled a cup of tea, he hadn't tripped over his own feet. He'd had his life smashed out of him. It felt like there should be a whole new word invented just to describe it."


Upset over the loss of their best friend, Ross, and displeased by his funeral, Blake, Sim, and Kenny all agree: their dead m
...more
Liza Gilbert
I struggled with how to review this book. The first thirty-fifty pages are hard to read. The rhythm is different, and the author seems to use more words than are necessary.

But, after the first fifty pages, it either became easier to read or was written differently. The gist of the story is that four high school boys are tight friends until one of them (Ross) dies in a biking/automobile incident. The other three decide to steal Ross' ashes and take him to Ross, Scotland, a place Ross (the person)
...more
Montanamarynotmartha
This book has a very different story line than most books I read. It's the story of four 15 year-old boys who experience a tragedy when one of the boys is killed in a bicycle accident. The remaining three boys seek to give their friend a proper funeral by taking his ashes to the one place in Britain he always wanted to go - the place that holds his name - Ross. The boys not only experience adventure, they find themselves searching deep within themselves to solve the biggest question everyone is ...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Sally Kruger aka "Readingjunky" for TeensReadToo.com

OSTRICH BOYS is about friendship and loyalty. Blake, Sim, and Kenny just lost their best friend, Ross. Hit by a car while riding his bike, he is gone and they can hardly believe it.

After the boys attend his funeral, they decide the ceremony didn't do their friend justice. Ross was so much more than a collection of words and hymns. As a sort of revenge for the fact that he was taken in such unfair circumstances and at an early age, t
...more
Joseph Delaney
I read and write fantasy but occasionally step outside that genre to sample something else. On this occasion I was delighted to read the ‘Ostrich Boys’. Three boys steal the urn that contains the ashes of their best friend, called ‘Ross’ and flee north. They have decided to scatter his remains near the hamlet of ‘Ross’ in Scotland. It is a journey of self-discovery as they gradually lift their heads out of the sand. This is a book that you will never forget.
Alejandra
After reading this book in less than 24 hours, I have to agree with The Herald when they say that "if there were more writers like Keith Gray, more teenagers would read". Mr. Gray certainly knows the way a teenage mind works and he writes with such force that you can't help get sucked in the story.
This is the tale of Sim, Burke and Kenny; three 15 year old boys who have just lost his friend Ross in a terrible accident. All of them agree that no one really understood Ross, and feel the need to gi
...more
Sue Wargo
This is the quintessential buddy book. When high school friend Ross dies in an accident, the remaining three buddies decide that his ashes need to be taken to a town north of their home called Ross. Almost like a bad joke, the boys steal the urn from Ross's family and set off on a journey to pay respects to their friend. There are antics such as losing the back pack, not enough money,missing a stop in the transit, picking up girls, ans sleeping in an abandoned house. All the while the boys are i ...more
Sydney →☺
Ostrich Boys entertained me the whole way. It simply made me smile -- there's nothing better than an illegal road trip taken by 15-year-old boys filled with... well, boyish antics (though there was nothing really daring about any of it, besides taking the actual trip). However, that's all it was to me. Throughout the novel, I wanted to know what happened, but it didn't really hook me. I enjoyed the characters and the flaws they clearly all had, but I didn't see much character devlopment. Althoug ...more
Eva Mitnick
Sensible, stocky Blake is our narrator, and he makes it seem an inevitable result of the trio's true friendship with and understanding of their friend Ross that they steal his cremated ashes (not long after he has been killed by a car while riding his bike) and abscond with them to Ross, Scotland. As it turns out, they didn't understand Ross - or each other, or themselves - as well as they thought, but after a whirlwind trip full of missteps, bonding, quarreling, girls, and bungee jumping, thing ...more
Amber Wortz
Amber Wortz
Adventure

This is a young adult novel set in the UK, where 3 best friends run away from home to spread their dead best friend's ashes after his family gave him a funeral that they didn't approve on. On their adventure to Ross, Scotland they have to hitchhike, stow away on trains and bungee jump to get to their destination. On their journey that also discover things they didn't know about each other and about their deceased friend.

I thought this was a pretty realistic book about the tho
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Marten
I was really taken by this story. I could not put it down. I found that both the physical journey across England and Scotland was entertaining while the emotional and psychological journey was compelling. The way the author weaves these journeys, the boys trials and their growth is all well conceived and delivered. I recognize that the author was capturing the common tongue of the middle class Brit, but the language (swearing) was a bit too much for teaching in my seventh grade class. Yet I woul ...more
Rachael
I've seen this book a lot before picking it up and didn't think much of it, when reading the blurb. Death isn't the easiest subject to read about. But I'm trying to do the Ultimate Teen Book Guide Challenge (read all the books mentioned in the book!) and this is one of them.

I have to say I really enjoyed it. It's probably more a 4.5 book... but I don't usually give out a 5 star and I think this one was deserved. I love the British-ness of the book. I really got into the book, reading about the t
...more
Gunne
This book almost ended up on the 'read-but-didn't-finish' shelf. I'm so glad it didn't!

3.5 stars. It had a really weak beginning, but Ostrich Boys easily became one of those books that really started to endear to me after the halfway mark. This is a story about friendship, grief, denial and self-discovery, and although it was quite dreary to begin with, it was unexpectedly poignant and bittersweet towards the end. It was even slightly funny, in an inappropriate sort of way... kinda like when thi
...more
Catherine  Mustread
Sep 16, 2010 Catherine Mustread rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Catherine by: Costa'08 children's list
Three boys steal the ashes of their newly deceased friend to take him on a final journey to a place in Scotland that bears his name. Despite the somberness of the journey, there is humor, banter, mishaps and arguments as they share this road trip and emotional journey to a new understanding of friendship. Reminiscent of Jenny Valentine's Me, the Missing, and the Dead, John Green's Paper Towns and An Abundance of Katherines and Siobhan Dowd's Solace of the Road. They travel by train, taxi, bus, m ...more
Fred Gorrell
This "road trip" novel is a great choice for less seasoned teenage readers; the language and structure are not complex, but it is definitely not a book for little kids. Of extra value for U.S. teenagers, some of the new vocabulary is slang from England (tennis shoes are trainers, a fool or jerk is a tosser).

The meaning of the title is left unexplained until nearly the end of the novel, when it becomes clear that the boys have been overlooking some things they should have seen. They stole the as
...more
Teen
Fifteen-year old Ross is dead from being hit by a car while riding his bike, and his best friends Kenny, Sim, and Blake are angry after the depressing funeral. There has been a suggestion that what happened to Ross was really suicide, but the boys dismiss this. They feel that they’re the only ones who really knew Ross, and so they’re the only ones who can give Ross a proper funeral. The boys steal Ross’s ashes and take him from their town of Cleethorpes on the east coast of England to the town o ...more
Stacie ~ ninja or spy
Three friends Blake, Sim, and Kenny are mad that their friend Ross's funeral sucked. Blake, the narrator, as well as the other boys thought the funeral was not enough and that two many people who didn't even care about Ross were there, pretending to be upset. As a form of revenge, Sim, the angry quick to act one grabs some spray paint and writes HAUNTED BY ROSS FELL, on a couple of people's property. While Blake tries to dissuade Sim from attacking the next victim, Nina (Ross's ex-girlfriend), h ...more
Angela
Three boys are determined to make things right for their dead best friend by giving him a proper funeral after the travesty his parents and church put on.

Sim, Kenny, Blake and Ross have been best friends for ages, until suddenly Ross dies in an accident - his bike was hit by a car. The three boys are angry and sad, and decide the best sendoff for Ross would be to take him to the town of Ross in Scotland, where he'd always wanted to visit but had never quite managed.

The road trip is off to a bad
...more
Scrittevolmente
L’incipit di questo romanzo mi ha interessata fin da subito: il funerale di un ragazzo, tre inseparabili amici, la voglia di riscattare la sua memoria e decidere di rendere il suo ricordo indelebile e allo stesso tempo di realizzare uno dei desideri della sua vita che quindi li spinge a rubare l’urna che contiene le sue ceneri e intraprendere un viaggio in treno che li condurrà a Ross – il nome del loro stesso amico – tra peripezie e disastri.
Insomma, l’inizio non è forse dei più innovativi ma d
...more
Laura
I've been meaning to read something by Keith Gray for a while now, so when earlier in the year I noticed the Rep in Birmingham was putting on a performance of Ostrich Boys I had to go - especially as the ticket was only £5. This in turn made me want to read the novel it was based on before I went and I'm glad I did (the play was fab though).

The story centres around three boys dealing with the death of their friend Ross and decide to honour his wish to visit a town which shared his name so Ross w
...more
Chloe Sanders
I'm not gonna lie, I picked this book solely on the front cover. It ended up being a really good book actually. I felt like I could relate the young boys in lots of ways. There was death, revenge, travel, laughs, and some sadness. I would have liked to gone on an adventure like the characters when I was their age, even though it was under bad circumstances. I loved the British humor! This is a great coming of age story, and I felt myself caring for each character even though at times they were a ...more
Cedric
Ostrich Boys is a book written by Keith Gray that is set in present day England and Scotland. The book begins on a “…warm June night…” (Page 3, Ostrich Boys), and ends two nights later at dusk. Blake, Sim, and Kenny travel from their homes in Cleethorpes, England with their dead friend Ross’ ashes to the small town of Ross, Scotland. Ross had always wanted to visit Ross when he was still alive, and Blake, Sim, and Kenny want to provide a proper memorial service for their dead friend. Along the w ...more
Latricia
This British import might sound like a stock novel if you just look at the quick summary. Boy is bullied, ends up dead, his friends are working through their grief and trying to understand what happened. But if you pass up the experience of reading this book you'll be missing some laugh out loud moments of teen boys doing what they do best; getting into trouble, hanging out, and being friends.

Blake, Kenny, and Sim have all been friends with Ross for years. Kenny since they were tots, Sim since p
...more
Lauren Hough
*SPOILERS*

I would have given this book another star if I hadn't disliked the ending so much.

So much happens in the first day they are away that it's hard to believe there is enough time in the day to do that many things. Then the second day comes around and there are less than a few chapters dedicated to it.

I wasn't satisfied with the ending. It wasn't that Ross committed suicide, but that Blake, Sim, and Kenny turned out to be such crappy friends who didn't really know Ross as well as they thou
...more
Sue
Blake, Kenny and Sim have just lost their best mate, Ross, to a car accident. Having attended the funeral and coming out dissatisfied with the way Ross's life was celebrated, the three teenagers decide to make a pilgrimage to the town of Ross, in Scotland, a place Ross once tried to runaway to. Only one problem, they have to steal his ashes first.
With that mission accomplished - messily - they embark on a 2 day train journey to Ross and thus begins an adventure and a journey of self-discovery f
...more
Bethany Miller
Blake, Sim, Kenny and Ross have been best friends for years. When Ross is struck by a car and killed while riding his bike one day, the other three boys are devastated. All three agree that Ross’s funeral was not a suitable way to say good-bye to him. It was filled with hypocrites and people who had never really known Ross at all, so it’s up to them to give Ross a proper farewell. Blake remembers that Ross had always wanted to visit the town of Ross in Scotland. He had seen it on a map once and ...more
Runa
Ehhhh. The first few pages and the last few pages basically could have carried the whole story. Throughout the whole middle, Ross is the elephant in the room, and without him featuring prominently in the road trip, it's just another boring road trip story. And that's kind of the point, how the other three characters avoided facing the reality of his death, but it just doesn't make for good storytelling. Wish there had been more emotion evenly distributed throughout the whole book.
Andrew Lear
This book is a very relatable book. Apart from where they grew up, the main characters have a relatable sense of friendship. They feel like they know their dead friend Ross better than anyone else, and with good reason, so when they go to his funeral and see Ross' bully, ex-girlfriend, and most hated teacher, they fell they need to take action. This relates to me on a personal scale because whenever I see one of my friends being bullied, I feel the need to take action.
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In his earliest years, Grimsby-born Keith Gray turned from reluctant reader to passionate reader – then straight on to being a dedicated writer. He published Creepers (1996), which was shortlisted for the 1997 Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize, in his early twenties, and since then has penned a number of award-winning and critically-acclaimed novels. He is a reviewer of teenage fiction for the Gua ...more
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“She's a librarian, Sim said. They're not teachers; don't give you half as much hassle. If there's a fire in the school and I've got to choose who I'm gonna save - a teacher or a librarian - the teacher's gonna burn every time.
(p. 24)”
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