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The Boy Who Could See Demons

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  4,333 ratings  ·  681 reviews
I first met my demon the morning that Mum said Dad had gone.

Alex Connolly is ten years old, likes onions on toast, and can balance on the back legs of his chair for fourteen minutes. His best friend is a 9000-year-old demon called Ruen. When his depressive mother attempts suicide yet again, Alex meets child psychiatrist Anya. Still bearing the scars of her own daughter’s
Hardcover, 268 pages
Published August 13th 2013 by Delacorte Press (first published May 10th 2012)
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Izzy Two different endings for two versions: the British edition and the American edition.
From what I recall the American publishers asked the author to ch…more
Two different endings for two versions: the British edition and the American edition.
From what I recall the American publishers asked the author to change the ending so that it would "fit" the American market or something like that.(less)
Tony I think this simply refers to a rather common occurrence during the troubles when places like leisure centres would be the subject of a bomb threat an…moreI think this simply refers to a rather common occurrence during the troubles when places like leisure centres would be the subject of a bomb threat and the people in the swimming pool would not have enough time to get dressed so they would be given towels or foil wraps and escorted from the premises until it was declared safe.(less)

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Average rating 3.87  · 
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 ·  4,333 ratings  ·  681 reviews

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Jun 25, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There's an Irishman, an Englishman, and a Scottish bloke washing the side of a skyscraper. Every day at lunchtime they sit on their balcony overlooking the city and eat their sandwiches. One day the Englishman opens his lunchbox and gets really angry. "Ham again!" he says. "If my wife packs me one more ham sandwich I'm going to throw myself off this balcony." The Scottish bloke opens his lunchbox and finds a cheese sandwich. "Cheese sarnies again!" he says. "If my wife packs me one more cheese s
Jeanette (Ms. Feisty)
This is an easy read about a difficult topic. It explores the demons of the mind rather than the demons of fantasy and horror novels. Make no mistake, these demons are terrifyingly real to those suffering from mental illness. Using the alternating voices of a ten-year-old boy and a middle-aged child psychiatrist, author Carolyn Jess-Cooke touches on issues of schizophrenia, dissociative identity disorder, and the burden of trauma that continues to weigh on those who grew up in Northern Ireland d ...more
Jul 15, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, uk, netgalley

Though structured and paced like a thriller, what this book really is, is a finely sketched portrait of pain. And I don't mean the passive kind, where you feel for characters because they have tragic back-stories. No, this pain is personal; it's deeper, more penetrating and quietly horrifying. When the finale played out, I swear my heart skipped a beat because I was so shocked, and then it just broke.

The Boy Who Could See Demons was a book I requested on a whim. I had no major expectations go
Mansuriah Hassan
Oct 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a refreshing story this is! The Boy Who Could See Demons is told in alternating chapters from the perspective of Alex Broccoli, a 10 year old boy who speaks maturely for his age and of Dr. Anya Molokova, a child psychologist who is grieving over the death of her daughter, Poppy, who killed herself because she was suffering from schizophrenia.

Alex lives with his mother, Cindy in Belfast who has attempted suicide few times. I would say that Alex seemed like an intriguing character. He is mat
Amber (amberinbookland)
I don’t think the combination of words exist for me to explain how much I love this book.

To start with I immediately love how the main character is a 10 year old because we often forget that young children can have mental disorders as well as adults and teenagers. I loved how the reader gets to really know Alex; as the boy who loves onions on toast and acting and not just as the boy who sees demons. I observed him as a boy with 2 distinct personalities, the independent boy who wants to protect
Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
This book was more of an 3.5 stars.

Alex is a young boy who lives with his mom in not the greatest of environments. She has tried to commit suicide several times and they are dirt poor. Alex is such an unusual boy though. He is way smarter than his years and there is the fact that he sees demons. In particular one demon named Ruen. Ruen appears to him mostly as a old man.

Ruen says he is helping Alex and I do see that he does that somethings but all in all-he is a shit. Being a demon allows t
~✡~Dαni(ela) ♥ ♂♂ love & semi-colons~✡~
This is a nuanced, deeply disturbing book, one that's difficult to review, precisely because it's brilliant. It's like peeling an onion: the more you peel, the more you realize there's always another layer.

Set in Northern Ireland in 2007, the book alternates between the point of view of Anya, a 43-year-old child psychiatrist grieving the suicide of her young daughter, and Alex, a 10-year-old boy living in the slums of Belfast with a depressed, suicidal mother, an absent father who disappeared a
May 21, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Demons propagate this novel to the point of a psychological nightmare, creating suspense and tension with every turn of the page. But it’s not always the demons on the outside, the ones that are clearly evil and visible, that we need to try to eradicate. Many times the demons on the inside, the ones that appear when we look in the mirror, are just as bad, if not worse than the fiends who tear through society with more force than a tornado.

Every time I sit down at my laptop computer in a writing
Diane S ☔
Feb 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Anya, a respected psychiatrist, returns to Belfast in an effort to change the very real problem of the lack of psychiatric care available to treat the very real problems those who have lived through The Troubles and their children are experiencing. Cindy, a young mother, has tried to commit suicide and not for the first time. Her young son, Alex has tried to hurt a teacher and claims to see a demon named Ruen, who is telling him to do these things. Anya is assigned to the case of Alex.

Alex quick
May 06, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
One in five Northern Irish children will experience major mental health problems before their eighteenth birthday, with case studies flagging self-harm as a response to confrontation and shame for family involvement in violence.

This was an easy-reading book about a very interesting topic. It shows just how thin the line between reality and psychosis is. As a mom I can't imagine watching your child struggle with schizophrenia, there must be few things that would make you feel more helpless than
Stuti Rai
Jul 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Pop your demons, burn your cookies and gather round the fire!

This is a very strange novel and a hard one to review, because everything I say might come out as a spoiler, now that I've read the ending and I know things for what they are.

The book swings between the narratives of Alex, the boy who could see demons, and Anya, the psychiatrist assigned to his case. While the issue at the crux of the novel is demons(or mental illness, if you aren't given to fantasies), from schizophrenia and depressi
Patrice Hoffman
The Boy Who Could See Demons by Carolyn Jess-Cooke is one of the most profound novels I've read in a while. Because of its protagonists, a deeply troubled ten-year old who can see demons and Anya, a psychiatrist who has her own demons to contend with. The Boy Who Could See Demons explores the affects of living in Northern Ireland during its political/religious conflict, PTSD, childhood schizophrenia, suicide, psychosis, and other supernatural occurances.

The voice of this novel alternates between
Bel Murphy
Aug 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: to-revisit, 2013
Having mulled this over, it's a 4.5 star rather than a 5.

This was a wake up call for me as an Irish person, albeit of the southern variety. The 1998 peace agreement brought to an uneasy conclusion 29 years of conflict in Northern Ireland, a period in which countless people on both sides of the divide lost their lives and where families were torn apart. The ceasefire was heralded as a new chapter in the province, filled with hope for an end to terror and violence.

That's the fairy story.

The re
How did I get through this whole book without realizing that Alex's last name was Broccoli?

I've come across children with different special abilities, but never one who saw demons, so the premise of this book interested me. There have been friends and family, who have deep troubles and debilitating mental illness, which, especially when talking to others, I refer to as so-and-so's demons. I was curious to see how this would play out.

Well written, captivating, heartbreaking, with a major twist th
Jul 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites, arc
4.5/5 Stars

E-ARC contributed by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

You know, this was my first really awesome experience with an ARC; I requested this title because of the gorgeous cover and because of the captivating descriptive blurb, but I got so much more than I thought I would. I got an amazingly engaging read that pulled me in one-hundred percent and beguiled me so much that I actually lost sleep over it. It's so rewarding as a reader to be treated to a true psychological thriller
May 09, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
The Boy Who Could See Demons is a Delacorte Press publication. The book was released in 2012.
Anya is a therapist that has dealt with mental illnesses her whole life, beginning with her mother, then with her daughter, Poppy. Sadly, Poppy lost her battle and died.
Now Anya has been given the case of ten year old Alex. Alex has witnessed his mother, Cindy, attempt suicide. Cindy has attempted suicide numerous times. Alex is above average in intelligence and vocabulary. But, he is deeply troubled. H
Thomas Edmund
SPOILER ALERT (throughout whole review)

The Boy Who Could See Demons intriguingly weaves together two narratives, that of the determined psychiatrist, and that of the supernaturally visioned boy. To say that this book was inspired by the sixth sense would be an understatement (although I note the end twist is NOT that the shrink is a demon.)

The novel has some real strengths throwing the two perspectives together as it does. The key tension of the novel is the question of whether the demons are re
Maureen DeLuca
Oct 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is an amazing book about a very hard subject to talk about - Mental Illness. This book will grab your attention from the very beginning .... to a stunner of an ending.... Well worth the time to read this - xx
Carol -  Reading Writing and Riesling
Aug 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
A fascinating read! I was totally engaged in this story, a story that charts a passage through an alien landscape (Ireland, “The Troubles” and mental illness), territories that are painted in the grim shades of reality yet this is a picture that offers an optimism that speaks of healing and better times ahead.

The characters depicted in this book are both realistic and empathetic. Alex’s mother is depressed, self destructive and cries out for help and yet amongst this gloom her light shines on t
Nov 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Boy Who Could See Demons is a deeply moving, yet charmingly insightful, tale of a young boy in Belfast. It’s more topical than the title suggests as the author delicately dances around the topics of: mental health (its treatment and cultural perceptions), the abilities of the social service system, and the ramifications of The Troubles. Though the issues seem serious, Alex’s witty and innocent nature keeps the story more light-hearted and hopeful. Carolyn Jess-Cooke has created a new type of ...more
Aug 06, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
IlovethisbookIlovethisbookIlovethisbookIlovethisbook. I already want them to make it into a movie so I can buy it on Blu-Ray.

I couldn't stop reading this once I started. It was a light, yet entertaining/disturbing read--perfect for reading straight through on a long car ride. (Side note: I have discovered reading on my Nook while in a moving car DOES NOT make me carsick! Woot!) This book + a kid that can drive = Good Road Trip.
Aug 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013

I picked this book up because I saw it on GR's Karen's bookshelf with a high rating and a good review. The premise seemed interesting, and then the cover was particularly appealing. After I bought it I was super excited to read it solely because of that cover! So when I was deciding on a book to take with me on a trip to Maui, I chose this one despite my misgivings about it's weight and bulk in my carry on bag! ( I purchased this in hardcover, which is a rare thing for me. Because I carry whatev
Shahirah Loqman
For more book reviews, visit my blog:

“I feel the human mind is a jigsaw puzzle that I will never be able to solve.”

This book blew me away.

If you're looking for a mild cross-over between Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend and Gone Girl, The Boy Who Could See Demons is something worth checking out.I found a hardback copy of this book at a local bookstore called BookXcess, and after remembering someone recommending it to me on Instagram, I picked it up.

And man w
Dec 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I feel like there's a lot that I wanted to say about this book. Just a second a go I was reading about Ruen and Alex and I feel their emotions, as if it was talking to me directly. How shall I start?
The beginning of this book was intriguing. Now I can honestly say that I really love when a story started with some random explanation made by kids. Alex started talking to you as he was writing to his diary. He started by telling he saw demons. All kinds of them. The precision of the description was
Aug 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
The Boy Who could See Demons is a really good surprise find. I stumbled across it at Waterstone's Tottenham a few months ago and the sound of it really appealed to my random reading muse.


One chapter, one character. Alex’s story and Anya’s (him:10 years old and her: Alex Psy).

- Alex’s chapters chronicle him struggling to deal with his mother’s issues and upholding his relationship with a demon.
- Anya’s chapters follow as she investigates and diagnoses Alex’s illness while continuing to deal wit
Emma Kerry
Aug 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am struggling to review this as it is so amazing that I cannot find the words to summarise it effectively. The demons referred to are not demons in the physical sense, but emotional. This is a fast-paced psychological thriller of the best kind. I read it in one sitting, unable to put it down. I kept telling myself ‘just one more page’ until I finally reached the end around 3am. Even after I had finished, I found myself thinking about it. It is a completely disturbing story with so many layers, ...more
Aug 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
A lot of us can struggle with our own inner demons. They can take the form of alcoholism, depression, self-confidence etc. How would these inner demons manifest themselves if you were a young boy living with the constant threat of violence in Northern Ireland? Add to that, living in poverty and enduring a number of family tragedies. This great book explores these themes with compassion and elegance. A not yet fully formed mind cannot protect itself from what young Alex faces in this story. As a ...more
Saar The Book owl
So, I seriously don't know what to say after reading this book and not in a bad way at all. I had this book for a couple of years on my tbr - pile, buit for some reason never picked it up. Untill now...
I started reading with the expectation of being it an YA fantasy, horror of somethin like that - book, but I ended with open mouth and grabbed by my throat. It wasn't what I expected at all: if you're looking for a book about demonical possesion, the history of 'The Throubles' in Northern Ireland,
Jim Howell
Feb 04, 2021 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2021
Oh Lord, am I sorry I devoted another hour to finish this. A soap opera ending. All I could think of was Joey as Dr. Drake Ramoray from "Friends" in a deus ex machina ending. Just a wretched ending - my notes from before finishing the book follow and held out some hope: at 75% I wanted to DNF but did want to see how it ended. And at 1/3 finished, I knew the book was overrated and wanted to DNF, but thought the plot, at least, had merit, if not the writing, which I found facile and uninteresting. ...more
Aug 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So much to love about this book. The characters, the setting, the breakdown of demons in our lives...this is one I will be returning to.
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Letras Macabras: Mi amigo el Demonio, de Carolyn Jess-Cooke 14 111 Feb 06, 2021 06:07PM  
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I'm the author of the award-winning poetry collection INROADS (Seren, 2010) and THE GUARDIAN ANGEL'S JOURNAL, published by Little, Brown in the UK and Guideposts Books in the US, as well as 22 other languages. My second novel, THE BOY WHO COULD SEE DEMONS, was released in May 2012. I have also written/co-edited four academic books in the fields of Shakespeare and film. The US version of THE BOY WH ...more

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