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The Boy in the Smoke (Shades of London, #0.5)
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The Boy in the Smoke

(Shades of London #0.5)

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  1,588 ratings  ·  203 reviews
On a cold night, Stephen Dene went to the Eton boathouse to perform a desperate act. But someone stopped him along the way, sending his life in a new and decidedly strange direction–leading him to London, to two new friends, and to a world of shadows and mystery.
Paperback, 86 pages
Published February 24th 2014 by Hot Key Books (first published February 19th 2014)
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Natasha Measom If you live in the UK they still sell them in Waterstones really cheep if not I think you can order it through their website.

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Average rating 4.12  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,588 ratings  ·  203 reviews

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Jan 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Stephen and Regina protecting one another from their parents


Stephen having to live without his sister

Stephen's dad threatening him

Peter saving Stephen

Stephen saving Peter

Happy policeman Stephen

Suddenly remembering the ending of the Madness Underneathdescription
Cora Tea Party Princess
Feb 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
5 Words: heartbreaking, sad, dark, wonderful, interesting.

It is not bad that I've called this book sad, dark and heartbreaking. It is good and it is necessary.

If you have ever read the Shades of London books then read this. If you plan to read the Shades of London books then read this. And if you don't plan to do either? Read this anyway.

This short broke my heart as I read it, and it made me understand Stephen so much more. I thought I'd read it in a flash, but I ended up reading it twice, and t
Excuse me whilst I find a gif to properly represent my feelings.

One month later update:


I feel like I could do better.

Oh my poor Stephen.


After reading this short story, I definitely understand a lot more about him. He was horribly treated by his parents, the only person that truly cared about him died, and he had no place to go. Be forewarned though; the second part of the story is the most heartbreaking part. Seriously, I NEVER cry in books or short stories, but that one damn part made me cry like a baby.
After reading this, you'll want to go give Stephen a cupcake and cuddle with him and make sure he
3.5 stars

Stephen's POV/prequel novella. This was a pretty decent read, Stephen was a far more endearing and likeable narrator than what's her name in the main novels. It was quite interesting reading about his past, his horrid family, and how he ended up being a policeman/ghostbuster. The only thing I really, really hated was the poorly written Britishisms - ugh, just ugh.
When I saw this on Goodreads, I knew I just had to read this.

A new story + Prequel + Stephen = perfect combination.

This prequel tells us about Stephen, starting when he was young, then when he went to Eton and what happened there to the hospital and further.

I really loved this story, loved that we finally find out more about Stephen (who is after all a very important character in the series). His past was really sad (we had some hints here and there I believe in the main books), his parents were
Jan 13, 2017 rated it did not like it
Wow. I'm shocked by all these awesome reviews. Am I the only one who thought that Regina was kind of just as much of an asshole as her parents? And yeah, I can't like a book, if I hate all of its characters.

Stephen whom I liked a lot after reading the first instalment in the series, now has lost his value in my eyes. There's of course such thing as abuse (emotional in this case) from parents who are rich, yet this story in no way made me see that anyone would want to solve the problem, they wer
May 07, 2014 rated it liked it
Since I am in the mood for guy protagonist lately, I decided to venture out of my usual sub-genres in Young Adult and read this book. The Boy in the Smoke is a novella and prequel for a series I haven’t even read, but I managed to enjoy this book a lot nonetheless.

We are introduced to Stephen, a quiet boy trained to obey authorities, and his dysfunctional family. In the cold house where his parents never have time for him, Stephen’s only friend is his sister, Gina. But Gina, cheerful yet self-de
Oct 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Full Review -

I loved this little novella. I loved reading about our main character Stephen and to see how he became who he was and what his family situation had been like when he was growing up. I also loved the ghost aspect in this story and this little novella even left me so heartbroken for such a short book, but because of this novella, I really can't wait to start and read the Shades of London series!
Mar 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Got this book for free yesterday as part of world book day, finished it last night. Wow. It was amazing. But I only just found out its a prequel, can't wait to read the others :)
Shelby (shelbyymay)
Sep 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Super quick read but detailed enough considering its size. Fast paced and intriguing, so I am tempted to read the rest of the series.

Trigger warnings: attempts of suicide, substance misuse.
Allie Riley
Apr 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Loved this little book. Very absorbing. Characterisation and plotting are both done very well indeed. I'm hooked! I now need to find out more about Stephen's adventures.
Sep 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
*5 stars*

okay now what am I supposed to do with my life.
I spend the last four days reading three Shades of London books and this journey has now officially come to an end.
Now what.
But honestly, I love Stephen with all my heart and soul and everything and this book gave me a better understanding of his sucky life. I also like how it shows his life before he became a police officer-slash-secret-agent and therefore showed how happy (Stephen's version) he must have been in his new role. I love you,
Mar 24, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have the Shades of London series in my list for my Series challenge and I decided that I ought to start with the shorter book that is also the beginning.

This novella starts in a very prosaic way, with the story of Stephen, a boy of a wealthy family that is ignored by his parents. He wants to be a policeman and do something useful but since he's always been a good boy and do what he's supposed to, he ends up going to Eton and continue to be ignored by his parents.

There are some big issues dealt
Feb 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult
I always knew Stephen's parents were douchecanoes, but I honestly never thought they would be THIS bad. And it's wonderful to finally have the real details into his back story (plus, the good old fashion ghost portions were AMAZING.) And to finally know what his sister was like (and to have her name given) was a great piece to the puzzle, and seeing her personality and how she treated him also gives some good indicators as to why he latched on to Rory so quickly, despite how standoffish he could ...more
Feb 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015-favourites
Oh My God!!!

I have had this short and the first book for quite some time now and, sadly, I have to admit that I only picked this up because I didn't want to start a full book the day before the release of a book I've been waiting for. So this novel became a 'stop over' if you like.

What I didn't expect was the easy flow of writing, the way the story wrapped its way around me and sucked me right into the life of young Stephen Dene... and it was simply amazing, sad, heart breaking and a look into w
Rob Damon
Mar 22, 2014 rated it liked it
A well written and interesting ghost story, with only 80 pages it was a breeze to get through. It tells the story of Stephen Dene, who comes from a rich but dysfunctional family. His parents are hideous.

After attempting suicide, Stephen is able to see ghosts and befriends a boy named Peter who drowned at his school and is stuck in a limbo state. This ability leads him to a new life in London, where he becomes a ‘ghostbuster’ of sorts, and doesn’t have to see his vile parents again.

I enjoyed eve
Emiliee Green
Mar 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book made my year. After reading The shades of London series last autumn I was literally left in an emotional rut, I was a mess.

I think I re-read the last page of the Madness underneath like 500 times still not able to acknowledge what happened.
This book only made me love Stephen as a character more, I sooooo need the next book now.

Dec 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
SO FULL OF ALL THE STEPHEN FEELS. I can't words right now. Only feels. But surprising feels. Like, feels where you'd expect them, but also SO MANY FEELS WHERE YOU WOULDN'T. I just... Gah.

No coherent review coming. If you've read books 1 and 2 in this series, get your hands on this novella whenever it becomes available to you, because you NEED IT. That's all I'll say.
Apr 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
So good! A great little story about how Stephen joined the force. Since he's my favorite character so far, it was nice to read a little more about him. (view spoiler) ...more
♡Julalicious Book Paradise♡
Jan 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ebooks-i-own
I really enjoyed reading about Stephen's past. We always got little bits in the books, but to really get the whole thing was awesome. I think anyone who loves the series need to read this. You get to see Stephen under a new light.
Forgot how good this series is and now I am desperate to read The Madness Underneath. And to re-read The Name of the Star....
Gary Mcgibbon
Mar 26, 2014 rated it liked it
A quick and easy read.
Horrid rich parents and two kids wanting to break their chains.
Good little ghost story.
That's it really.
May 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
If you read the Shades of London series, you have to read this novella. THE FEELS.

Overall: 10/10
Plot: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Characters: 5/5
Cover: 3/5
Lia Ung
Jun 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone who's read The Shades of London series
Recommended to Lia by: Alea
A quick read and a must for everyone who's read the The Name of the Star and The Madness Underneath. Both sad and adorable.
Priya Appleby
Oct 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
I got this book for world book day because I thought it would be a great way to sample Maureen Johnson's writing...


I have to start this series now!!!
Nicole Hersh
Mar 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
I liked this short story more than I liked The Shadow Cabinet. It's a nice backstory of Stephen which helps us really understand him and where he's coming from.
4.5 stars.
Jan 09, 2016 rated it liked it
*3.7 stars*

Bronwyn Lok
Sep 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult, fantasy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Maureen knew from an early age she wanted to be a writer. She went to high school at an all-girls' Catholic school and graduated from University of Delaware with a degree in writing. She now lives and writes in New York City.

Many of the adventures Maureen's characters face in her books are based on real-life stories. Maureen has traveled all over Europe, and is a Secret Sister to vlog brothers Han

Other books in the series

Shades of London (4 books)
  • The Name of the Star (Shades of London, #1)
  • The Madness Underneath (Shades of London, #2)
  • The Shadow Cabinet (Shades of London, #3)
  • Untitled (Shades of London, #4)

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