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Dead Boy

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  585 ratings  ·  107 reviews
A darkly funny and literary debut novel about a dead boy named Crow who has a chance at friendship - and a chance at getting his life back

Just because you’re dead doesn’t mean you don’t deserve a life.

Crow Darlingson died in the 4th grade. But he’s still alive. And growing, actually. He can’t eat or taste anything, his body parts sometimes fall off (mom always sews them
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published September 29th 2015 by Crown Books for Young Readers
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Laurel Gale I hope you're enjoying it!

(I got asked about inspiration a couple of days ago, so the answer that follows is the same. If you want to know more about…more
I hope you're enjoying it!

(I got asked about inspiration a couple of days ago, so the answer that follows is the same. If you want to know more about something, please feel free to ask a follow up question and I'll try to get back to it.)

I’ve always enjoyed stories that mix fantasy and realistic elements, so I think it made sense for me to write about a boy who could be considered a monster but is really just a normal kid in a lot of ways.

I was daydreaming (putting off other writing I was supposed to be working on, actually) when I imagined Crow. I pictured him as this sweet boy who just happened to be dead and very lonely as a result. The entire story started with this idea for Crow’s character. Then I came up with a friend and an adventure for him. (less)

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Average rating 3.99  · 
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 ·  585 ratings  ·  107 reviews

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Ivonne Rovira
Jul 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: worried mothers
Recommended to Ivonne by: NetGalley
Crow is one of the Undead. No, not like a zombie or vampire! He died years ago while in the fourth grade, and, although a body part may occasionally fall off (to be sewn back in place by his dutiful and still-alive mother) and he smells of rotting flesh, Crow remains on earth. Allowed to leave the house just on Halloween, Crow leads a very lonely existence. Which explains why the boy chooses to slip out one night in the hopes of making one friend: Melody Plympton, newly moved in next door.

3.5/5. The characters are amazing. I personally really enjoy the company of Crow. The story in general is good, with solid characters, good and simple universe, strong value/moral behind it, etc. The only flaw, and it's unfortunately a big one, is that the action part are too long, lack of originality and are repetitive. Not only the characters had to go through a series of challenge (which is not original and repetitive in itself) but when it's done... they have to go back again and basically ...more
Denise Spicer
Jan 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a kind of creepy, silly story about a boy with a curse on him. Crow Darlingson has been “dead” for a couple of years, kept inside his house by an overprotective mother until a new girl, Melody, moves next door. They begin an unlikely friendship but work together to end the curse by fighting a magical creature - the Meara.
May 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-grade
A cute middle grade mystery/thriller. There were a few parts that were a bit silly, but on the whole, this was a really enjoyable book. Great for folks who like middle grade fiction. Also, there's definitely a set up for a sequel, which I hope Ms. Gale will write.
Sep 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Crow Darlingson is dead but appears to be alive. He can walk, talk, grow, do schoolwork but he doesn't eat or sleep. Ctow's parts fall off but his mom sews them back on. He stinks due to rotting and maggots crawl out of him. His parents have separated yet Crow still sees his dad every once in a while. Why is his dad living. In an apartment and not have Crow over? One day Crow sees people moving in next door.
His next door neighbor includes Melody who sneaks over the fence one night. Why? Crow is
Wayne McCoy
Apr 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens
'Dead Boy' by Laurel Gale proves that just because you're dead, that doesn't mean you don't need a few friends in your life.

Crow Darlington is the title's dead boy. He's not sure how it happened, or why he's still walking around, but here he is. When he loses a body part, like an ear, his mom chides him and sews it back on. When he sneaks out one night and meets, Melody, the girl next door, they become friends. With Melody's curiosity, they start trying to figure out why Crow is dead, but
Jun 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fearless-15ers
Take a funnier, lighter version of Neil Gaiman and add some Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and you have Dead Boy, a wonderful story of, well, a boy who is dead, the friend who likes him anyway, some unbearable children who can't be avoided, and a magical creature who holds all their fates in its hands. Dead Boy had me guessing from the start and is delightfully unlike any other book I've read.
April robinson
Jun 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-read
Well I am so excited about this book ! What a find. I found it in a store for 1 dollar....This book is a teenager book but all can read it I think. It's actually a great read..I read it in 2 hours and it's an easy read. It's sad a little scary but funny book …I love this book a fun read. I Recommend it to everyone!
Apr 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Review posted on KK's Books & Reviews

and Got Fiction?

In Dead Boy we find out the main character Crow is dead, and his parents won’t let him go outside. They’re afraid that if people find out he’s dead, that he’ll get taken away and experimented on. But what they don’t know is that he’s sneaking out at night.

Crow meets a friend during the day, so they plan to sneak out at midnight. Melody and Crow become really good friends, and she finds out he’s dead. But she doesn’t mind.

After the couple
Dec 09, 2018 rated it it was ok
Had this not been chosen as our book club’s December pick I never would have picked this up. Unfortunately, that means I was biased against it from the start because the topic grossed me out. So my review is based firmly in the “this book is not for me” category. Ultimately, the story was too messy for me. I didn’t like the doubling back portion and the characters all seemed stupidly selfish. I was glad there was some character growth and somewhat interesting magic, but there just wasn’t enough. ...more
Barbara Senteney
Oct 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A spooky story, about a boy named Crow who is dead, but by the magic of a wish comes to life. Well kind of, he walks talks, and rots. His limbs are falling off so his mother has to sew them back on. He isn't allowed outside for fear of people seeing him, or smelling him. Maggots are crawling out his mouth, nose, and ears. He starts sneaking out and makes friends with the girl next door.
Together they go on an adventure to see if they can fix Crow's problem, and make him alive again, not the
Viviane Elbee
Aug 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Entertaining read for fans of magic, challenges, the living dead & strong friendships.
This book is probably for kids 10 and older, though some slightly younger kids may enjoy it also.
Pop Bop
Aug 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
Every Few Chapters It's A Different Kind of Book, But They're All Good

(No Plot Reveals, But Maybe Some Mild Spoilers.) This starts as a touching portrait of a home-schooled living-dead boy who just wants to go outside. It's sort of a younger version of Edward Scissorhands. It passes through some kid-friendly gross-out descriptions, and some family drama, (divorce, parental conflict and over-protecting), until it becomes a "friendship against all odds" kind of book.

But then, when our hero Crow
Crow Darlingson is unlike most boys his age: he is dead … well, that was until he became un-dead. Under the watchful eye of his mother Mrs. Darlingson, Crow does many of the things a typical boy of his age does, except that he is only allowed to leave his house one day of the year (Halloween) and he has no friends. Things are about to change, when a new next-door neighbor, Melody, befriends Crow and accepts his “condition”. As the two new friends explore the neighborhood, they uncover a sinister ...more
Regina Foo
Crow Darlingson is no ordinary 8th grade kid. He actually died in 4th grade. Yes, died but undead. No, he's not a zombie, just dead and growing. His body is decayed and crawling with maggots and he stinks. His world is only his house with his mom staying with him. He desperately needed a friend and he wants to go out. So here comes a new girl next door - Melody.

Disclaimer: I received this e-ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange of my honest review.

I'm not a fan of zombie so I was
A. Hunt
Aug 18, 2015 added it
Recommends it for: Middle Grade Readers and Older.
When I first heard of Dead Boy, by Laurel Gale, I thought it would be one of those comical stories that would be a little gross and a lot of funny! Oh no, this story is dark, gross and funny. I am so happy I didn't wait to read it with my son. I don't think, even at 12 years old, that he'd have liked it. Me- I loved it! It was different. It's YA, but can be enjoyed by any age. This story was put together with a magical imagination that has you feeling bad, mad, angry and extremely hopeful for a ...more
Sep 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Book #116 Read in 2015
Dead Boy by Laurel Gale

This would make a good Halloween read aloud for upper elementary students/read for middle schoolers. Crow was dead but his parents wished him back...but he's not quite alive. His mother won't let him go outside or go to school...she is worried what people would think when they smell him (it isn't a nice smell) or see maggots come out of his ears. Crow just wants to have friends. He finally gets one when Melody moves into the house next door. Crow and
Apr 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is a fun and mysterious adventure story.
Crow is being homeschooled because he is dead and he smells.
In fact Crow smells so bad that the neighbors moved away.
Luckily, the new neighbors who move in, having gotten a good deal on the house, include a girl around Crow's age of eleven years. Melody doesn't know any other kids, so wants to be Crow's friend.

This is a story about friendship, loyalty, magic and good vs evil or right and wrong.
I found it suitable for middle school through high school.
Feb 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: middle-grade
Crow has learned a lot of things since he died, such as just how smelly dead things are, what it feels like to pick maggots out of your ear, and the history of several Chinese dynasties. He's also learned just how boring and awful it is to be stuck inside by yourself all the time. When Melody moves in next door, Crow finally has a reason to disobey his mother and go outside. Maybe he should have listened to her, though... because there are some scary things out there.

I loved this story. The
Jun 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A young dead boy named Crow goes on an transformative adventure to find his humanity and discovers along the way that magic is real, people are complicated, and that some wishes are best left unfulfilled. There is a little bit of Crow in any child walking the halls of middle school--the trick is being brave enough to let him out.

I plan to read this book to the 6th grade class when school starts. Great book with valuable lessons presented in a unique and memorable story.
Laurie McKay
Dec 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a cool book. Crow is isolated, smelly, and wants a friend who can overlook his problems with maggots. He's smart, thoughtful, and a great match with Melody who sees conspiracies everywhere. The two face trials that are dangerous and take their wits and courage to face. (I really liked the trials as they had almost a mythological feel to them.) A great book with a good - albeit not beating - heart and interesting characters!
Feb 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
A lot of heart for a book about a corpse kid!
Sandra Waugh
Mar 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful--rich with trial and friendship and what is truly valuable.
Chris R
Oct 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing

Crow Darlingson is an 11 year old boy. He is very smart, but he still likes to have fun. He enjoys bowling, air hockey, video games, and hanging out with his friends, but that was when he was alive. Yes! ALIVE!! Crow Darlingson is now a dead boy!!! He is trapped in the house all day with his mother who is homeschooling him, but he wishes he was able to actually go to school to learn. His mother thinks she is doing the best for him by keeping him hidden from everyone. People would not
May 03, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Book 2 in YouTube Halfoweenathon This book completed three challenges: set in autumn, published within the last 5 years and I think she is an indie author.

Crow is like a zombie but he does not eat human and he has good feelings. Even though his mother and father loved him very much he felt lonely because he didn't have any friends until he met Melody a character who I liked so much. Both of them will engage in many adventures to know what happened with Crow, how he died, how he came back since
Oct 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What a cute and wonderfully heart felt story...about a boy who is dead but not a zombie. I love it. It was great from beginning to end. Meet Crow (great name btw) who is dead, and has to stay inside because the heat makes him smells and more maggots come. The maggots are super annoying they can crawl out of your ear at any time. He just wants a friend and thinks he meets one when he meets the girl next door. She will change his life.
This story has so many good moral and value stories in it I am
Nov 18, 2016 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aliah Ovalle
Nov 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Dead Boy by Laura Gale is an amazing book. It is an amazing book because there is a boy that is dead but his body is still alive. He is kind of like a zombie. He can’t go out and play, he can’t go to school, and can’t find friends. He finally finds a friend, a girl next door that just moved in. He is scared of what she thinks of him, but in the end she doesn’t really care. One day they sneak out and go to a hole beneath a garage and meet a weird figure that could make wishes. He never gets the ...more
P.D. Pabst
Feb 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Grossly Fun Adnventure!

Okay, so at times this story was gross, but not in a horror type of way. Let's just say if maggots bother you, don't eat while reading! Crow's story had adventures and magic that kept me turning the page! I couldn't wait to see how he and his friend got out of the next jam. Typically, I'm not into zombie styled stories, but Crow wasn't exactly a zombie, and he never ate brains. In fact, he never ate at all. There were so many unique twists that I'm glad I read this! You
Mortisha Cassavetes
Oct 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2017
Oh what a wonderful book! I just loved this coming of age story. Lots of Adventure! Crow was an 11 yr old boy that was dead. This story follows him and his new neighbor Melody on an epic journey to find the answers to some very hard life questions and to maybe even change a few things. I don't want to say anymore so I do not spoil it but it was a great read this Halloween season. I would recommend this to everyone!
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Laurel Gale writes books for children. Her middle grade novels include Dead Boy, her debut, and Story Magic, which will be out August 4, 2020. She lives with her husband and their ferrets in Washington. In addition to writing, she enjoying hiking, playing board games, and reading. She loves animals and is easily distracted by squirrels. You can visit Laurel online at or on Twitter ...more