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Boy A

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  1,745 ratings  ·  189 reviews
A is for Apple. A bad apple.

Jack has spent most of his life in juvenile institutions; he's about to be released with a new name, new job, and a new life. At 24, he is utterly innocent of the world, yet guilty of a monstrous childhood crime.

To his new friends, he is a good guy with occasional flashes of unexpected violence. To his girlfriend, he is strangely naive and unr
Paperback, 248 pages
Published October 25th 2007 by Serpent's Tail (first published May 1st 2004)
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Average rating 3.92  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,745 ratings  ·  189 reviews

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Jun 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Nancy by: Mariel
Posted at Shelf Inflicted

If I hadn’t come across Mariel's review, I’d probably never have found out about this chilling story. To my surprise, it won multiple literary awards and was adapted to film. I really need to get out from under my rock more often.

Boy A is Jack, newly released from prison for the brutal killing of a young girl. He was a child himself when the crime occurred. Now he is 24 years old and trying to adjust to a world that has passed him by while he was imprisoned.

This story
Jun 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: mobs
Recommended to Mariel by: the movie
This isn't a spoiler tag but a longwinded tag. (I'm embarrassed tag.)

Words are not my first emotional language. I'll think without words and later try to come up with some that fit what I was feeling, if enough of it sticks by me through the thickness and thinness. The way I understand (assuming I understand what I believe I understand) things is feeling out what people mean based on whatever I can get out of posture, tone, facial movements, eyes that don't smile, spaces between words and silen
Mike Puma
Aug 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, 2010
Sometimes, award committees get it right—often they don’t. The Pulitzer committee may leave you puzzled; the Caldecott or Newbery committees do what they must to arrive at some sort of consensus (often the lack of consensus is apparent in the staggering number of Honor books they also award). With Boy A, the 2004 John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and the 2005 Waverton Good Read Award committees got it right.

Told with a relentless dread, the novel presents the story of a damaged youth (Boy A) as a steady
Aug 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone on the planet
Shelves: british
Okay I went back and took stars off some of my other reviews because this is one of those pieces of art that reminds you that most people are not hitting the ideal. Yes art is subjective, but somethings seem to just have something special that other pieces don't have. This is one of those pieces. Out of five stars I give it 7 and 1/2.

This book has a format that makes it flow. Instead of a few long chapters there are a lot of short chapters named for the letters of the alphabet such as A is for
Hello there FEELINGS, how are you today?

I was ready to give this two stars until the 50% mark. The story moved along a little too slowly for me, a little too haphazardly. Sure, the characters were, maybe great isn't the right word, but intriguing. Ever so intriguing. Still, I thought, this will probably get two stars. Man, was I wrong.

Boy A will be on my top reads of 2015. I'm considering bumping up my rating to five stars. Because that last half. Emotions. Scattered all over the place. I'm not
Jan 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
It mirrors the tragic story of Jamie Bulger. We meet Jack as he is released back in to society secretly after spending all his young life in institutions and prisons. He is supported by the child like faith his support officer, Terry, has in him to be a functioning member of society. Everything is difficult for Jack as he hasn’t had a life yet and he suddenly has a freedom to experience what for others are ordinary things. Of course, inevitably events catch up with him and through the unrelentin ...more
Viki Johnson
Aug 19, 2013 rated it it was ok
It was an interesting idea. Sort of, though the author denied it, based on the murder of Jamie Bulger in the early 1990s by two young teenagers. Was their horrific crime nature or nurture, can imprisonment really be the best way to deal with the actions of a child. I really wanted this book to provide some thoughtful and deep insight in what he imagined had happened, and what it might be like to emerge from prison, entering as a young boy, leaving as a man? I was hugely disappointed. It was an e ...more
Barbara Elsborg
Jan 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
What a book! A heart rending story of a young man released from prison after a horrendous crime (did he do it or not?) and how he copes with life outside. The way the book is written - with sections set in the past - made sure the reader gradually became aware of Jack's past and the actual crime. I liked the background info, I like the labelling of the chapters, I liked the different points of view. I did feel though that Jack had a voice beyond his years. Yes, his manner was of a boy who'd only ...more
Jelena Milenković
Maybe I would’ve rated this higher if it wouldn’t be the story that is currently written, if it would’ve be more about Boys A and B when they were children, before the “incident”, and if that period wasn’t written so clinical and devoid of all emotions. Just maybe. But as it is - 2 indifferent stars.
Jan 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
"Given the challenging subject matter, Boy A is a surprisingly easy book to read. Jonathan Trigell's prose is literary, poetic in places, always compelling and never obstructive. Jack, the Boy A of the title, is the central figure of the book but throughout its 26 chapters, Trigell explores the lives of the people around him, from those who helped shape him into the man he is at the novel's beginning, and those he meets during his new life outside prison. Jack is an immensely sympathetic charact ...more
Joe Stamber
Dec 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A sorrowful tale of how tragically things can go wrong when young people are neglected, abused,abandoned and generally treated badly. I saw the film years ago and Andrew Garfield's mumbling, frightened performance absolutely nailed it. There is a sense of dread throughout the novel regardless of what is happening (as there is in the film) and I was constantly waiting for bad things to happen. The reasons why people turn out bad, choose a particular course of action and whether or not they can be ...more
Aug 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
may be the best book i have read, no not overreacting -- at the least the best in a long, long time -- first the style, simple direct writing, no overdramatizing, gratuitous vocabulary, overdescription -- not trying to impress anybody with ornate language -- just a sad, so sad, story to tell and tells it and makes you feel it -- just short to the point jabs that all land -- some british jargon and references that knowledge of certainly would have enhanced, but these didnt take away from the effe ...more
Sep 17, 2009 rated it did not like it
I seem to be the only person who really didn't like this book. There were so many technical problems and other instances of "bad writing" that it seems like no one edited it. For example, the author changed his point of view too often, putting us in the minds of unnecessary characters (like Elizabeth, the psychologist) and not enough in Jack's mind for me to get very involved in his story. The book is full of cliches and metaphors that are unbelievable coming from someone who's spent his whole l ...more
Oct 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Book Review

Book Review - Boy A by Jonathan Trigell

Serpent’s Tail Publishers – ISBN 9781846686627 – 248 Pages - £7.99

Boy A follows the rehabilitation of Jack, just out of prison for the murder of a 10 year old girl, when he was the same age. He is 24 now, and the story-line of Boy A finds him trying to get to grips with his new life, in a world that will not let him forget his past.

A campaign by the Sun aims to keep his release on the front pages, and leads to an attack on an innocent man who loo
Ryan Robinson
Feb 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Boy A by Jonathan Trigell

Book review by Ryan Robinson

Why I decided to read the book?

Don't judge a book by its cover? Oops. I did. It was good choice though, because the cover to me was simple yet effective, interesting and cool. The picture reminded me of Blackpool in England, because I have seen Blackpool on documentaries and football shows a lot of times, and it looked like a cool place with its attractions. I decided to read Boy A, because it was different to most of the books I usually read.
Lee Ann
Jun 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The capacity some human beings have for committing acts of violence stuns me. I just do not comprehend how someone can lose their head to the point where they are able to inflict pain and/or death on another person—especially pain which requires a direct act of violence in which the aggressor experiences physical contact with his or her victim. This all becomes exponentially more horrifying and incomprehensible when the crime involves children.

Somehow, all these feelings were pushed to the sidel
I wish I could find a way to adequately convey my love for this book without sounding like a gushing groupie. But, I can't, so I'll soldier on with my groupie flag flying.

What can I say other than this book is amazing. I can't begin to say how amazing it is in a short review, and I'm a fair hand at wordplay. I'll do my inadequate best.

Trigell takes the story of Jack, a newly-released-from prison, twenty-something convicted child murderer--as in, he was a child when convicted of murder (the vict
May 16, 2010 rated it liked it
This book was recommended to me by a couple of members of my family (the same books have a habit of being passed around!). And I did enjoy it. But I didn’t love it.
The story line is fascinating and reflects the life of one of the Jamie Bulger killers from the early 90’s. This was in real life a brutal murder of a toddler committed by 2 boys of age circa 12. I understand this was reported on around the world but certainly in the UK, there was much hysteria and a number of laws and practices in th
You know those books that stay with you. Days after you've finished them. When work interupts your reading time and you have to leave a protagonist terrified in his prison cell. I knew this book was going to get under my skin by the second chapter, and not really in that good way with characters you love. It's a mark of the excellent storytelling and character creation that I just couldn't put it down.

Boy A tells the story of a child murderer and his eventual release from prison under new identi
Stacy Fetters
Jun 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
How do you go on from being charged with a crime you might not have committed?
An alphabetically chaptered story about Boy A aka Jack and his partner in crime Boy B who materializes further into the book.
You live and you learn. Serve your time and try to set up something better.
With each chapter you get fed the present and the past. Trying to lead you up to the events of the present, why Jack is who he is.
Every page in between makes you believe Jack and sends your heart through loops just to s
Dec 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a very special book.

It wasn't a book that I could just quickly read, I had to think about what it said and what this meant.
This book made me think about a lot of things like, freedom, life and my values.
I think it's a slightly confusing book and it will mess you up a little, ket you think about how you feel about the book and what your values are. The thruth or giving someone a second chance.

Yes it was a really good book.
Lola Andrews
Didn't like it. I didn't hate it either. It just left me a little cold, and considering the heavy subject, I thought it to be frustrating.

It reads well. It's a short book and the flow works nicely, even if it's very one-note.

Everyone involved in the case at hand gets at least one chapter, and I question that everyone needed one. The dad, ok, but the doctor lady? Not really. It just pulled you out of the story.

I found it naive, as well, in its emotions.

Mar 20, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: libary
I couldn't finish this book. I would have loved to be able to love this book. It has some amazing reviews, but sadly I just couldn't get in to it. I don't know why it had a story line that has clearly interested many people but for some reason I just didn't find it entertaining. Maybe I will try to read it again some day.
Janis Robson
Sep 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
i wasnt sure about reading this book but am a gteat believer about not having an opinion till i read something. No doubt about it it was a very disturbing read but one i had to read to the end nit everyones cup of tea
Sep 17, 2015 rated it liked it
Loved the story, but some parts were kinda slow and boring.
Cleopatra  Pullen
A hard-hitting yet compelling novel examining what it means to be imprisoned as a child and released under a false identity. Boy A is one of two boys tried and convicted of the murder of another child. Although there are echoes of a trial here in the UK this isn’t in anyway an examination of that crime with much of the book concentrating on what happens next.

Boy A chooses a new name, Jack Burridge, to preserve his anonymity which is part of the terms of his release and then with the help of his
Rosalind Bryden
Mar 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
I didn't know this book had been made into a film. I have had the audio book on my shelf for ages and just got round to listening - what a find. It was a while before I realised how involved I had got with the story but by the end I was engrossed.

Boy A doesn't fit in at school. He tries to keep a low profile but still finds groups of boys waiting to push him around. He doesn't have a friend until he meets Boy B and they start to hang around together, bored and creating trouble. And then the day
Jun 27, 2017 rated it did not like it
Criminals have more rights and victims can ever dream of and Jonathan Trigell just rubs that in our faces with Boy A. Angella Milton's life ends when she is only ten years old because of Jack and his unnamed friend. Despite him being a convicted murder, he gets an incredibly light and short sentence for his crimes. After getting released from prison because he murdered a child in cold blood, he is given a brand new life and identify to protect him from the public lynching he deserves.

I usually l
Sep 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Many moons ago, I stumbled upon an indie film on Sky Movies starring Andrew Garfield. The film was Boy A and I had no idea as to the fact it was adapted from an original novel by Jonathan Trigell, nor that it was loosely based on one of the most shocking headlines in British history. I enjoyed the film and its powerful performances by an understated cast yet never really had the chance to talk about it with anyone, as it seemed to be one of those titled that nobody had heard of.

Last week, I popp
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Jonathan Trigell is a British author. His first novel, entitled Boy A, won the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize 2004, the Waverton Good Read Award and the inaugural World Book Day Prize in 2008.

Jonathan completed an MA in creative writing at Manchester University in 2002. He spent most winters in Alps working in the Ski Industry and now lives in Chamonix, France.

Boy A is the story of a child criminal rel

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