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Goodnight, Boy

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  185 ratings  ·  58 reviews
A tale of two very different worlds, both shattered by the loss of loved ones. Tragic, comic and full of hope, thanks to a dog called Boy.

The kennel has been JC’s home ever since his new adoptive father locked him inside. For hours on end, JC sits and tells his dog Boy how he came to this country: his family; the orphanage and the Haitian earthquake that swept everything a
Published July 6th 2017 by ONEWorld Publications
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Average rating 3.93  · 
Rating details
 ·  185 ratings  ·  58 reviews

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Catherine ♡
Jun 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a poignant and beautiful story - definitely not what I was expecting. The topics talked about are serious, but the voice - that of a child - has such a unique touch of innocence that really makes the book that much more heart-wrenching and powerful. Because of the writing style, I am still a bit confused about the plot itself, but overall this was a very special book, and I'm sure it would touch both adults and children alike.
Paige Green
Sep 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Rating: 4/5

Genre: Upper Middle Grade/YA Contemporary

Recommended Age: 12+ (trigger warning: abuse)

I received a free copy of this book courtesy of KidLitExchange and the publisher/author. If you’re interested in joining KidLitExchange follow the hyperlink!

A tale of two very different worlds, both shattered by the loss of loved ones. Tragic, comic and full of hope, thanks to a dog called Boy.

The kennel has been JC’s home ever since his new adoptive father locked him inside. For hours on end, JC sit
Suze Lavender
Jul 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The teenager JC lives in the United States now. He moved there when Melanie decided to adopt him. However, Melanie needs to go back to JC's homecountry to finalize legally making him her son and leaves JC with his adoptive father and their dog Boy. JC's new father isn't happy at all with the arrival of a boy he doesn't know. According to Melanie he should treat him as a son, but he doesn't want to and is constantly angry. Instead of letting JC stay in the house he throws him out and makes him li ...more
Oct 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Thanks to the #kidlitexchange network for the free review copy of his book – all opinions are my own.

Wow. This one was an emotional ride. I’ll be honest and admit that I didn’t catch on right away to the fact that JC and Boy were both living in the kennel. When that realization hit, the story blew wide open for me.
JC’s voice, his internal dialogue, language, and storytelling, were all vital to the feeling of this story. Not only did it help to add to the ambiance, but it also, I think, will he
Oct 16, 2017 rated it liked it
This is a well written and moving story about a boy trying to make sense of his world. The trauma he has lived through and his youth really come across well. However I do have an issue with not really knowing enough for the story to work for me - it’s never quite clear what Melanie thought was going on, what the man’s motivations were etc. I know that’s because it’s all from the perspective of JC but it would be nice to have an adult explain things occasionally. And I sort of wanted a reaction t ...more
Lisa Heathfield
Apr 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
'Goodnight, Boy' is a stunning, stunning book. With a unique voice, Nikki Sheehan creates a story that is both dark, yet filled with hope. It's one of those books that you want to re-read again and again. Brilliant, beautifully written and unforgettable.
Jun 28, 2017 added it
Wow. This book was so good, that I read it in less than a day! I loved the writing style of the book, at first I was pessimistic, thinking oh no this looks strange. This also isn't the usual genre of book I go for. However, I found it so hard to put down! JC'S story is so heartbreaking and gives you so many different feels. It even left me in suspense at times, wondering what was going to be on the next page. The relationship with him and "Boy" was refreshing yet saddening. Parts of the story yo ...more
John Driscoll
Mar 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
I simultaneously loved and hated this book. Overall I'm still trying to untangle what I really feel about it, so let me see if I can put it into words.

Goodnight, Boy is a pretty weird book in some ways. It's the story of a boy who is living in a doghouse with a dog named Boy, because his adoptive father has locked him in there. The story alternates between present-day scenes in which the boy JC talks to his dog, his only companion, and flashback scenes about his life before he was brought to the
Juliet Bryant
Jul 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A stunningly beautiful book about friendship and freedom. Both heartbreaking and uplifting, it is written in an addictive poetic rhythm that draws you in.
Bruce Gargoyle
I received a copy of this title from the publisher via Netgalley.

Ten Second Synopsis:
JC has been adopted by an American family from his native Haiti. When his adoptive mother leaves, JC and his dog Boy find themselves at the mercy of Melanie's abusive husband.

I've got two separate warring opinions on this book which is making it a little difficult to come to a cohesive overall feeling about it.  Goodnight, Boy is narrated by JC, a teen boy who has been adopted from Haiti by an American couple.  
☘Tara Sheehan☘
Aug 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I confess. I agreed to review this for a purely superficial reason. We share the same last name.

I have no idea if it’s HER name or she married into it (mine came via DNA and a father who ensures I know the history). I’ve never met her and as far as I know we’re not related but then my father once told me all the Sheehans are related in one way or another because there really isn’t that many of us. That’s why I said Yes because out of ‘family name’ loyalty.

THANKFULLY her book doesn’t suck so I d
Aug 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Goodnight boy awakens the child in all of us, when we have been scared, hopeful, longing for the future with the same excitement and trepidation we long for Christmas. We were all that child, one way or another and we have all been those adults too when we have hidden, craddled, punished or ignored loss. Goodnight boy is touching and very human. A very well told story. These lives stayed with me for a long long time after I finished the book.
Dec 02, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
Yes, there was hope throughout. But gawd... what he had to go through for that hope. Not a novel to embark upon lightly, and I don't know if it's even ok for kids. Maybe older teens. I question whether this is akin to exploitation, in that we get to gawk at this poor kid and then walk away. I'd like to think there was something redeeming in it, but between that and the author's (apparent) endorsement of the savior complex so many white/affluent Americans have... It left me feeling equal parts sa ...more
Sally Flint
Mar 18, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018-reads
This was just too disturbing and grim for me to enjoy and I wouldn't recommend it to the young people I know. It is about a young boy JC who after the Haitian earthquake was recused by an aid worker, who went on to be his adopted mother, but was then locked in a kennel with his dog, Boy, by his adoptive story. It is JC's story of how he came to be adopted, and the suffering he had gone through in the past and then later in the future. The structure works well, the delving into JC's mind is effec ...more
Brandi Nyborg
I received this book through librarythings' giveaways. I was really looking to reading a book from the viewpoint of a Haitian orphan and his dog. I enjoyed JC's character, and hearing his backstory. For me the book dragged a little in places, and the ending was wrapped up a little too quickly. Overall this book was a good look at a child moving from one nightmare to the next, and I would be willing to check out more by this author.
Apr 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Goodnight, Boy is a powerful read. It's a story of the sustaining power of friendship in the hardest of times, of finding that rescue can be anything but, that sometimes the path we tread is twisted. This book will have you on the edge of your seat throughout. And if you've ever loved a dog, this one is definitely for you!
Jul 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Roger Hyttinen
Feb 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
I was browsing the Young Adult section at my local library the other day and the book "Goodnight, Boy" by Nikki Sheehan caught my eye. I knew nothing about this book, but the description on the back cover peaked my interest so I picked it up.

Living in the Kennel

The entire story takes place in a kennel where a teenage boy named JC has been locked in along with his dog (Boy) by his stepfather. The entire story revolves around JC’s storytelling as he recounts his life story to his dog, Boy. The a
Jul 08, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: netgalley
(I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.)

It's always difficult to give a serious book a poor rating, especially when it's evident that the author has worked so hard to give voice to suffering. Still, I didn't love this book.

What Worked:

I loved JC's recollections of his country and his honesty. He paints a picture of a proud nation brought to its knees by an earthquake, and aid workers who try so hard, but can't do everything.
Declan Miele-howell
May 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The latest novel by Nikki Sheehan - author of ‘Swan Boy’ (CILIP Carnegie Medal nominee for 2017), and ‘Who Framed Klaris Cliff’ (winner of the North Herts Book Award for 2015) - is a touching story about an illegal immigrant (JC) and his dog (Boy) who are forced to live in the doghouse that JC built with his adoptive father (referred to as Him).
Melanie (JC’s adoptive mother) saved him from the streets of an unnamed country after he’s been through a huge earthquake and witnessed many deaths. Me
Apr 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
I feel like I read this entire book holding my breath! The format is such that the novel has a beautiful fluidity and incredible hooks to make sure that it's almost impossible to put down.

JC is a survivor in every sense. Even at his young age (around mid teens by the time we meet him) he's experienced more than any child should have to endure. Without spoiling the novel, I can tell you that he was informally adopted as an orphan from a French speaking African country, brought to America by his n
Goodnight, Boy by Nikki Sheehan is a tender story about a teenager and his best friend, Boy the dog. The story is told by J. C. during their imprisonment in the dog house. J. C. tells Boy how he became an "orphan," his best friend Oskar, the years he spent at the hospital among severely challenged children, the earthquake that freed him, his life on the streets with Oskar, the cholera that made everyone sick, and his eventual "rescue" by a kind doctor to the U.S. J.C.'s tales flicker between his ...more
Oct 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry-and-verse
This is tough to review without spoilers because I was conflicted until reaching the very end, and even then, I was grappling with my feelings. This novel in verse is relentlessly bleak and depressing, almost to the point of excess, and it made me question whether or not it is properly packaged as Young Adult, because one of the hallmarks of YA lit is that there is an underlying optimism, or at least a hope-laden conclusion or reconcilation, and the protagonist usually achieves an epiphany or re ...more
May 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Goodnight, Boy follows a young boy named JC as he tells stories to his beloved dog, Boy, to try to explain how they have ended up in their current situation- locked outside in a dog house by JC's adoptive father.

This book to me is Room by Emma Donoghue for a younger audience. I loved this book for the same reasons as I loved Room but also felt it had the same faults.

Like Room, the perspective is from a young child.
I love this because the book touches on so many heavy topics and experiencing t
"But I'm stronger than the wind because I know what love and losing someone feels like and I'm STILL HERE."*

When JC is kidnapped and taken away from his family, he spends his childhood growing up on the streets and fending for himself. Following a deadly earthquake which sees him admitted to hospital, a young female doctor called Melanie decides to adopt him, and take him away from his native country to the United States of America.

The novel, told in free verse, follows JC's journey to the USA,
Jun 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
I read a blurb of this book on B&T and it really drew me in. I asked and received permission from Netgalley to download this book. Something bad has happened and Dad has locked JC and Boy (his dog) outside in the dog run. Melanie the mom has gone back to JC's country to try to obtain the proper credentials for him to legally be in the USA. While she is gone something bad happens and Dad starts acting erratically. The friendship between boy and dog is heartbreaking at times and joyful at time ...more
Exquisitely written, but for me, exquisitely unsettling. Goodnight Boy is the story of JC, who was separated from his family at a young age, separated from life as he knew it when the earthquake shook his world in Haiti. He comes to the US as the adoptive (sort of) child of an American couple, whose own world was shook, and destroyed, not by an earthquake, but by the happenstances of life.

Told in flashbacks, and current musings, by JC to his Dog (named Boy) as they are locked together in a ken
Jul 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Goodnight, Boy tells the story of an immigrant boy in unimaginable circumstances, through an engaging character voice that keeps readers incredibly close to the protagonist.

The framing of the book was immediately interesting to me. JC is telling the story to his dog (Boy), with fluid movement between past backstory and his present in confinement. There are no chapter breaks and very little actual dialogue, but the tension carries you through so seamlessly it's hard to put the book down. I'm in
Stephen Connor
Apr 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I feel as though I’m being spoilt at the moment - this was another stunner.

The narrative comes from JC as we see his conversations, both real and imagined, with his dog, Boy. JC and Boy are big living in a kennel, trapped by ‘him’, who we find out much more about as JC tells Boy his story.

We learn about JC’s misfortune and maltreatment in his early life, separated from his family as part of a people-trafficking gang; we find out about his illness and recovery as earthquakes hit his home countr
Jennifer Druffel
Jul 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
I received a copy of GOODNIGHT, BOY in exchange for an honest review via LibraryThing. Boy, a dog, and JC currently live in the dog kennel outside. As Boy and JC try to get through this tough, confusing time, JC tells Boy the story of how he ended up living in the kennel. GOODNIGHT, BOY is a story of adoption, love, loss and family turmoil.

This story is a tough, sad read. That being said, I enjoyed the voice of JC, his strength, and understanding of his situation.
JC didn't know any different.
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Nikki Sheehan is the youngest daughter of a rocket scientist. She went to a convent school in Cambridge where she was taught by real nuns in long black habits. She studied linguistics and then psychology and worked as a subtitler for the Simpsons, followed by many years as a journalist. She lives in Hove near the beach with her husband, three children, two dogs, one cat and definitely no more hams ...more
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