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The Book of Boy

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  552 Ratings  ·  160 Reviews
Boy has always been relegated to the outskirts of his small village. With a large hump on his back, a mysterious past, and a tendency to talk to animals, he is often mocked and abused by the other kids in his town. Until the arrival of a shadowy pilgrim named Secondus. Impressed with Boy’s climbing and jumping abilities, Secondus engages Boy as his servant, pulling him int ...more
Kindle Edition, 208 pages
Published February 6th 2018 by Greenwillow
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When you think about it, many authors of children must have something they’re afraid to write. Some book or idea or concept that tempts them but that they wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot-pole. Religion is probably right up there on some people’s lists, regardless of the denomination. Is there a way to incorporate it seamlessly into a fantasy novel, retaining the parts you want, eschewing the rest? Is it wise to include at all? What constitutes religious writing at all? It’s rare that a book writt ...more
Leonard Kim
Mar 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Like others, I think Gidwitz’s The Inquisitor’s Tale is the obvious point of comparison. This book is much better written, often beautiful, but uncanny to the point that I wonder if some people will find this inaccessible, especially compared to Gidwitz.
Jordan Henrichs
Mar 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Think Gidwitz's The Inquisitor's Tale and Whalen Turner's The Thief. Medieval setting, Mission Impossible-like quest for religious relics, and a few fun plot twists. Fun and original.
Well-written, but odd. And the medieval setting makes it unlikely that many kids will pick it up. The strong religious elements may create strong feelings as they did with me.
Soo good! The writing, the characters, the action-packed plot, the historical details. The ending let it down a tiny bit, but overall I just loved it and it's definitely my favorite of the year so far!
Aug 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2018
Definitely see comparisons to The Inquisitor’s Tale, but I thought this would be easier for students to understand on their own. A nice adventure with some surprising twists.
Darby Karchut
Oct 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books I've read all year. Wildly original, and the voice - holy moly!
M. Lauritano
May 03, 2018 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alex (not a dude) Baugh
When I was in grad school, I had a passion for the medieval period. Unfortunately, I was in a small German department that didn't have its own medievalist, though we did have some wonderful visiting professors. Still, it meant I couldn't write my first choice dissertation. Nevertheless, I continue to have a soft spot for books set during this time period, which is why I was drawn to The Book of Boy.

The story begins in France in 1350, shortly after the plague had swept through. Boy is tending the
Destinee Sutton
Comparisons to The Inquisitor's Tale are unavoidable, but truly they are such different books. I prefer the Gidwitz because it had better character development and the creativity knocked my socks off. The Book of Boy is a great yarn that really had me engaged. I raced through it, but once I finished it I felt a bit unsatisfied.

I think mature middle grade readers will enjoy this, especially if they are interested in Catholicism, Christianity, the Middle Ages, and/or mysteries with big plot twist
Ms. Yingling
E ARC from Edelweiss Plus
Boy is a servant in the household of Sir Jacques. It used to be a decent position, especially for a hunchback, but once the lady of the manor and her children died of the plague and Sir Jacques was gravely injured, the former Cook ruled the roost. When Secundus, a pilgrim, happens by and decides that Boy could be useful in carrying his bag, he bargains with Cook and has Boy accompany him. Secundus is ill, and looking for seven relics of St. Peter's that might get him int
Brittany Du Pont
Aug 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
I read this book out loud to my 9 & 11 year old sons. It was difficult to read out loud and consequently was a slow start. We were never quite sure if the book was historical or fantasy, and that was a difficult too. Plus, we are a Christian family, so the doctrine was difficult to sort out what was real and not. That said, my 11 year old loved the whole story. My 9 year old said it was good because of the end. WE LOVED THE END! It was heartwarming and beautiful with a clear positive message ...more
Jun 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Loved the tale! Many reviews are comparing this to the Inquisitor’s Tale. I did not like The Inquisitor’s Tale. That story bored me. I liked this story much more. The book reminded me of Avi’s Crispin. I really liked the relationship build up of Secundus and Boy. In the end, the needed each other.
Jessica Lawson
Apr 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Really enjoyed the voice and story in this one!
Valerie McEnroe
Well. Here we have a children's book that no child will read. I don't blame them, because it's weird and it doesn't feel like a children's book. This one has adult read written all over it. I liked parts of it. I liked the historical part, but once it crossed over into fantasy, angels and devils and such, it totally lost me.

Boy is a hunchback servant who has the ability to communicate with animals. One day a sinister looking pilgrim shows up at the manor house and demands that Boy continue the p
Jul 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: royal
It is 1350, and Boy tends the goats at the manor of Sir Jacques. Blessed with an ability to communicate with animals but cursed with a hump on his back, Boy lives a simple but happy existence, in spite of taunts and jeers by those who bully him because of his hump. When a mysterious pilgrim named Secundus appears and asks Boy to accompany him on his journey to Rome, Boy jumps at the chance to be helpful. Secundus' mission is to collect seven holy relics so that he may enter Paradise and join his ...more
Sarah Hay
Nov 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Boy is a hunch-backed goatherd living in rural France during 1350, the year of a great pilgrimage to Rome. While tending his goats a stranger comes to his farm and offers the Cook (who has recently married the lord of the manor) money to take boy along with him. As Boy sets of on an adventure with the shadowy stranger Boy begins to learn about the world, the stranger, and a secret about himself that he never knew.
Good for ages 10 and up
Curious tale for a narrow band of child readers. I'm not a fan of allegorical writing or books about religion, so I was definitely not the target audience for this one. But the conversations with animals, the humor, and the unflinching description of life in the middle ages nudged this toward an enjoyable read. I appreciated the moral questioning and lack of pat answers about both religion and the story itself. But I would have appreciated a bit more resolution to the central mystery.
Christina Reid
Original middle-grade adventure story following a pilgrim who smells of brimstone and a boy who can talk to animals on a quest to re-assemble St Peter's body by collecting relics all over Europe. I was immediately drawn in at the beginning, but got a little confused by some of the turns that the story made as it continued.
Oct 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
The hype is real - this is such a fascinating read. The characters are fully realized, the surprises actually do surprise, and the plot moves at a clip to keep reluctant readers engaged. This is a good rec for those students who found Inquisitor's Tale too slow or too detailed.
Jayne Bartrand
Read as a possibility to use with our MockNewbery committee of 6th grader readers this year.
Medieval quest collecting relics; I cared about how the story turned out, but it was work to get there and the "payoff" was predictable as author gave plenty evidence along the way.
Jul 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult
Loved it!
Oct 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Good read, I liked Boy as a character. The adventure was fun, and how he talked to the animals good.
Renee Zennaiter
Aug 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Well written. Just not my genre.
Carrie Shaurette
This definitely has that Newbery feel so I understand why it's getting buzz, but I don't think it's anywhere near as good as The Inquisitor's Tale. I should also mention that medieval quest stories are not my thing, but I just found myself completely disinterested in the journey. The one shining moment was the character of Boy and the quality design of the book.
Brianna Westervelt
Feb 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs
Taking place in the year 1350, one detects notes of The Canterbury Tales in The Book of Boy. Even though I loathed The Canterbury Tales--I mean, I did only read a selection of them in one of my first college English classes, so give me a break--The Book of Boy almost made me want to give Chaucer another chance. I said, almost.

Despite the Chaucer resemblance, The Book of Boy was unlike anything I've ever read--for children, teens, or adults. Threads of faith and hope knit together adolescence and
Feb 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this historical romp through the Middle Ages. I love MG that centers on the relationship between a younger protagonist and a parental figure, so this is right up my alley. For all Secondus's crotchety-ness and thievery, you can't help but root for him, and to root for Boy to realize that the world isn't black and white when it comes to what's good and what's bad.
Mar 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alexa Hamilton
Sep 04, 2018 rated it it was ok
Boy lives on a manor when a man stops by and he winds up taking a journey. Something is weird about Boy--he has a hunchback. But soon, you realize it's weirder than that. Something is weird about Secundus too, who is on a mission to find a bunch of Saint Peter's relics with Boy's help. They don't like each other at first but they strike up a friendship. This is during the Middle Ages, so there are lots of pilgrims and everything is messy, dirty and quite rudimentary. The mystery about what Boy i ...more
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I grew up in small-town Connecticut, on a tiny farm with honeybees, two adventurous goats, and a mess of Christmas trees. My sister claims we didn’t have a television, but we did, sometimes – only it was ancient, received exactly two channels, and had to be turned off after 45 minutes to cool down or else the screen would go all fuzzy. Watching (or rather, “watching”) Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds ...more
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