Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Book of Boy” as Want to Read:
The Book of Boy
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Book of Boy

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  1,859 ratings  ·  474 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, 293 pages
Published February 6th 2018 by Greenwillow
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.82  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,859 ratings  ·  474 reviews

More filters
Sort order
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
M. Lauritano
May 03, 2018 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I am lucky enough to count Jen Adams (author of the amazing Babylit board books and the Edgar the Raven books) as a good friend. Jen and I also have very similar tastes in books, so when she recommends something, I listen! So when she told me, not once but several times, about The Book of Boy, I definitely paid attention. Also I was intrigued by the fact that she was rather cagey about it, only saying that it's about a boy in the Middle Ages . . . and then trailing off. Now I know why! And I wil ...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.
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.
Amber Scaife
Feb 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Set in the Europe of the Middle Ages, this is the story of a hunchback boy, the pilgrim who takes him into his service, and their trip from France to Rome (with many stops in between). But it's also about secrets and mysteries, heaven and hell, angels and demons, and miracles of all sorts, both supernatural ones and - the best kind, really - beautiful, everyday ones. Highly, highly recommended.
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
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.
Brandy Painter
The Book of Boy takes place in the medieval era. It is a story about Boy who goes on a pilgrimage with a strange man who seems to see to the core of everyone he meets and is on a strange quest. From a literary perspective, this is an excellently well-written book. Murdock manages to maintain her medieval language style, which is not always an easy task when writing from a modern perspective. It is definitely a credit to her craft and a plus for readers who enjoy being fully immersed in a setting ...more
Loved it! Everything about it. There's magic, but no magic. It's almost more of a magical realism, a magic intertwined with belief. A hunchback boy is sold to an ominous stranger as an assistant on his quest for holy relics - which he believes will save his soul. I love how Murdock hints at things without explaining, in fact, though much becomes clear, some things never do, and it's lovely. I recommend.
Jul 17, 2018 rated it did not like it
I was really looking forward to this book- a historical fiction middle level book that was not US history. This is also a fantasy book and the author does nothing to help readers understand the history and church practices in 1350. A student would not really understand the Black Death either. This book is not for children- it would be a rare middle schooler that would stick with this book. I wish it would have just been a historical fiction book. Hoping this is not the Newbery 2019 book- it is o ...more
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!
Kailey (BooksforMKs)
A young hunchback goatherd named simply "Boy" is indentured as a servant to a shrewd pilgrim traveling through France in search of various relics of Saint Peter. As the two journey together, they boldly endure various adventures in their pursuit of the holy relics of Saint Peter, until they arrive at last within the holy city of Rome. Boy discovers that the pilgrim is hiding a dark past, and the pilgrim gradually reveals Boy's most closely guarded secret, his own true identity.

I really enjoyed t
Apr 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
A winner of the Newbery Honor Award for this year, and, not for the first time, a better book than the actual winner. The book jacket states the following:
“What a fine story this is! For who does not want to read about such things? A boy who can talk to animals. A terrifying, perilous journey full of bravery and daring. Knights and bandits and ghosts and thieves. Howling wolves, heroic donkeys, and a bag of bones. Lords, ladies, liars and riches beyond compare. And mysteries and miracles—of the
Rebecca Honeycutt
On the one hand, I found this book a genuinely enjoyable read, down to the sentence level, and I found Boy to be a memorable and endearing character. Honestly, I think that character is the real hook here, not the treasure-hunt plot--some kids will be hooked by Boy's voice, while others will be bored after a couple of chapters.

On the other hand, found the ending to be a bit disappointing after such a complex set-up. It was moving, yes, and you could extrapolate all sorts of theological stuff fr
Lisa Guzman
Apr 17, 2019 rated it liked it
I'd say 3.5 stars.

I liked this book because it taught me something about history that I did not know anything about before--the journey of pilgrims and the collections of relics in the 1300's. It is fascinating to learn that religious figures' bones or pieces of cloth are valued so highly--I mean it makes sense, but I just didn't know that it was a thing.

The book is written in such simple language that a few times I felt like I didn't understand what had just happened, because it wasn't explaine

I don’t think goodreads reviews let you make the font any larger, but the second they do I will update this review so I am type-screaming as loud as possible.

The main character, Boy, begins the book with a hunchback (which is called kyphosis) and is considered by those around him as stupid and useless. That causes him a lot of emotional hurt, but he is relatively content with his life as is despite being literally valued at nothing
Theresa Grissom
Jan 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-grade, 4th, 5th
Wow! I have to admit, I am not a huge fan of settings in the middles ages. So, for me, I had a bit of trouble starting out with this book. But, once I got to a certain point in the story, I was absolutely hooked and could not put this down! I had to see how this ended! Truly unique and utterly captivating, I will recommend this to people.
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!
So unique, love the voice of the main character and the blending of genres is wonderful.
Michelle Spencer
How delightful to have a tale of magical realism set in 1350. Even more unique, it’s magical realism based on the religious fervor of relic worship/relic tourism/pilgrimage. This was a creative yet simple story, but even in its simplicity, the amount of research is impressive. Even with the more magical, supernatural elements of the story, everything felt very believable and precise, and setting aside the aforementioned supernatural elements, very accurate to Middle Ages church history.

The synta
Apr 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a fun read partially because it was so unlike anything I’ve picked up in a long time!

1350, pilgrims flocking to Holy Lands, angels and saints and sinners and hellfire and brimstone.

All wrapped up in a quest, with Secundus and Boy.

I tend to enjoy a good traditional quest, and this was no exception. Boy was so kind and good, I loved his connection with animals!

Things I want to discuss: the animals, who is good and who is evil? Tomb v home, pilgrimage and relics, Boy’s transformation.
Mar 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Boy, a hunchback goatherd, is taken into service by a pilgrim in his way to Rome. The pilgrim is on a quest to recover seven relics of St. Peter, and needs Boy to help him. Along the way, the reader will learn that both travelers have their secrets...

I very much enjoyed this medieval quest tale. It's a quick read with some lovely moments and an interesting twist (I thought I knew Boy's secret after the second chapter, but as it turns out, I was quite wrong!). I'm not sure how much appeal it will
Kris Springer
Jan 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
An entertaining, heartfelt read set in 1350’s France about a hunchback named Boy who goes on an adventure with a pilgrim named Secundus. Thrills, spills, plus lots of animals and surprises. Boy is a great character to root for.

For readers 10 and older; best for those who enjoy both historical fiction and fantasy.
Mar 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
So glad I read this one! Totally deserving of Newbery Honor. (I actually think it should've won.) Different than any MG I've read and is an un-put-down-able read. It put me in mind of The Whipping Boy for some reason. I think it's the appeal it holds for young readers along with the level of writing.

No spoilers, as I found myself completely surprised and part of the journey is the not knowing.
Jun 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Having just wrapped up a great unit on The Inquisitor’s Tale (absolute 5-star must read), I came into this one with a bit of a cocked eyebrow. Not because all middle grade books about the Middle Ages in Europe must be the same or that one published so close to IQT must be derivative, but the comparison mindset I had definitely marred the first half of the book.

Then things got weird. And I loved it. I think this one deserves a second read that might move it into five star territory...
Sherry Guice
Dec 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really loved this book--set in 1350 in France. Boy just wants to be a normal boy, not hunchbacked, as he joins a pilgrim making his way to Rome collecting relics. Great surprise plot twist and characters...not sure if students need background knowledge to follow the story. As Boy journey through France, he observes the devastation of the plague.
Kelli Esplin
May 05, 2019 rated it it was ok
Eh. This book was okay. It was interesting enough that it kept me going to find out what will happen.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Play Book Tag: The Book of Boy, by Catherine Gilbert Murdock - 5 stars 3 13 Dec 11, 2018 10:45AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Journey of Little Charlie
  • Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster
  • The Inquisitor's Tale: Or, the Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog
  • Finding Langston
  • The Season of Styx Malone
  • Merci Suárez Changes Gears
  • The Mad Wolf's Daughter (Mad Wolf's Daughter #1)
  • Full of Beans
  • The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge
  • The Parker Inheritance
  • Cloud and Wallfish
  • The Night Diary
  • Bronze and Sunflower
  • Ahimsa
  • Aladdin: A New Translation
  • The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle
  • The Heart and Mind of Frances Pauley
  • Soldier Bear
See similar books…
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
“The key to hell picks all locks” 0 likes
More quotes…