Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

The Boy, the Boat, and the Beast

Rate this book
The Graveyard Book meets Hatchet in this eerie novel about a boy who is stranded on a mysterious beach, from debut author Samantha M. Clark.

A boy washes up on a mysterious, seemingly uninhabited beach. Who is he? How did he get there? The boy can’t remember. When he sees a light shining over the foreboding wall of trees that surrounds the shore, he decides to follow it, in the hopes that it will lead him to answers. The boy’s journey is a struggle for survival and a search for the truth—a terrifying truth that once uncovered, will force him to face his greatest fear of all if he is to go home.

This gripping adventure will have readers hooked until its jaw-dropping and moving conclusion. Samantha M. Clark’s first novel heralds the arrival of an exciting new voice.

256 pages, Hardcover

First published June 26, 2018

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Samantha M. Clark

7 books92 followers
Samantha M Clark is the author of the middle-grade novel THE BOY, THE BOAT, AND THE BEAST, published by Paula Wiseman Books/Simon & Schuster.

She loves stories about ordinary children doing extraordinary things. After all, if four ordinary brothers and sisters can find a magical world at the back of a wardrobe, why can’t she?

When she's not exploring wardrobes, she's writing about magical worlds, some more real than others. And when she's not spinning words, you'll probably find her reading, cooking or out in the garden. She lives in the land of the weird with her husband and two kooky dogs.

Be the first to hear about news and giveaways here.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
197 (37%)
4 stars
144 (27%)
3 stars
115 (22%)
2 stars
53 (10%)
1 star
11 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 158 reviews
Profile Image for Candi.
614 reviews4,631 followers
September 3, 2019
I don’t generally read children’s fiction – in this case, middle-school fiction. That’s not to say I haven’t any experience with it (my kiddos are teens.) I belong to a group of wonderful women that are participating in a book ‘voyage’. Each of us has selected a book (any genre) that will make its rounds to each participant within a year to eighteen months. We share notes with one another, and by the end of the voyage, the owner of each book will have a lovely keepsake with everyone’s reflections. This was one of those selections.

The cover of this book was just gorgeous. It’s a story with a powerful message about hope and courage and believing in oneself. A young boy has washed up on an unknown beach, alone, and without any recollection about himself – even his own name is a mystery to him. His journey becomes one of survival – as a beast lurks just beyond the trees, past the Green Wall. It’s also a journey of self-discovery, as he tries to remember his past, his family, and just why he has ended up in such a scary and lonesome setting. The only voice he hears is that inner voice that sometimes refuses to leave one alone, expressing our deepest fears, insecurities and doubts. He is determined to escape this island and return home. Will he be able to overcome all the obstacles, both physical and emotional, in order to accomplish this feat?

I can’t easily judge towards what age this book would be aimed. It was easy reading, yet I imagine that the premise of being left alone on an island with a dreadful ‘monster’ would cause quite a bit of apprehension in a young reader! I found the pace slower than I would have expected, and at times it was a bit repetitive. Likely this was a result of the writing being simpler due to the target audience. Would a child find the same – I honestly have no clue! Regardless, the message is precise and rewarding, so I’m certain many would benefit from it. My own personal experience with the book was just fine, even if not dazzling. There are some works of children’s literature that I find completely compelling and beautifully written. These, however, tend to be classic works, or in the very least, less contemporary pieces. Some of these sit on my favorites shelf – books such as Anne of Green Gables, Where the Red Fern Grows, Rascal, and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. This book was written in 2018, and unfortunately, I’ve read no recent works to afford a fair comparison. I guess I’m just an old-fashioned kind of gal when it comes to children’s literature. I think this would be a great buddy read with a young person. Maybe a great gift for the child in your life!

"Maybe you can’t tell the strength of a person until you’ve seen inside their fears. Maybe a person can’t tell their own strength until they can face their doubts."
Profile Image for Hannah Greendale.
703 reviews3,275 followers
December 20, 2020
2019 Best Books of the Year [#10 of 11]

A glorious and unforgettable book! The Boy, the Boat, and the Beast is a harrowing allegory that explores heavy subjects - abuse, abandonment, toxic masculinaty, fear, and death - in way that's entertaining and approachable for young readers. The boy wakes on an island with no memory of how he got there, and his only companion is a bullying voice in his head. In his quest to find a way home, he must face his greatest fears and come to terms with the circumstances that landed him on a strange beach where monsters lurk.

Don't let the darker themes be a deterrent. Yes, this is a coming-of-age brimming with symbolism in the vein of Orphan Island, but it's also a wild and fast-paced adventure story, reminiscent of Hatchet or The Explorer. The boy's resiliance and determination are an inspiration, and joining him on his adventure is an arresting experience.

It's difficult to believe this is a debut. Clark is a widly talented writer, and whatever she publishes next will be an immediate read.
He lifted his head high, crossed his arms, and stared into the Green Wall. The bully wasn't right, couldn't be right, because to succeed in this plan, the boy had to be the greatest knight that ever lifed.

"Once upon a time, there was a boy who was invincible," he whispered, breathing in deeply and filling his lungs with knight superpowers.

He straightened his back, his blanket flapping behind him. "I'm coming in!" he shouted. "You know what I want, and you'd better give it to me."

Then he strode into the forest.
Profile Image for Kim Chance.
Author 2 books673 followers
January 25, 2018
Guys...THIS book! Oh my goodness! I don't even know where to start! I typically don't read a lot of MG fiction, but I thought the concept of this one was so intriguing and I just had to read it! I'm so glad I did! It was such a beautiful and thought-provoking story! I was immediately captivated by the boy and I just HAD to know what was happening to him. I found myself so immersed, I couldn't put the book down! I read it in one sitting and at the end I was crying all the happy tears! This is such a lovely and moving story. I highly recommend!
Profile Image for Kathy MacMillan.
Author 31 books437 followers
February 5, 2018
This is book is so heartfelt, so immediate that readers can't help but get drawn into the tale of the boy who wakes up on a beach not knowing who he is or where he came from. Though we don't know his name - yet - we feel his pain and grief and anxiety as he tries to piece together his past and faces the sometimes terrifying challenges of the present. And hanging over everything is the mystery of what it all means, where his parents are, and why he can't remember. This book is perfect for fans of The Remarkable Journey of Charlie Price by Jennifer Maschari - both are workouts for the heart.

I read an Advanced Reader Copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Sean.
Author 3 books72 followers
November 24, 2017
My God, this book, y’all. It wrecked me in the very best way. I can’t tell you exactly what it’s about without spoiling all the best parts (and trust me, there are many), but I can say this: I wish I had this book when I was a kid dealing with trouble understanding my father’s anger. I heartily recommend this book for any kid (and any boy specifically) who is having a hard time dealing with a pushy or angry father figure in his life.

The “bully” of this story—an internal, accusatory voice that keeps the main character from succeeding where he needs to—is one of the most amazing concepts I’ve seen in kids’ literature. It’s beautiful, haunting, and terrifying in its own right, and is an amazing way for kids to grow to understand their own internal struggles with fear.

Also—and this is not something I’d often say—I HIGHLY recommend this book for any adult men who have been challenged with or suspect they might be overly angry or pushy on their kids. There are far too many men in this world who don’t understand how their temper affects their children. Please, men, learn how you impact your kids’ development. Love them. Empower them. This book is for you, too.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Diane S ☔.
4,732 reviews14.1k followers
February 27, 2020
I think the last middle school book I read was, Wonder, so I'm not very familiar with the books slated for this age group. Part of our book voyage for a group I'm in, and it was a quick, easy read. The story does teach one several good, life lessons, but I also found it repetitive at times. Might be too scary for some younger readers, but I have a grandson who loves this type of book, so will definitely be buying this for him. Loved the visuals and the struggles, thinking this boy had to do to survive and find his way.
Profile Image for Kim Tomsic.
Author 7 books58 followers
December 23, 2017
Lucky me! I received an advance copy of THE BOY, THE BOAT, AND THE BEAST (pub. date June 2018). This is a story with hope, courage, and heart!!! An emotional literary mystery. Be ready to sit on the edge of your seat for this page-turner!
Profile Image for Cassie Thomas.
454 reviews16 followers
May 18, 2018
"But it's not about being scared. It's what you do when you're scared."
Once upon a time there was a story that blew my mind, and that story was The Boy, the Boat, and the Beast. At a time when children are so vulnerable to others around them, this story is one that will stick with me and anyone who reads it forever. As a teacher the figurative language and author's writing craft are just phenomenal and something I will use in my classroom as a mentor text. As a teacher who reads, this is a story I already know so many kids need placed in their hands. For more than one reason, more than one of the intertwining themes throughout the story. I find this as a life changing read aloud for 4th and up. The conversations I already foresee students and I having are making my heart so happy. Well done Samantha. Amazing.
Profile Image for Eliot Sappingfield.
Author 2 books62 followers
February 27, 2018
What a lovely, mysterious, unsettling tale. I'd compare the mood to a kind of bad dream- the sort you still enjoy- really pulls you in.

The story deals with issues that kids will immediately relate to, which is no small feat- and the mystery of what is going on will keep them turning pages.

Absolutely recommend this book, just don't start too close to bedtime or you'll be up all night reading "just one more chapter".

My review is based on an advance copy of the book.
Profile Image for Melanie Sumrow.
Author 2 books59 followers
December 13, 2017
This is a great book about a boy facing his fear and overcoming huge odds. He is the unlikely hero of his own story. The writing is lush and beautiful, yet approachable. This deals with such an important topic: how taxing a negative father/son relationship can be on a young child. Yet, in the end (without giving spoilers), the boy overcomes.
Profile Image for Amber Kuehler.
437 reviews72 followers
June 30, 2018
Wow. I loved this book. It had some serious themes that would need some major unpacking with kids, but would be very fun to analyze together in reading groups or book clubs. Perfect for teaching figurative language, symbolism and descriptive language. I would recommend for grades 5 and up.
Profile Image for Aeicha .
832 reviews101 followers
July 3, 2018
A boy awakens on a beach, alone, with no memory of who he is or how he got there. He's surrounded by the terrifying sea and a deep, dark wood that contains a beast. The boy just knows that he has a family he must get to and, when a bright light shines toward him, he begins to follow it. But getting to the light is no easy task and the boy encounters many scary obstacles along the way. And the boy discovers that the scariest obstacle of all is the immense truth his finds at the end of his journey. 

Y'all this middle-grade book was nothing that I expected, but everything I could have wanted it to be! Samantha M. Clark masterfully spins a spellbinding and stunning tale with The Boy, The Boat, and the Beast. 

With lyrical and exquisite storytelling, The Boy, The Boat, and the Beast is simply mesmerizing and utterly captivating. A perfect balance of suspense, excellent world-building, and character exploration, make for an un-putdownable story that had me completely bewitched...I seriously could not stop reading, desperately needing to know how the boy's story ends. Clark lays out a lushly described setting with the mysterious and darkly alluring island the boy finds himself stranded upon, and she creates a beautifully haunting and dreamy atmosphere. What Clark is able to accomplish and offer with very few characters and minimal dialogue is quite remarkable! 

The mystery surrounding the boy, his past, his home, and his future, is fiercely gripping, full of beauty; pain; wonder; thrills; chills; and magnificent character exploration, and leads to a heart-stopping twist. The ending is definitely satisfying and left this reader in tears. 

The Boy, The Boat, and the Beast is the kind of special book that takes hold of your heart and never really lets go.  Profoundly moving, fantastically written, and so full of heart, hope, and beauty, The Boy, The Boat, and the Beast is riveting and unforgettable. 
Profile Image for Meghan.
29 reviews1 follower
May 28, 2018

It’s a very straightforward premise: a boy has just washed up on a deserted island. He has no memories, no clue who he is or how he got there.

And he’s scared.

He’s afraid of the ocean and the monster that lurks in its depths, waiting to drag him down…down…down… He’s afraid of the part-wolf part-bear beast that stalks the forest behind the Green Wall, ready to devour him. Wicked birds, sharp stabby rocks…even the wind and weather seem to be against him as he struggles to survive in this nightmare.

His only companion is a nasty, bullying voice inside his head.

Occasionally, there are other voices. Voices he thinks he should know. Random shards of memory materialize around him and vanish just as suddenly. A light keeps shining at him from somewhere.

He’s afraid, but the only way to find his way home is to face his deepest fears of all.

This is a story about fear. Fear oozes through everything, lashing out, trying to consume the boy as he struggles to find answers; struggles to find the courage he needs. All of this leading up to a wonderfully profound conclusion.

Right from the first page, this book sinks its claws into you and drags you in deeper… Clark’s writing is so magical, you feel like you’re right there with the boy. I read the book’s opening verse and I heard the tinkling of bells. (Okay, so the same moment I finished reading that, the music teacher tripped over a xylophone, but it was still magic.) The things she does with visualization are stunning! Each scene masterfully crafted! 10/10, would 100% recommend.
Profile Image for Diane .
383 reviews13 followers
December 11, 2019
What a clever, mystical and magical voyage I took with this little boy. I really had no idea what to expect or where the story was going or how it would end until the very end. This is a middle grade read; I feel very fortunate to have a friend who has opened up this genre to me - this is the third middle grade book I've read thanks to Sarah!

There was much symbolism in this book, and it was so accurately reflected. My favorite may have been the owl - but all of the symbolism was very important and so relevant to the story.

I think this would be an excellent book for a parent/s to read with their child/ren; the subject matter is deep, so maybe a parental read first and then read together.

I continue to enjoy the Book Voyage with my Novel Ideas sisters!
Profile Image for Sandy O'Brien.
391 reviews32 followers
June 10, 2018
“Maybe you can’t tell the strength of a person until you’ve seen inside their fears. Maybe a person can’t tell their own strength until they can face their doubts.”
Wow! The Boy, The Boat, and The Beast is a must read for all.
As I was reading the entire book, I could relate to the main character because of all the self doubt that he had. There was always that voice in his head telling him he couldn’t do something. I think a lot of students will be able to relate not only to him, but to the story as a whole.
Profile Image for Laura Gardner.
1,670 reviews112 followers
May 30, 2018
I'm not posting this one on my Instagram because I didn't love it. Maybe it's just not for me. I have trouble with books like this where the main character is just "boy" throughout the book with very little description. The book didn't grab me and I actually found parts of the end upsetting. I would be careful about giving this to young children given the way the book resolves. I can't tell you more without spoiling the book...
Profile Image for Deirdre Keating.
740 reviews49 followers
May 23, 2018
On the drive home from my father's funeral, I asked Nolan to pass me a book. I had only packed Gawande's Being Mortal when I flew in 48 hrs before my father's death, and the book had lost all appeal (it is a very good book but I think I've lost a parent each time I've tried to read it, so I've never truly finished it).

We were at a gas station, and it appeared Nolan had packed an entire library when he left Colorado. He was debating between three titles and asked me, "What stage of grief are you in?" Where the hell does he learn phrases like that? I reached in to help him out, past the snack bag and his mountain of books, saying, "I'm in the stage when you hate everything and everyone."

"Then you should definitely read, 'The Boy, the Boat and The Beast.' He has a lot of anger too," said my ten year old son.

And so I did. I thought it was going to be a book about grief, that maybe this was the book that had taught him about stages. He looked annoyed when, 29 pages in, I turned and predicted the conceit. I need to remember to give the books they love more room and less of an adult treatment.

Some aspects of the story are just brilliant---the nasty inner voice of doubt, the way storytelling ("Once upon a time there was a boy who...") lends courage, the interplay between reality and fantasy/memory. It's written for a child, I'd say an 8 to 12 year old (though our 13 year old liked it too), and not for a 48 yr old who hates everything and everyone, but it pierced through that perspective too, and I'll always recall it fondly because of the tender way Nolie prescribed it to me.
Profile Image for Tasha .
1,024 reviews37 followers
June 22, 2019
I need to start off saying that I don't read a lot of Middle Grade fiction although I'm always curious about the many options out there. We didn't have so many enticing MG books when I was growing up so I feel like I really missed out on something good! This being said, I'm not the best judge of MG fiction but this book came to me from a Book Voyage and so I was excited because now I had an 'excuse' to read a MG novel. I loved it! While the beginning was interesting, there was a point in the middle where it all shifted into something unexpected and I loved it. Some heavy theme with lots of cool symbolism, all so well-done. I think this is a perfect read for middle schoolers but adults can enjoy it as well.
Profile Image for Tara Gilboy.
Author 2 books46 followers
July 12, 2018
This was a beautifully written, heartbreaking, and hopeful story that gripped me from start to finish. I read this in one sitting, staying up until midnight because I couldn't put it down. In a way, it reminded me of Hatchet because of how alone the boy is, and how much the author is able to accomplish with a single character who is alone for much of the book, but it is much more than that. There is a powerful blend of magic, memory, and survival in this book, and it haunted me long after I had closed its pages. Definitely one I will read again and again!
Profile Image for Amanda Schreiber.
92 reviews40 followers
November 17, 2018
There once was a magical & mysterious island & a boy who wasn’t sure how he got there...

I absolutely loved this story! One of my favorites from 2018! The lyrical writing & clever plot twists will keep any reader hooked! Fans of Orphan Island & When a Monster Calls will devour this story. Clear your day, you don’t want to stop reading! So happy it’s on my Mock Newbery List & that I get to share multiple copies with my fifth graders!
Profile Image for Kelly.
128 reviews13 followers
February 1, 2019
Perhaps I would have enjoyed this more if I hadn't worked out the ending at the very beginning. The plodding pace and repetition was a bit much for a children's/middle grade novel. I can't imagine the target audience enjoying it much at all.
Profile Image for Carissa.
28 reviews8 followers
February 8, 2018
Told in a fresh, original voice, and filled with mystery and intrigue, this book is a must-read! But be prepared to have everything you think turned upside down and inside out...
Profile Image for Abre.M.
14 reviews2 followers
July 4, 2020
Masalımsı ve şiirsel anlatımını çok sevdim
March 31, 2021
Wow! I finished this last night(I picked it up on page 33, & then finished it..so good), & I still can’t stop thinking about it. I don’t think I’ve ever read a story quite like this. This is a deeply moving allegory that blew me away..The boy washes up on shore of a seemingly uninhabited beach. The boy can’t remember how he got there, or even who he is. When he sees a light shining over the foreboding wall of trees that surrounds the shore, he decides to follow it, in the hopes that it will lead him to answers. On his journey he struggles to survive the dangers around him, & is also on a search for the truth-a terrifying truth that once uncovered, will force him to face his greatest fear of all if he is to go home. This was eerie, haunting at times, mysterious, & beautiful. This is so much more than a boy w/amnesia lost on a beach, w/touches of magical realism-it’s all of that & so much more. What is at the core of this book is so raw, real, emotional, & beautiful it will take your breath away. There’s a big focus on our fears. How if we give our fears too much power, they can drag us down. If you don’t stand up to your fears they’ll never go away. You have to face them. That’s bravery-being scared & facing it regardless. To find your own strength, you have to do this. The other messages & focus I don’t really want to say, b/c I’m scared it would be spoiling. But the details of the story, from what the boy “sees” & “hears”-brilliantly done..to the bully & the beast & what they represent & mean-deep, soul searching stuff for sure..made me think to things from my childhood..This is a dark, hauntingly beautiful story about a boy who has to face his fears if he wants to go home. On a lighter level it’s a grand adventure across an island, fast paced, vivid descriptions & traces of a type of magic of sorts. The twist at the end made me almost drop my book. I reread the whole ending from that point-it was so beautiful I was crying(not in a bad way). I can’t believe this book of magical writing was a debut. So looking forward to her next book. Highly recommend. STUNNING cover by too. Once upon a time, Belle was deeply moved by a boy in a book..💜
Profile Image for Patty Palmer.
37 reviews1 follower
April 2, 2018
The Boy, the Boat, and the Beast

A boy finds himself alone on a sandy beach, not sure of his identity, where he is or how he got there.

Told from a unique all-knowing point of view, new author, Samantha Clark’s The Boy, the Boat, and the Beast combines the incredible imagination of Max in Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are with the survival skills of Brian in Gary Paulsen’s Hatchet.

From the very start of Clark’s story, the reader is pulled in, paying scrupulous attention to the clues that the boy shares as he tries to remember life before the beach. He hears strange noises and sees thick rows of trees forming a “wall” which make him uneasy. As he searches for signs of familiarity, he begins to remember parts of his old life. Unfortunately, his memories are frustratingly fleeting, playing seemingly cruel tricks with his mind. A second voice – one of a “bully” – who belittles and mocks the boy’s thoughts and actions at every turn, gets louder when the boy tries to face his fears.

The reader and the boy are constantly questioning events and memories, often simultaneously, on a quest to solve the mystery of the boy’s identity and wanting him to find his “home.” Through a series of harrowing adventures and missed opportunities, the boy starts to put pieces of the puzzle together and realizes that the voices that matter are those of his family who love him very much.

The Boy, the Boat, and the Beast is a heart-warming, page-turning tale of overcoming fears, and believing in the power of family. Pre-order it now, or look for it on June 26, 2018.

Profile Image for P.A. Pursley.
Author 3 books3 followers
August 15, 2018
I picked up this book at B&N because I met the author (who is a beautiful soul!) and because the cover is so captivating! And I loved the book! It is a little confusing at the beginning because you are lost as well as the little boy is lost. As you read and the boy discovers who he is, you will find yourself becoming attached to him and his plight. It is well-written and a very creative view of the situation the boy is in. I truly enjoyed this book.

This is the story of a boy who wakes up on a beach to find that he is the only one on an island with a few creatures who are there to help and one beast who is there to hurt. It is a story of courage, discovery, and finding the road home.

If you enjoy pre-teen stories of bravery in the face of danger...this book is for you!
Profile Image for Katie Reilley.
779 reviews27 followers
July 12, 2018
I’m not sure how to describe and review this book with spoilers, but I’ll try.

This is a middle grade mystery that had me full of questions until the very end. A boy wakes up on a beach with no memory of who he is or how he got there. I loved the descriptive writing and the way pieces clicked together as I slowly began to figure out what was happening.

Definitely a page turner that you’ll reread to see what you missed the first time!
Profile Image for Shelli.
1,043 reviews17 followers
October 21, 2019
Another good book from our Novel Ideas book voyage. This book has such a beautiful cover! This is middle grade fiction a genre I don't read a lot. I am realizing there are some great books in it. This started with an interesting premise. I won't say much because of NIBV, but the ending is uplifting with a great message.
Profile Image for Chelsea.
396 reviews27 followers
March 22, 2021
DNF - I picked this book up at our local library sale. The premise sounded interesting and I was excited to start reading. I read a few chapters and quickly guessed the idea behind the story. I wasn’t connecting with the character and decided to skip ahead to the end, which was a good call in my opinion.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 158 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.