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Junk Boy

3.57  ·  Rating details ·  142 ratings  ·  44 reviews
Bestselling author Tony Abbott’s YA novel-in-verse is an unflinching and heartbreaking look at a boy’s junk-filled life, and the ways he finds redemption and hope, perfect for fans of The Crossover and Long Way Down.

Junk. That’s what the kids at school call Bobby Lang, mostly because his rundown house looks like a junkyard, but also because they want to put him down. Tryin
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published October 13th 2020 by Katherine Tegen Books
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Average rating 3.57  · 
Rating details
 ·  142 ratings  ·  44 reviews

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Claude's Bookzone
CW: (view spoiler)

Well this was a powerful story but unfortunately lacked detail.

I have read a lot of verse novels so can say with some authority that they can be full and richly told. Whilst the story was hard-hitting and the characters engaging, I needed there to be a bit more information to connect with during the story telli
Oct 28, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2020, lgbtqiap
2.5 - I feel like novels in verse need to have writing that is so powerful and beautiful to make up for the smaller word count. It’s harder to get the same amount of character or plot development because there’s less time to let that grow. There needs to be a reason that the novel is written in verse, and in Junk Boy I didn’t feel like there was. The writing itself didn’t add anything to the story, it just ended up taking away from it by making it so fragmented.

The book covers important topics,
destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]
This one wasn't the right fit for me, and since I've been struggling with such a bad reading slump this year, I'm allowing myself to DNF books when I don't feel compelled to continue them. That said, this book is definitely going to be the right fit for a lot of readers! I especially love that it's a story about a teen living in poverty, because as someone who was poor for a lot of my childhood, I never felt like I saw that part of myself reflected in the stories I was reading. I couldn't relate ...more
Bobby Lang lives on the edge of town in a dilapidated house with his father, who is disabled and continuously drunk. The kids at school call Bobby Junk, a cruel reminder of the junk-filled property he lives on, and he tries to be invisible at school to avoid the bullying. His story is told in free verse and readers are privy to his thoughts as he ruminates on his lonely life. By accident, he witnesses a moment of violence against his classmate Rachel when her mother discovers her with her girlfr ...more
Mar 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
Junk Boy introduces reads to two outliers, two dysfunctional families, two stories which become intertwined.

“there is no putting
a tree back up after
it’s broken
and fallen
in a storm

maybe with us
with people
it’s different” (336)

Bobby Lang, nicknamed Junk by the bullies at school because he lives in a place that has become a junkyard, spends his time flying under the radar, eyes down, not speaking. His father is drunk, abusive, unemployed, and listens to sad country songs; his mother left when h
Steff Fox
| Read on Reader Fox |

"The windows of a camper junked in my yard..."

It's kind of a fascinating experience to read a book for teens by Tony Abbott, once a prominent figure in my reading life at seven-years-old now twenty years later. Junk Boy is a novel in verse, featuring a damaged and quiet boy. Bobby Lang, or Junk as his classmates call him, lives in a destitute and traumatic situation. His father, a desolate drunk, is absent at best and cruel at worst. For Bobby, life drags along in a mi
Angela Christianson
Novel in verse – (what’s a novel in verse? Basically – a novel that is made up of short prose verses – not necessarily poems, so each verse tells a small story, then all strung together make the larger narrative.) The defining characteristic is that the “chapters” are short verses – usually 2-3 pages.

These are GREAT for struggling – lower level readers. This book is 352 pages – and looks like a “regular novel” and therefore, a struggling reader won’t be ashamed to have the cover seen or the size
Grace W
Nov 08, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ya, ya-lgbtqia, poetry
(c/p from my review on TheStoryGraph) So. Here's the thing. I just don't entirely Get the point of view of the main character. Like, I understand some of his motivation and I get a lot of what the story is saying but there's so many times when the lead character does things that simply do not make sense to me. Maybe it's because it is so short or maybe it's the nature of being a book in verse but this just didn't work for me. The other problem is that the minor characters seem pretty two dimensi ...more
Richie Partington
May 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Richie’s Pick: JUNK BOY by Tony Abbott, HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen, October 2020, 368p., ISBN: 978-0-06-249125-1

“As I walk this land of broken dreams
I have visions of many things
But happiness is just an illusion
Filled with sadness and confusion”
-- Jimmy Ruffin “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted” (1967)

The Art Room Door

was wide open
when I passed
and there was sudden noise
an angry voice
growling and spitting
in there

looking in I saw
two girls and a woman
not a teacher

the woman was leaning over
a ski
John Panther
Dec 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Abbot's ingenious mind has crafted a beautiful novel that describes a young boy's struggle with his identity and becoming his own person, taking ownership and authenticity in a life surrounded by 'Junk' - physical and metaphysical.

There are so many wonderful things about this compelling novel: the format and language choice compliment one another to give an explicit, authentic portrayal of someone's inner thoughts and feelings. Through the lack of grammar and the poetic, simplistic writing amalg
Apr 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received an advanced reader copy of this book, which I believe would be an ideal whole class novel in the English Language Arts classroom, perhaps best followed by book clubs with other novels in verse. As a reader, I value this novel in verse most for its tone and its artistry in details.

The protagonist is a fifteen year-old who is neglected by his father and marginalized at school, and what I think is very well done is the capturing of his feelings of isolation amid the hustle and bustle of
Verse works so well for this poignant story of an invisible boy-- bullied as "junk boy" because his house at the end of a lane tucked back is surrounded by junk-- with an uncaring father. He's generally invisible and feels this pain acutely while he doesn't share it outright to anyone. He wants for something larger and starts with setting his sights on fixing up a camper that's been sitting on the property.

The story propels forward when he sees a mother slap her daughter in school while sitting
Wow, this book was gripping, intense, and so true. Teens will love so much about this book and be sharing with their friends!!! Tony Abbott's novel in verse about Bobby Lang who is called junk boy because he lives in a house that is definitely a hoarding situation to anyone who sees the cars, junk, thrown out items, strewn throughout and around the yard and house. Bobby's dad is a drinker, doesn't work and belittles his son daily. In school, Bobby tries to be invisible but one day, he is drawn i ...more
Robert is such a raw and vivid character. He is freakishly similar to my freshman year boyfriend (my first boyfriend): poor, not particularly clean, lived in squalor, parents hated him, Catholic. He was a mess, but he was smart and funny and I liked how he treated me (he also forced my first kiss from me, and then cheated on me. With a dude. He wasn't perfect by any means). He was so very much like Bobby in this book. I could completely believe he would befriend a girl having problems and try to ...more
Chris G.
May 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
Staying invisible and on the edge of things is Robert’s superpower/survival strategy. Home is a shack near the dump, family is shattered, disabled dad, school is silence or bullies. Classmate Rachel is full of energy for her art and anger at her mom who wants to control Rachel’s sexual preferences. Apparently at random, Rachel pulls Robert into her orbit, and her portrait of him helps Robert to see things about himself that he never imagined might be true.

This brief novel in verse does a lot wi
Lisa Laura
Oct 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Junk Boy by Tony Abbott is a surprisingly moving novel written in verse. The story follows Bobby who is nicknamed "junk" by his bullying classmates. Bobby lives in a run down house on the outskirts of town with his neglectful father and a yard littered with junk. He is sad, alone, bullied and hungry. As he begins to clean up the yard himself, his mental state begins to heal as well. He finds a friend who carries her own junk and they begin to heal together.
This is a moving story that touches on
Stella Borrillo
Jun 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book tells the story of a boy attempting to work through his “junk” in a phenomenal, poetic format. The story follows characters that readers can relate to. Every battles their own demons and this book puts this idea in the spotlight, allowing a reader to really place themselves inside the story. I had never read a book that mixes poetry with novel and I can honestly say I wish I had. The story is interesting but on top of that just simply reading it is interesting because of this. I would ...more
Sandy O'Brien
Jul 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“there is no putting
a tree back up after
it’s broken
and fallen
in a storm

maybe with us
with people
it’s different

Two teens from dysfunctional families become just what each other need to have their voices heard.

This novel in verse in not a sweet tale but one of darkness and despair. You will spend the book yelling at the characters in your head for the choices they are making while you slowly begin to root for them in the end.

Beautiful writing that will be used during our poetry unit as a ment
Oct 09, 2020 rated it liked it
Bobby Lang, more commonly known as "Junk" is tired of life as it has been- merciless teasing, a father who hates him, and no friends to be found. All of that begins to shift though when he runs into Rachel. Rachel is an artist who seems to see Bobby in a way no one else does, not even himself.

This novel in verse flowed well and quickly, but was only moderately engaging for me. I didn't feel as though there was much new to the story that I haven't read in a dozen other YA novels. So, while it wa
Janice Robertson
Dec 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
So sad and with so many issues; rejection, cruelty, loneliness,acceptance, identity, neglect, hopelessness.
“You never know how you do things, you just do.”

It’s a book that stays with you long after you’ve finished it and makes you think about the heartbreaking existence of others. In a very unexpected way this book is a reminder to be kind.

This would not appeal to everyone because the intensity of the anguish would be too much for some young readers, but I enjoyed it.
Aug 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rachel and Bobby were so believable that my heart hurt for them. I read this book in one sitting, hoping for good things for both of them. I hope teens with similar issues will see there is hope beyond their pain, and that they have a future. Read the rest of the review on my blog: https://shouldireaditornot.wordpress.... ...more
Oct 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Heartbreaking. Gut wrenching. Tear jerking. This novel in verse has it all. I don’t think Bobby’s story would’ve been as powerful if it weren’t written in verse. Abbott creates characters that span the spectrum and you can love, hate, get frustrated with. Bobby’s story is one we all need to hear. About being alone, finding someone, and working out feelings for that someone.
Cristie Underwood
Oct 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kindle
This is such a great read and shows how two outsiders can find each other and build a friendship over their outcast statuses. The author's writing this in prose made it even better than if it would have been writing as a traditional novel. ...more
Nov 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book was really sad. However, it was very good. The writing was beautiful, and each of the characters connected with me deeply. I hoped for the best for each of them. I love books written in verse, and this was no exception.
Nov 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Rip your heart out good—
Katie Reilley
Nov 06, 2020 rated it liked it
YA novel in verse.

The writing was beautiful, but it took me until the last third of the book to connect with the characters.
Dec 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A story about a young boy's journey from "junk" to unrealized potential.

Bobby isn't thought much of by his peers. He lives in, what looks to be, a junkyard and, as such is picked on and called "junk" by those in his class.

Content to accept he's as useless and invisible as his father--a man to whom Bobby is little more than a personage sharing the same space--an alcoholic with demons of his own to battle, Bobby is trying his best to survive.

When a chance meeting brings him into the toxic orbit
Bookish Nymph
Nov 15, 2020 rated it it was ok
To say I was excited to read this book would be an understatement. I adore Sarah Crossan and have verse novels are my go-to style of writing.

That being said, I was quite disappointed by this novel.

I was not invested in the characters. It was hard to know where the book was going and I wasn't sure what Robert's motives were. I was also not convinced by Bobby and Rachels friendship. For me, Rachel wasn't a likeable character.
I think with more characterisation, this could have been a very effectiv
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Trigger warnings: (view spoiler)

Told in verse, Junk Boy is a young adult contemporary. But there is something raw and different about how it’s told.

Two young people crash together as their separate torrential lives leave them grasping for company. Junk is grappling with the loss of his mother and the
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Tony Abbott (born 1952) is an American author of children's books. His most popular work is the book series The Secrets of Droon, which includes over 40 books. He has sold over 12 million copies of his books and they have been translated into several other languages, including Italian, Spanish, Korean, French, Japanese, Polish, Turkish, and Russian. He has also written the bestseller Firegirl.


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