Thor's Reviews > The Boys Who Woke Up Early

The Boys Who Woke Up Early by A.D.  Hopkins
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bookshelves: fiction, in-the-past

Compared to my typical dish of words, this book is different. Normally I consume an odd diet of classics combined with science fiction and fantasy, and as such, this is a book that certainly was a welcome addition of flavouring to my diet. Different in style, setting and development, this was a refreshing way to start 2019 and new book thoughts. I liked it, and I think you will too.

The main character is Stony, who finds a new friend in Jack, a newcomer to the local county. They're both teenagers living through the lens of a southern state in the 1960s. The fact that they're teenagers comes across as a useful pin whenever something substantially dumb or short-sighted is done, and otherwise, a lot can be explained by the current social context that the county inhibits.

When all is said and done, the characters develop nicely, clearly learning from both their mistakes and where they want to go. Stony's experiences are different, but they also seem natural. Even the gaps between ordinary teenage life in the sixties and the more... southern aspects are bridged in a reasonable and enjoyable way. The pacing is patient, and while it is occasionally a bit too calm, it's never quiet for too long before the storm.

Personally, there are parts where I struggled to connect with the world within. Additionally, as a northern-European, the comparison of the county centre to a baseball track left me unable to envision the layout, beyond some element of squareness. One crossing line? Where exactly? I don't know, but it's not too important. Luckily the book does not rest on its only baseball comparison or the only one that was spelt outright. Then there are the firearms. I grew up with the seasonal moose hunting myself, but boy does Early county have a lot of barrels and bullets. If anything, it made me appreciate how common they *can* be, and view the cultural gap between here and there, even today, more clearly.

I was startled when the first usage of a certain word crept up, even though I knew it was coming (this book does involve the Ku Klux Klan, after all). It is a repeat visitor, but never in a way that seems disrespectful in the context that the books exist in. Nonetheless, I would look around every now and then to see if anyone could see what I was reading.

All in all, I think a valid word to describe the book is cohesive. There are a lot more characters than just Stony and his friend, and they are all tied into the story in an enjoyable, understandable and personally motivated way. Even characters who all-in-all are mostly insignificant behave consistently and in a relatable way, and help move everything forward. Without the bustling life and small, yet important, interpersonal relationships between people Stony would not have ended up where he did.

I was provided with an ARC.
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Reading Progress

January 3, 2019 – Started Reading
January 3, 2019 – Shelved
January 3, 2019 –
January 5, 2019 –
January 12, 2019 –
50.0% "Rich isn't nice."
January 13, 2019 –
January 20, 2019 – Shelved as: fiction
January 20, 2019 – Shelved as: in-the-past
January 20, 2019 – Finished Reading

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