A NoveleBook - 2015
Boo is the highly anticipated debut novel from one of the most incomparable voices in Canadian literature: Bang Crunch author Neil Smith.
Oliver Dalrymple, nicknamed "Boo" because of his pale complexion and staticky hair, is an outcast at his Illinois middle school--more interested in biology and chemistry than the friendship of other kids. But after a tragic accident, Boo wakes up to find himself in a very strange sort of heaven: a town populated only by 13-year-old Americans. While he desperately wants to apply the scientific method to find out how this heaven works (broken glass grows back; flashlights glow without batteries; garbage chutes plummet to nowhere), he's confronted by the greatest mystery of all--his peers. With the help of his classmate Johnny, who was killed at the same time, Boo begins to figure out what exactly happened to them (and who they really were back in America) through this story about growing up, staying young and the never-ending heartbreak of being 13.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Baker & Taylor
"One minute, Oliver "Boo" Dalrymple is next to his locker at school reciting the periodic table from heart; the next he finds himself in "Town," an afterlife exclusively for thirteen year-olds. As Boo works to acclimate himself to his new home, another boy from his hometown--Johnny--appears, seemingly a victim of the same school shooter. A social outcast back in America, Boo quickly finds the friendship and joy that he never knew in life, but as he and Johnny search for the identity of their mysterious murderer, possibly now a fellow resident of Town, they uncover a truth that will have profound repercussions for them both. Beautifully drawn and filled with colorful characters, Boo is a story about finding your place in the world, be it this one or the next"--
From the critics
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SPL_Melanie thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over
SummaryAdd a Summary
It’s 1970, and school is not going so great for Oliver “Boo” Dalrymple – nicknamed for his similarity to the pale reclusive Boo Radley in To Kill A Mockingbird. In fact, as the story begins, he blacks out right in front of his locker.
And then he wakes up in heaven, assuming that his congenital heart defect has finally done him in. It’s an unexpected heaven, in which all of the residents are 13 year old Americans, although Oliver discovers that while everyone looks 13, some of them have been there for much longer than a year. His new world is full of weirdly specific rules that he must decipher, even as he begins to make friends – just one more difference from his past life. One of these friends is another recent arrival, Johnny, someone Oliver knew in his schooldays.
But what he finds out from Johnny is that they were both murdered…and their killer just may be in heaven with them.
This sets off a journey of discovery, with Oliver, Johnny and their friends trying to figure out what actually happened to them back at school. It also instigates a lot of soul-searching about justice and what the right punishment is for their killer, if they ever find him.
The story is complex, with a diverse cast of characters who all ‘come of age’ through their experiences despite being stuck at the age of 13. The power of friendship and trust is a strong thread that weaves each of these lives together. Smith creates engaging characters with a wide-ranging variety of personalities and characteristics, and each has something new to add to the story.
Written in the form of a letter to Boo’s parents, whom he is desperate to reassure of his continued well-being, this book is a touching portrayal of a young man struggling to find the meaning of his afterlife. It is highly imaginative, thoughtful, and at times extremely funny. I haven’t come across such an original story in ages – if you’re looking for something unusual that can spark conversation about deep themes, while also being an entertaining, eventful read, give this one a try.
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