Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Teen Spirit: "Boo" by Neil Smith

Sometimes you come across a book that is so original you want everyone you know to read it. Boo by Neil Smith is such a book. It is very funny, yet also quite poignant. And thoughtful. It is a book you will remember as our lead character, 13 year old Oliver "Boo" Dalrymple, has such a memorable voice and presence.

 Boo is, or should we say was, a boy who is super smart yet lacking a bit in social skills. The story is set in 1979 so he has to deal as best he can. Today he would probably be coded and placed on some spectrum or other. He is called Boo because he is pale, almost albino pale, and has blonde stick-uppy hair. He was born with a defective heart which would have caused him some problems later in life. He is also the main target of Helen Keller Jr. High's bullies. There are boys in his class who live to make Boo miserable. Or did. But something happened one day as he stood at his locker, memorizing the Periodic table and gazing at photos of his two heroes, Richard Dawkins and Jane Goodall. He dies.

And then wakes up again in a fascinating afterlife called Town which is a kind of Heaven that is populated only by 13 year old Americans. As Boo adjusts to this new life he writes it all down for his devoted parents who may never see it, but it gives him purpose and us his story.

And as his story unfolds, he finds that it is easier to actually make friends and be accepted in this other world than on earth. One person he befriends is a boy who died the same day. A boy who had been kind to Boo back home.  A handsome, popular boy. We will find out how they both ended up here and Boo will realize it may not have been his holey heart that gave out on him.
The Recommender LOVED this book. If you are looking for something different to read this summer, check out Boo. It is about as delightfully different as you can get. Thank you to Edelweiss for the DRC!