One of many proof copies that I picked up this year at YALC was Goodnight, Boy by Nikki Sheehan. I hadn’t heard of this particular book, but upon further inspection I noticed that it had been blurbed by one of my favourite authors, Sarah Crossan, so I dived into the novel for the 2017 Reading Challenge.
Title: Goodnight, Boy
Author: Nikki Sheehan
Category: #45 A book about an immigrant or refugee
“But I’m stronger than the wind because I know what love and losing someone feels like and I’m STILL HERE.”*
When JC is kidnapped and taken away from his family, he spends his childhood growing up on the streets and fending for himself. Following a deadly earthquake which sees him admitted to hospital, a young female doctor called Melanie decides to adopt him, and take him away from his native country to the United States of America.
The novel, told in free verse, follows JC’s journey to the USA, adapting to life with a new mother and father, and, most importantly, the incredible relationship he shares with his new dog, Boy. The story is told in both the present day and through flashbacks, which aids in creating tension. It is certainly an emotional read, and includes serious themes such as abuse.
*quoted from advanced reader copy, published quote may differ
Given that the novel is written as a poem, it is a quick read, but the characters are very well developed. Whilst I don’t believe that there is much that can shock me in literature, this book did: I grew to love the dog, Boy, as a character in his own right, and certain events relating to him were difficult to process. It is a very powerful read, and I’m sure that the story will remain with me for years to come.
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