Title: Boy 23
Author: Jim Carrington
Release Date: January 2016
Retail Price: $15.99
Overall Rating: 7.5/10
Genre: Adventure, Drama, Fantasy, Dystopian
When Boy 23, arrived on my doorstep. I gladly picked it up, after being dragged in by the mysterious cover and title. The storyline of Boy 23 kept me up, I’ve never really read a novel quite like this one. There were little flaws here and there but it was a light easy read. If you are looking for a little read after reading something that’s hardcore and intense, Boy 23 if a pretty good novel.
Boy 23 follows the story of a young boy, who has lived his whole life inside a room which provides him with all of his necessary amenities, called My Place. The voice, is Boy 23’s only interaction with a human. One day, he mysteriously wakes up in a dark place and is thrown outside into a new world with only a backpack filled with little supplies and a note from the voice, which tells him to run far far away. However, along the way he discovers that many want him dead and he can only learn to trust himself and the people that really know him well.
*SPOILERS AHEAD FOR BOY 23 BY JIM CARRINGTON*
After finishing this novel, I was conflicted. On one side, I really liked the storyline and believed it could have great potential. However, on the other, the writing wasn’t amazing and some of the characters were slightly cliche. There were some good parts and some negatives but the novel wasn’t horrible and I enjoyed reading it.
Boy 23, also called Jesper, was the most three-dimensional character in the story. You could tell that Carrington put a lot of thought and effort into his personality. The fact that he didn’t really know much about the world, could easily be flawed in stories but based on Jesper’s actions and situations you could tell he didn’t have much prior knowledge. Not only that but Jesper’s young and immature personality slowly develops throughout the story and you can really see that at the end of the novel. At the start of the novel, Jesper was easily manipulated, especially by Father Frei but as the novel progresses Jesper begins to understand trust and he begins to put up barriers.
I also really enjoyed discovering that who he really is. Keeping this question unanswered from the start of the novel, really pushed me to continue reading the novel. Not only that but I love dystopias, where the world has been stricken by an epidemic. Jesper, unsurprisingly is the “special-one” who has mysteriously developed a cure from the Marsh Flu and I really wanted to find out more about his mysterious history. Towards the end of the novel, we discover he is a hybrid, which seemed slightly cliche and despite the major lead-up to this moment, I was disappointed.
The novel was written in three different point of views, which I found unnecessary. Both Blake and Carina’s chapters were written very similarly. Jim Carrington’s writing is very plain and simple: “I push and pull,” and unfortunately, this brought the book down. The simple writing made both Blake and Carina’s chapters very similar. Not only that but if it was purely in Jesper’s point of view, there would have been more unanswered questions which would have made the novel more mysterious and intriguing. Jesper’s perspective had more of a distinction due to the fact that he didn’t know much about the world and his thoughts really reflected that.
The ending was the best part of the novel, as many secrets were uncovered and there were little plot twists here and there. When I discovered that Blake was Boy 23’s father I wasn’t very surprised but I did enjoy discovering about the “aliens” as it added a new dimension to the story that I was excited about. I can’t wait to read about them in the next novel. Hopefully, he will get to meet his siblings one day. I also enjoyed reading Carina and Jesper’s friendship develop. I was surprised when Blake died and watching Jesper get upset was heart-breaking.
Overall, I enjoyed reading this light read and I’ll definitely have my eyes open for the next novel. Jesper’s character was intriguing and I’m excited to see how his story plays out.