It is the first week of school in 1979, and Oliver "Boo" Dalrymple ghostly pale eighth grader; aspiring scientist; social pariah is standing next to his locker, reciting the periodic table. Read more...
It is the first week of school in 1979, and Oliver "Boo" Dalrymple ghostly pale eighth grader; aspiring scientist; social pariah is standing next to his locker, reciting the periodic table. The next thing he knows, he finds himself lying in a strange bed in a strange land. He is a new resident of a place called Town an afterlife exclusively for thirteen-year-olds. Soon Boo is joined by Johnny Henzel, a fellow classmate, who brings with him a piece of surprising news about the circumstances of the boys deaths.
In Town, there are no trees or animals, just endless rows of redbrick dormitories surrounded by unscalable walls. No one grows or ages, but everyone arrives just slightly altered from who he or she was before. To Boo s great surprise, the qualities that made him an outcast at home win him friends; and he finds himself capable of a joy he has never experienced. But there is a darker side to life after death and as Boo and Johnny attempt to learn what happened that fateful day, they discover a disturbing truth that will have profound repercussions for both of them.
Hilarious and heartwarming, poignant and profound, Boo is a unique look at the bonds of friendship in what is, ultimately, a book about finding your place in the world be it this one, or the next."
- ISBN-13: 9780804171366
- ISBN-10: 080417136X
- Publisher: Vintage
- Publish Date: May 2015
- Page Count: 320
- Dimensions: 8 x 5.1 x 0.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 0.5 pounds
Series: Vintage Contemporaries
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-02-16
- Reviewer: Staff
Short story writer Smith (Bang Crunch) delivers a splendidly confident debut novel, a fantasy of emotional healing in a unique afterlife. In 1979, 13-year-old Oliver “Boo” Dalrymple is an intelligent but socially awkward outcast, born with a defective heart. One day, he’s at his school locker, getting taunted by the school bullies as usual, and then he suddenly finds himself in the afterlife, presumably dead from his condition. This afterworld is an unusual one, however, populated entirely by other 13-year-olds who died in the U.S.A., and when his acquaintance Johnny joins him a few weeks later, Boo discovers that he and Johnny were actually shot by an unknown fellow classmate. Along with a number of new friends, Johnny and Boo set out on a quest to discover who shot them and investigate the rumors of portals that would allow them back to the world of the living. Smith smoothly develops his vision of an afterlife in which a theoretical god supplies random items from the living world, electronics run without power, and kids are left to their own devices. The story is never about providing solid answers, but readers who appreciate that sort of ambiguity will find that the emotional payoffs are both surprising and moving. (May)