Boo (★★★★★)

Boo Smith

Boo is a crazy unique story about a thirteen-year old boy who finds himself, well, dead–without knowing why. While trapped in an afterlife that is never quite understood or explained, he must unravel the details surrounding his strange and sudden death.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t immediately love this book. In fact, I thought it was painfully boring at first, and I found myself picking it up, putting it down, picking it up, etc. But something really started to click about 75 pages in–I think when Johnny joins Boo in heaven–because that’s when the circumstances of both boys’ deaths begin to get interesting.

I won’t give details of the book away, but suffice it to say that this story is unlike anything I’ve read before (and I read a lot). It is creative, clever, and smart. Also, totally unpredictable. I was blown away by the way Smith presented death and the afterlife–and especially by the way he managed to incorporate that in-between state of “not quite dead, but just barely alive” existence (like when people are in comas) into the after-world, too.

Moreover, I thought Smith offered powerful commentary on the oft-discussed topic of bullying. He managed to emphasize the urgency of the problem and communicate support without being heavy-handed, obvious, or pushy. It was brilliant, as far as I’m concerned.

Overall, this was an incredibly engaging book that kept surprising me. It may have started out slowly, but it ended up being one of the best books I’ve read this year.

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