The Book of Boy
Boy has always been relegated to the outskirts of his small village. With a large hump on his back, a mysterious past, and a tendency to talk to animals, he is often mocked and abused by the other kids in his town. Until the arrival of a shadowy pilgrim named Secondus. Impressed with Boy’s climbing and jumping abilities, Secondus engages Boy as his servant, pulling him into an expedition across Europe to gather the seven precious relics of Saint Peter. Boy quickly realizes this journey is not an innocent one. They are stealing the relics, and gaining dangerous enemies in the process. But Boy is determined to see this pilgrimage through until the end—for what if St. Peter can make Boy’s hump go away?This compelling, action-packed tale is full of bravery and daring, stars a terrific cast of secondary characters, and features an unlikely multigenerational friendship at its heart. Memorable and haunting, Catherine Gilbert Murdock’s epic medieval adventure is just right for readers of Sara Pennypacker’s Pax, Adam Gidwitz’s The Inquisitor’s Tale, and Pam Muñoz Ryan’s Echo.Features a map and black-and-white art throughout.

The Book of Boy Details

TitleThe Book of Boy
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseFeb 6th, 2018
PublisherGreenwillow
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Childrens, Middle Grade, Adventure, Fantasy, Young Adult

The Book of Boy Review

  • Heidi
    January 1, 1970
    Well-written, but odd. And the medieval setting makes it unlikely that many kids will pick it up. The strong religious elements may create strong feelings as they did with me.
  • Ms. Yingling
    January 1, 1970
    E ARC from Edelweiss PlusBoy is a servant in the household of Sir Jacques. It used to be a decent position, especially for a hunchback, but once the lady of the manor and her children died of the plague and Sir Jacques was gravely injured, the former Cook ruled the roost. When Secundus, a pilgrim, happens by and decides that Boy could be useful in carrying his bag, he bargains with Cook and has Boy accompany him. Secundus is ill, and looking for seven relics of St. Peter's that might get him int E ARC from Edelweiss PlusBoy is a servant in the household of Sir Jacques. It used to be a decent position, especially for a hunchback, but once the lady of the manor and her children died of the plague and Sir Jacques was gravely injured, the former Cook ruled the roost. When Secundus, a pilgrim, happens by and decides that Boy could be useful in carrying his bag, he bargains with Cook and has Boy accompany him. Secundus is ill, and looking for seven relics of St. Peter's that might get him into heaven. Along the way, the two must steal, connive, and get into lots of scrapes before they can get all of the relics. Boy has a secret that Secundus guesses, and this motivates him to get Secundus to Rome so that he himself might be helped. Strengths: There are good details about the medieval time period and information about pilgrimages and the religious ideas of the time. The E ARC did not include pictures, but the cover is lovely. Weaknesses: Like Adam Gidwitz’s The Inquisitor’s Tale, this is a fantasy book and not strictly historical fiction. The 7th grade covers the middle ages, and I do have students ask for books on the topic, but I can't get anyone to check out the Gidwitz title. What I really think: I will pass on purchase and stick to Cushman and Avi for realistic titles on this time period. The fantasy element makes this less than useful for my library.
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  • Heidi
    January 1, 1970
    Medieval stories aren't really my favorites, but I'd heard good things about this one so I decided to pick it up. Unfortunately, it turned out to be not really my thing. The book does have plenty of good things going for it though. The writing is excellent, the plot compelling, and the characters intriguing. The details about life at the time including disease, injury, and religious beliefs are all well presented. Those who enjoyed The Inquisitor's Tale will probably like this one, the two books Medieval stories aren't really my favorites, but I'd heard good things about this one so I decided to pick it up. Unfortunately, it turned out to be not really my thing. The book does have plenty of good things going for it though. The writing is excellent, the plot compelling, and the characters intriguing. The details about life at the time including disease, injury, and religious beliefs are all well presented. Those who enjoyed The Inquisitor's Tale will probably like this one, the two books have a similar type of story with similarly unique characters. The problems I had with this one are similar to the problems I had with The Inquisitor's Tale and relate to my own religious beliefs. I'm not a fan of stories that involve taking liberties with religious beliefs, people, and organizations. That very much happens here in relation to ideas about hell, angels, and 'earning' one's way to heaven by collecting so-called religious relics. And the fact that Secondus is stealing the relics with Boy's help doesn't make me feel any better. The book may be considered a Newbery contender by some, but I'm afraid that like The Inquisitor's Tale, this one is going to have a very selective audience. Specifically those who like unusual stories that take place in a hard-to-relate-to time period with rather unusual religious aspects to it. I have a hard time getting kids to pick up historical fiction as it is, I'm afraid this one might be a hard sell despite how well done it is.
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  • Brianna Westervelt
    January 1, 1970
    Taking place in the year 1350, one detects notes of The Canterbury Tales in The Book of Boy. Even though I loathed The Canterbury Tales--I mean, I did only read a selection of them in one of my first college English classes, so give me a break--The Book of Boy almost made me want to give Chaucer another chance. I said, almost.Despite the Chaucer resemblance, The Book of Boy was unlike anything I've ever read--for children, teens, or adults. Threads of faith and hope knit together adolescence and Taking place in the year 1350, one detects notes of The Canterbury Tales in The Book of Boy. Even though I loathed The Canterbury Tales--I mean, I did only read a selection of them in one of my first college English classes, so give me a break--The Book of Boy almost made me want to give Chaucer another chance. I said, almost.Despite the Chaucer resemblance, The Book of Boy was unlike anything I've ever read--for children, teens, or adults. Threads of faith and hope knit together adolescence and experiencing a journey. Though not quite what he seems, Boy possesses qualities and characteristics that many readers could see in themselves. He has his bouts of fear, but also moments of bravery. He senses the good in some people, and the evil in others. He can talk to animals--wait, I don't think many readers will be able to identify with that particular trait.Boy leaves the manor he has known his whole life--his world is so small--to embark on a pilgrimage with Secundus, a mysterious pilgrim who is in search of seven relics of St. Peter. Along the way, they learn to trust each other with the other's secrets. Their journeys merge and then diverge and then merge again. Essentially, this story embodies "it's not about the destination, it's about the journey."
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    I received this through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Boy lives a rough life, now that the most important people in his life have been taken by the plague. He works tirelessly for the Cook and new wife of his master, whose brain no longer works. Boy makes friends with the animals, because he is shunned by people because of the hump on his back. Boy is given the chance to ask Jesus and the saints to take away his hump, when a pilgrim stumbles upon his home and enlists Boy's help. Th I received this through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Boy lives a rough life, now that the most important people in his life have been taken by the plague. He works tirelessly for the Cook and new wife of his master, whose brain no longer works. Boy makes friends with the animals, because he is shunned by people because of the hump on his back. Boy is given the chance to ask Jesus and the saints to take away his hump, when a pilgrim stumbles upon his home and enlists Boy's help. The two travel across the land seeking out various relics tied to St. Peter, so that they are given the chance to ask for their most desired need. As they travel, the reader soon learns that the leader Secondus is not the most devout or good person. This novel is fun and funny. It is more appropriate for older tweens, based on the humor. I enjoyed Boy and had fun with Secondus, even though he was not a great guy.
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  • Jennifer
    January 1, 1970
    This story is set near Rome during the year 1350, shortly after the plague has wiped out a large part of the population in Europe. The titled "boy" is a humble humpback who just wants to be treated kindly, like a normal boy, instead of constantly ridiculed and avoided. When an older pilgrim, Secundus, passes through town, the boy is swept along on a quest to St. Peter's tomb in Rome with stops along the way to collect seven relics. By bringing the relics to St. Peters tomb, a place many travel t This story is set near Rome during the year 1350, shortly after the plague has wiped out a large part of the population in Europe. The titled "boy" is a humble humpback who just wants to be treated kindly, like a normal boy, instead of constantly ridiculed and avoided. When an older pilgrim, Secundus, passes through town, the boy is swept along on a quest to St. Peter's tomb in Rome with stops along the way to collect seven relics. By bringing the relics to St. Peters tomb, a place many travel to for healing and prayers, Secundus plans to accomplish a feat a thousand years in the making. And Boy has his own hope of becoming a normal boy by reaching the holy place. Along the way they are attacked by greedy bandits and wild animals. I won a copy of this in a giveaway and while I enjoyed the story, it wasn't quite the adventure I thought it would be. It was too religious for me. My copy didn't include any of the illustrations which, in my opinion, could really enhance the reading.
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  • Tamsyn
    January 1, 1970
    The character of Boy in this novel set in 1359 France is so appeLing in his innocence, it made the book a pleasure, despite some worry as well. Living on a manor as a goatherd and the butt of jokes and abuse because of his humpback, Boy is made to help a Pilgrim who is on the trail of the relics of Saint Peter, and travels away from home for the first time. I loved his affinity with animals, and the unusual history and discoveries Boy makes about his true nature along the way.
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  • Sam
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoyed this historical romp through the Middle Ages. I love MG that centers on the relationship between a younger protagonist and a parental figure, so this is right up my alley. For all Secondus's crotchety-ness and thievery, you can't help but root for him, and to root for Boy to realize that the world isn't black and white when it comes to what's good and what's bad.
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  • Mackenzie
    January 1, 1970
    Although this book has a few striking moments, a few pleasing twists, overall, it falls flat. Setting, characters, plot... it's all just a little lackluster. Still, middle grade readers who enjoy simple quest tales or medieval settings may find a home here.
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  • Robin
    January 1, 1970
    I wanted to love this middle reader, as the prose and Medieval setting are vivid and fascinating. It jumped the shark for me half-way through, though, with plot twists and metaphors that made me audibly groan.
  • Roxanne
    January 1, 1970
    This is a Goodreads win review. This is a good book for a younger reader who likes medieval times. This boy is an outcast in his town and people mock and abuse him. He becomes a servant and goes on an expedition. It is a good book to let young people know they can be friends with older people.
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  • V
    January 1, 1970
    This was a pretty middle ground read for me. While historically interesting, I just wasn't really taken by the characters, and found myself asking WHY? a lot.
  • Leslie
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars. I enjoyed this book but I wasn't expecting the supernatural, spiritual elements to the story. I think this would work well as a read aloud. I loved how Boy could communicate with animals.
  • Marta Sala
    January 1, 1970
    DNF3° x 3x1
  • Shauna Yusko
    January 1, 1970
    Much like The Inquisitors Tale...and I'm not sure there's audience for this one either in the intended age group.
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