Sunday, 3 January 2016

Imogen’s Book of the Week: Boy X by Dan Smith, published by Chicken House (Feb 2016)

Happy New Year – and how exciting it’s looking already for debuts and new releases! My first Sunday Best of 2016 is Boy X, a compulsive adventure story from Dan Smith, writer of survival stories for younger readers and nerve-wracking thrillers for adults.

Ash McCarthy wakes up in an unfamiliar bed, with bare walls and white light all around him. He has been drugged; there is still a needle in his arm. And he is apparently alone.

As he explores his strange new environment, he discovers a succession of identical rooms, a sinister logo, and a wild, hostile jungle outside the building. He is no longer in England.  He is on a remote, tropical island, where the wildlife is not the only threat he faces. To save himself, his mother, and perhaps the whole world from the forces at play here, he must fight for survival – and accept the changes that seem to be awakening within him…

This is a ferociously fast-paced story, with classic sci-fi and techno-thriller influences, like John Wyndham and Michael Crichton, worn lightly. The swiftness of the action doesn’t come at the expense of characterisation, though; Ash faces a series of forks in the road, each of which force him to ask who he is, what he values, and how much he can endure. It’s the wealth of scary creatures on the island, however, along with pulse-pounding, high-stakes pursuit and the nerve-wracking consciousness of time running out, that will ensure that any young (or older!) reader stays glued to the page throughout. A must for James Dashner fans – or anyone who likes nail-biting tales of action and courage.


  1. How exciting to start the new year with such a fantastic review of Boy X! Happy New Year to everyone - I hope 2016 is a great one!

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