Book Review: Boy 23 by Jim Carrington


Title: Boy 23
Author: Jim Carrington
Published: November 19th 2015
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Sci-Fi
Length: 384 pages
Source: NetGalley eARC

Book Blurb (via Goodreads):

Boy 23 isn’t in My Place any more. He can’t see The Screen, he can’t hear The Voice. Boy 23 is alone.

One dark night, Boy 23 is thrown in the back of the van and driven out of My Place – the only home he has ever known. He is abandoned in a forest with a rucksack containing the bare essentials for survival. Before the van drives away, a voice tells him he must run as far as he can. His life depends on it. Boy 23 has never known another human. Boy 23 has never even been outside. So who is he? Why do people want to kill him? And more to the point, who is the voice that wants to save him?

A hugely fast-paced dystopian page-turner which by the end will leave you in a state of shock. For fans of Chaos Walking and Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror.

My Thoughts

I knew next to nothing about this book when I first saw it, but I was super excited to pick it up and read it. I like going into a book knowing almost nothing about it and the cover was enough to grip my initial interest.

Boy 23 – or Jesper – has been kept in a facility known as My Place for his entire life. He’s lived in his own room with no interaction with other people other than occasional messages from The Voice. Then one night, he’s taken outside My Place and left in a forest with nothing but a message from The Voice telling him to head in a certain direction and a bag full of supplies.

Jesper doesn’t understand how the world outside of My Place works and his curiosity gets the better of him, ending up with him being captured and taken to a home run by priests who discover his unique ability and use it to their own advantage.

I found it hard to get into this book just because it was quite slow to begin with. I found it tedious after a while to continue to see Jesper questioning everything around him and not really progressing very far. The alternate chapters with the other characters were only slightly better, but they made the story feel very disjointed in the beginning with wondering how these other people fit into the story.

The language of Jesper was difficult to follow at times too, with words like ‘yomp’ and ‘squizz’ thrown around like we’re supposed to understand them straight away.

However, as the story progressed and the characters’ plots lined up, I found myself completely engrossed in what was going on and I flew through the end of the book. Jesper doesn’t realise that he’s different from everyone else – particularly in the way that his body heals itself almost immediately – and his continual surprise at their shock to this fact was mildly amusing.

The action that dominates the latter part of the story was very edge-of-your-seat reading and I found myself desperate to know what would happen next. I got rather attached to the characters the longer they were together.

The thing that really saved this story for me was the mystery surrounding Jesper’s life: why had he lived in a room by himself for his whole life? why was he able to heal himself so easily? why was the company who had held him for so long trying to kill him now?

The answers to these questions was not what I had expected, but looking back on it, it didn’t surprise me that it turned out the way it did. It was a great twist that made me go ‘huh’ out loud, in that I-had-not-expected-this kind of way.

An intriguing story that keeps you guessing.


Buy Links!

Amazon UK | Amazon US | Barnes & Noble | Book People | Waterstones

Book Depository | Foyles

About the Author

No biography is available at this time.



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