Goodnight, Boy by Nikki Sheehan

Thanks to the #kidlitexchange network for the free review copy of his book – all opinions are my own.

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

A tale of two very different worlds, both shattered by the loss of loved ones. Tragic, comic and full of hope, thanks to a dog called Boy.

The kennel has been JC’s home ever since his new adoptive father locked him inside. For hours on end, JC sits and tells his dog Boy how he came to this country: his family; the orphanage and the Haitian earthquake that swept everything away.

When his adoptive mother Melanie rescues him, life starts to feel normal again. Until JC does something bad, something that upset his new father so much that he and Boy are banished to the kennel. But as his new father gets sicker, JC realizes they have to find a way out. And so begins a stunning story of a boy, a dog and their journey to freedom.

Review:

Wow. This one was an emotional ride. I’ll be honest and admit that I didn’t catch on right away to the fact that JC and Boy were both living in the kennel. When that realization hit, the story blew wide open for me. 

JC’s voice, his internal dialogue, language, and storytelling, were all vital to the feeling of this story.  Not only did it help to add to the ambiance, but it also, I think, will help younger readers, the readers for whom this book is targeted, relate to him. Or if not relate, at least understand and empathize. It’s a voice they can recognize. 

The layout of the text on the pages also helps in relaying the feeling of the story to the reader as it progresses. There are no chapters in the book, symbolic, I thought, of the never-ending feeling JC experienced as he waited for Melanie to come back home and let them out. Some of the pages had only two or three lines of text on them, seemingly placed haphazardly on the page.  Again, it felt symbolic of JC’s emotional experiences at that point in the story. 

The resilience of JC and Boy was really incredible. Despite the levity of the story, this survival attitude and refusal to give up makes the story a page-turner. This is a book that I’d recommend to young adult and adult readers alike.  I believe it could be suitable for some middle grade readers as well. 

Highly recommend. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Purchase links: Barnes & Noble – IndieBound – Amazon

Author links: Website – Facebook – Twitter

Book stats: paperback, 252 pages, Rock Boat, August 8, 2017

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