It’s been a while since I’ve posted, as I spent a couple of weeks preparing for a Teen Librarian job interview. I didn’t get the job, but the crash course I gave myself during that time learning how to best connect Reluctant Readers with the library was a great takeaway. (I took the 10-minute booktalk assignment of the interview to heart and wanted to make sure I discovered as much as possible about RR — whom I prefer to call “Readers with Discriminating Tastes” — in those two weeks.)
Even though I’m still looking for a job, I’m not spending all my free time prepping for an interview, so I can now get back to posting reviews for awesome teen books!
Boy Nobody by Allen Zadoff; pub date June 11, 2013; ISBN 9780316199681
From Goodreads: “Boy Nobody is the perennial new kid in school, the one few notice and nobody thinks much about. He shows up in a new high school, in a new town, under a new name, makes few friends and doesn’t stay long. Just long enough for someone in his new friend’s family to die — of “natural causes.” Mission accomplished, Boy Nobody disappears, and moves on to the next target.”
My review: The back-story of how “The Program” (a shadowy government organization whose goal is to eradicate people they deem unpatriotic) turned a boy into “Boy Nobody” is heartbreaking.
We meet BN as he’s just finishing up one assignment, and we get a good feel for him and his ability to disconnect. Four years of training and assassination missions have erased “BN’s” real name and any memories of his family from recollection. We may learn his real name in the last few pages of the book through another character’s slip of the tongue, but even that can’t be assured.
“Boy Nobody’s” next assignment: make friends with Sam, the daughter of his next target, the mayor of New York, so that he can get close enough to do the job. But when he starts having feelings for Sam, he starts questioning everything he’s known. Is it true that nobody is innocent? Is the mayor really a bad guy? Why is he starting to have brief glimpses of his dad’s face and longings for a normal family life? Can he get those things back if he just sabotages this next assignment?
While the tech-y gadgets and communication methods between BN and the shadowy government handlers he knows as “Mom” and “Dad” (how creepy are those names?) were interesting and kept me reading, what I loved most about this book was how the author inserted head-spinning twists and turns throughout, always keeping me on the edge of my seat. The ending was completely and utterly unexpected. How awesome is that?!?