I’ve been freakishly excited for this book since I read the blurb. Ancient monsters in modern day? Bring. it. on.
MAN MADE BOY came out on the 3rd of October.
Thank you Allen&Unwin for the review copy!
Love can be a real monster.
Sixteen-year-old Boy’s never left home. When you’re the son of Frankenstein’s monster and the Bride, it’s tough to go out in public, unless you want to draw the attention of a torch-wielding mob. And since Boy and his family live in a secret enclave of monsters hidden under Times Square, it’s important they maintain a low profile.
Boy’s only interactions with the world are through the Internet, where he’s a hacker extraordinaire who can hide his hulking body and stitched-together face behind a layer of code. When conflict erupts at home, Boy runs away and embarks on a cross-country road trip with the granddaughters of Jekyll and Hyde, who introduce him to malls and diners, love and heartbreak. But no matter how far Boy runs, he can’t escape his demons—both literal and figurative—until he faces his family once more.
This hilarious, romantic, and wildly imaginative tale redefines what it means to be a monster—and a man.
This book is so stinking FUN. Just read that blurb. It’s like a siren screaming READ ME READ ME. The son of Frankenstein’s monster? Granddaughter of Jekyll and Hyde?!! Excuse me while I scream a laugh. This is genius.
Maybe the plot didn’t floor me, but the premise knocked my socks off. How awesome is it to read something quirky and fresh? This book sticks out – and better yet, it comes through with its sticky-out-ness. (That is totally a word.)
Characters? Eh, I’m going to rave, so keep calm. (Or don’t! Who wants to keep calm in the face of a good book?! Who! Who?!) I adored the narrator, Boy. Yes, his name is “Boy”. He needs to work on that. He’s the son of Victor Frankenstein’s monster and the Bride. And he lives in a freak show. That part sounds a little cliché to me, but with all the monsters and how they did their acts and with the family-bonding vibe, I didn’t have a problem. Why did I love Boy? For starts: he’s a huge, ugly (debatable) monster held together by stitches. And he’s NICE. He’s sweet and quiet and a little bit shy. That is so refreshing! I love reading about the “bad boy” as much as any other slightly psychotic reader, but the nice boys are better. Liel didn’t deserve him. Ever.
Which brings me to Liel. Whom I dislike. Strongly. She is a troll (complete with green skin and white hair) and also a dancer. She’s hot and unattainable, but options in the freak show are limited, so she “goes out” with Boy. (Cue racing pulse! Monosyllabic answers out of nerves! The dreams of his born days!) Not once did I like Liel. She always seemed slinky, even when she was being nice.
Obviously, she’s not even in the blurb: the granddaughters of Jekyll and Hyde are. So! On to them, right? You’re going to love this. Think of Addie and Eve out of Kat Zhang’s WHAT’S LEFT OF ME. Then think of Jekyll and Hyde themselves. Two people in one body? BOYYAAAH. I loved the concept. I loved how snarky Claire was and how bouncy Sophie was. They were opposite, and epic, and made the road-trip amazing.
Honestly, this book plays with a bit of everything. It has a massive road trip, show biz, freak shows, monsters from any myth every invented, psychos, car chases, family bonding, and Switzerland. Sometimes I felt a little overloaded. But I loved it. I loved the variety.
The only thing I would say isn’t top-notch is the writing. The voice is 99% quirky and fresh, but the writing almost stagnated at times. Similar scenes and cliché dialogue. And then it flipped over and was AWESOME. There were some awesome gems. Like these:
“Humans are pretty complicated,” I said. “No, Boy. Rain-forest ecosystems are complicated. Humans are just a mess.”
“You were trying to impress her with a story about getting mauled by a thresher?”“It made sense at the time.”“Ah, youth.” He sighed. “Do you know what I would give to be young again?”“No, what?”“Nothing. In fact, you’d have to pay me.”
The humour is SO good! It’s nearly deadpan, and definitely enjoyable.
Monsters are sweet and the world is crazy. I’m SO impressed with this book. The blurb promises great things and comes through on every angle.
Jon Skovron has been an actor, musician, lifeguard, Broadway theater ticket seller, warehouse grunt, technical writer, and web developer. Now he is a father and the author of Young Adult novels Struts & Frets, Misfit and the forthcoming Man Made Boy (Fall, 2013), as well as many short stories and essays. He generally likes stories that are dark, strange, and occasionally funny.
Jon was born in Columbus, Ohio. After traveling around a bit, from Pittsburgh to London to New York to Seattle, he has settled, somewhat haphazardly, in the Washington, DC area, where he and his two sons can regularly be seen not fitting into the general Government scene.
Cait is busily writing. After writing for a week, she officially has 40K. This makes her happy. She’s tossing between reading Not a Drop to Drink and The Naturals. It is a painfully difficult choice. Between writing and reading, she is dropping hints about mince pies. It is nearly Christmas after all.