TITLE: Dead Boy
AUTHOR: Laurel Gale
Overall: ★★★★★ (4.75)
Crow isn’t like the other kids. He stinks. He’s got maggots. His body parts fall off at inopportune moments. (His mom always sews them back on, though.) And he hasn’t been able to sleep in years. Not since waking up from death.
But worse than the maggots is how lonely Crow feels. When Melody Plympton moves in next door, Crow can’t resist the chance to finally make a friend. With Melody around he may even have a shot at getting his life back from the mysterious wish-granting creature living in the park. But first there are tests to pass. And it will mean risking the only friend he’s had in years.
Debut author Laurel Gale’s story about friendship fulfilled may be the most moving—and most macabre—yet.
Buy it HERE on Amazon!
THE CRITICAL POINTS
Let me start by explaining why I was reading a middle-grade book about a boy who is basically the walking dead. I was wondering through the dollar store when I found Dead Boy sitting on the shelf. Not only did the little boy on the cover look so sad I immediately felt the urge to pick up the book, but when I skimmed the pages and realized the reading level I thought, this would be a great book to read with my son for our summer book club. So, I paid the $1.09 and bought the book. The cover drew me in and the idea of reading with my son is what pushed me to buy it.
WRITING: Laurel Gale is a very passionate writer. It has been a long time since I read a middle-grade book that I, as an adult, really enjoyed. Gale has a way of making us empathize with Crow, the lead character a boy who died and then returned… only to age while slowly rotting away. Although this book technically is a middle-grade reading level, like I said before, Gale explores context that only an adult reader will truly understand; an obsessive mother’s love, dangers that threaten our children’s safety, the damage of helicopter parenting, the devastation that comes with the loss of a child, and the desperation of parents who are grieving.
STORY: The book centers around Crow, a young boy who died in fourth grade but somehow – magically – was brought back to life. I won’t tell you how… you’ll have to read the book to learn the secrets that lie within. The problem was, he wasn’t brought back all the way. Crow is doomed to grow old while his body slowly rots away and maggots infest his corps. It sounds gruesome right? I’ll admit the maggots got to me, but the store that Gale tells about this little boy’s life, friendships, adventures, and ultimately his selflessness was beautiful.
CHARACTERS: Gale really pulls at your heartstrings with Crow and his little friend Melody. She has a wonderful way of drawing you in and making you love the characters. It’s a short book at only 245 pages and a quick read. I finished it in just 2 days while on travel. However, if I’m being honest, I didn’t want it to end. If this is a series, and I don’t know that it is, I would definitely pick up the rest of the books. I can’t wait to get home and talk to my son about it and see what he thinks.
APPEARANCE: Beautiful! The illustrator did a fantastic job with the cover. It was the first thing I noticed about the book and nothing else mattered… I wanted this book on my book shelf for the cover alone. The fact that it ended up being a great story too, well, that’s just a bonus.
MY FAVORITE QUOTE: “Crow suspected that although Luke was popular and had never had to deal with maggots or foul odors, he got lonely sometimes. Maybe having friends wasn’t as important as having the right friends.”
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