He is the kind of boy who just appears, suddenly finding his way into your life without you even knowing how or why. On any given day, he can be the new kid, the teammate, the best friend. He can also be the killer who takes away the people close to you, disappearing without a trace. As quickly as he becomes somebody, he returns to being nobody. Every identity he takes on, every fabricated life he portrays, is all for a single purpose: to finish the assignment given to him by the Project.
"One thing I really enjoyed about BOY NOBODY was its focus on Ben --- both on his adventure and on his emotional journey as he finds himself getting closer and closer to others in a way that is alien to him."
When he is placed in New York as Ben, the new kid at a famous school on the Upper West Side, the assignment seems simple enough: take out the mayor of New York. Only this time, he has a time limit. As Ben searches for a quick way to finish the job, he finds himself face-to-face with Sam, the mayor’s daughter. As Ben tries to complete his mission, he finds himself becoming more and more entangled with the girl in front of him. Coupled with a strange Presence following him, Ben struggles between finishing his assignment and controlling his growing feelings towards Sam.
One thing I really enjoyed about BOY NOBODY was its focus on Ben --- both on his adventure and on his emotional journey as he finds himself getting closer and closer to others in a way that is alien to him. Told through his perspective, BOY NOBODY explores the narrator’s character and his constant struggle within himself between doing what he has been taught and following his own, newfound feelings. Readers are instantly submerged into “Ben’s” cold, calculating mind, but also find themselves thrown into a jumble of emotions that seem both familiar and confusing. His struggle is relatable to readers and, as I curled myself into my chair, I found myself hoping that things would work out for Ben and the other characters Allen Zadoff flushes out so well in this story.
Allen Zadoff also does a good job with balancing the romantic aspects of the story with the deeply character-driven aspect of the story. Though the plot was paced too slowly at times in comparison to the rest of the story, Zadoff does a great job illustrating key plot points and arcs. The suspense and dimension of mystery left me wanting more at the end of every chapter.
Overall, BOY NOBODY was an exciting read and a good way to pick up the summer.
Reviewed by Ashley Tran on July 1, 2013
- Publication Date: June 11, 2013
- Genres: Young Adult 14+
- Hardcover: 352 pages
- Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
- ISBN-10: 0316199680
- ISBN-13: 9780316199681