Boy 23, or Jesper, has never seen another person before. His whole life has been spent in a controlled environment. His meals arrive on trays, The Voice gives him educational tasks to complete, and as a reward he gets to watch things on The Screen.
Then, blindfolded, abducted and abandoned in a forest, Boy 23 is told to run as far as he can and fight for his life. But who is he? Why do people want him dead? And more to the point, who is The Voice, and why does he want to save him?
The room lurches. Everything swirls, nothing staying still. I close my eyes to try to stop it moving, but that doesn’t work, does it? The whole world spins. And my thoughts spin with it and I’m thinking about the tray and that it needs to be picked up, and how my hands feel strange, like my fingers are too big and too sensitive. And the walls – I’m suddenly thinking about how they’re white and I’m wondering if they were always white or did they used to be grey, and I’m wondering who changed them if they did.
Boy 23 presented an interesting premise; a boy raised away from people, suddenly thrust out into the world to fend for himself. He has no experience of what is normal, so he doesn’t realise that he heals unnaturally fast, or that the language he speaks isn’t the only language that exists, until he finds himself around people who communicate in sounds he doesn’t understand, and he’s the odd one out.
There was a virus many years ago that wiped out the majority of the population, and there are rumours of a new strain. There’s a religion-centric children’s home, and priests with questionable motives. There’s a corporation that wants to stop anyone from finding out that Jesper exists. And there are conspiracy theories.
It had the potential to be great, but it got stuck somewhere along the way, in between middle grade and young adult.The rest of this review can be found HERE!