Title: Boy Nobody
Author: Allen Zadoff
Series: Boy Nobody (Book One)
Who’s it for? Teens – older teens.
What’s it about? It’s about the perfect assassin. A teenage boy, forever the new boy, who near seamlessly makes himself part of the mark’s life. Interacting with them till he can enter their home and make a quick kill of the real target – potentially his new friend’s parent. But this mission…this mission is different. The timescale is smaller and memories are surfacing of his past life.
What’s good about it? You don’t learn the main character’s name until almost the very end of the book. Oh, he’s called Benjamin for a fair chunk of it. But that’s not his name, not his real one, it’s just the identity he’s using at that point. Why is that good? It’s good because it is really, really difficult not to mention names when writing. I didn’t even realise for the longest time that his name hadn’t been mentioned.
I loved that it was written from Boy Nobody’s perspective. It was fascinating to read his thoughts – especially as they didn’t reflect what he was actually saying or doing at the time.
His character is intriguing. A perfect teenage assassin, with very little feelings. He reacts logically, based on his training – if he’s in doubt, he emulates. I really, really liked though that for someone who had to change their personality to suit the mission he still had a very distinct personality bleeding through.
There’s interesting questions of morality raised here. After all, Boy Nobody is an assassin yet you find yourself cheering him on. Then there’s a whole host of other characters who don’t fit into the usual neat boxes of good and evil.
There were several twists I just didn’t see coming. The story-line fires off in ways you don’t expect, even when you think you know where it’s going. It makes for one hell of a read.
What’s bad about it? Certain things should not happen to library books. That’s all I’m saying.
The verdict? I read this almost in a single train journey. I very nearly missed my station because I was 30 pages from the end. I remain utterly disgusted that the weather was not dry enough to allow me to get off the train still reading the book. It’s just that gripping.
There’s a masterful level of tension here and it’s really helped by an unexpected plot twist. I saw one bit coming, but not the end reveal. That was genuinely shocking. I did not expect certain choices to be made.
The gadgets Boy Nobody carries are fascinating, I loved that he could use any phone and still get his relevant spy apps uploaded to it (it’s actually a lot cooler than I just made it sound). Yes, one did help with his preferred method of killing, but when all the assassinations you do are designed to look like death from natural causes, that’s fairly understandable.
In all, the characters are fantastic, the pacing is excellent, it’s utterly absorbing and a brilliant start to a new series. Given the revelations towards the end, I’m very intrigued to see where this one will go.
Give yourself time to read it though. It’s seriously difficult to put down.