Monday 28 June 2021

The Boy I Am - K. L. Kettle

They say we’re dangerous. But we’re not that different.

Jude is running out of time. Once a year, lucky young men in the House of Boys are auctioned to the female elite. But if Jude fails to be selected before he turns seventeen, a future deep underground in the mines awaits.

Yet ever since the death of his best friend at the hands of the all-powerful Chancellor, Jude has been desperate to escape the path set out for him. Finding himself entangled in a plot to assassinate the Chancellor, he finally has a chance to avenge his friend and win his freedom. But at what price?

A speculative YA thriller, tackling themes of traditional gender roles and power dynamics, for fans of Malorie Blackman, Louise O’Neill and THE POWER.

What did I think?

I don't read a lot of dystopian fiction so I thought I'd take a little look at The Boy I Am and I could always put it down if I didn't get into it...almost 200 pages later, I did put it down but only because it was teatime.  I honestly didn't think it would be my kind of thing, but sometimes books that surprise you are the best books to find.

Jude lives in a world where boys have all choices taken away from them; they must act gentlemanly at all times, never look at a woman's face and only speak when spoken to.  Their only purpose in life is to be selected by rich women as companions and if they're not chosen they are sent to the mines and never seen again.  The Chancellor rules with an iron fist and it appears that everyone bows to her will, however, a resistance is growing with a plan to remove her from power.  The Chancellor has eyes everywhere apart from in the Outside...where the brave must venture in order to bring her down.

Turning gender on its head, K. L. Kettle has written a stunning dystopian debut novel; it's officially YA but it's most definitely suitable and hugely enjoyable for adults too.  It's as thought-provoking and imaginative as The Handmaid's TaleThe Hunger Games and many more books that I haven't read yet but really must read.  It's so provocative and memorable that I wouldn't be surprised to see future novels being compared to The Boy I Am.

I don't think I will ever forget The Boy I Am; it's a book I would like to read again which definitely makes it a 5 star read for me.  K. L. Kettle's imagination is jaw-droppingly brilliant and her writing is so vivid and perfectly crafted that The Boy I Am is nothing short of magnificent.  After seeing through Jude's eyes, I will never look at the world in the same way again.  An unmissable book and very highly recommended.

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