Monday, July 15, 2013

Boy Nobody - Allen Zadoff

Boy Nobody
Allen Zadoff
Little, Brown and Company
Thriller/Young Adult

It’s one thing to be the new kid in school in the middle of a school year.  It’s something very different when you’re there in order to carry out a mission.  The mission is pretty standard: assimilate, eliminate the target, then fade away again.  In this case, the target is the mayor of New York City.  He has no idea why he’s been ordered to terminate the mayor, nor should he care.  But when he meets the mayor’s daughter, Samara, he begins to privately question what he’s doing and why.  Samara is beautiful and very intelligent.  The mayor is her only living parent.  He wonders how she’ll cope if he succeeds. 

Doubt is not allowed in The Program.  They recruited him at the age of 12, educated him, and trained him to be the top operative that he is.  For years, he’s done the jobs he’s been given without question.  Now 16, he’s beginning to think beyond the scope of the mission.  That puts him in danger of failing; and failure can be deadly.
This is a thriller written for a young adult audience, but it’s very easy to forget that.  The story is told from his (we don’t find out his name until very late in the game, since he hasn’t used it in years) perspective, and the first-person narration makes everything much more immediate.  His developing feelings for Samara illustrate his youth and inexperience with anything approaching a normal life.  The writing is fluid and the pace is lightning-fast.  The story is complete in this novel, but there’s clearly room for sequels.  I’d like to see where Boy Nobody goes from here.

Rating: 7 ½
June 2013
ISBN# 978-0-316-19968-1 (hardcover)



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