Audiobook Review: Boo by Neil Smith

Title: Boo
Author: Neil Smith
Genre: YA Supernatural
Format: Audiobook
Length: 9 hours and 50 minutes
Release Date: May 12th, 2015
Source: From Audible Studios in exchange of an honest review.

 Goodreads | Amazon | Audible 
Book Summary:
From Neil Smith, author of the award-winning, internationally acclaimed story collection Bang Crunch, comes a dark but whimsical debut novel about starting over in the afterlife in the vein of Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones.

When Oliver 'Boo' Dalrymple wakes up in heaven, the eighth-grade science geek thinks he died of a heart defect at his school. But soon after arriving in this hereafter reserved for dead thirteen-year-olds, Boo discovers he’s a 'gommer', a kid who was murdered. What’s more, his killer may also be in heaven. With help from the volatile Johnny, a classmate killed at the same school, Boo sets out to track down the mysterious Gunboy who cut short both their lives.

In a heartrending story written to his beloved parents, the odd but endearing Boo relates his astonishing heavenly adventures as he tests the limits of friendship, learns about forgiveness and, finally, makes peace with the boy he once was and the boy he can now be. 

     *The Reader's Review*

     My rating: 4/5 stars

Aw, you guys. This audiobook.... it shook me. It left a mark in my heart and inspired me to appreciate life a bit more. Heck, I even think my sister and parents were moved by the story once I told them about it. 

Boo is the story of a young geek boy who is killed by a "gun boy" at school. He wakes up in a special heaven for 13 year old kids, where everyone leads a second life doing pretty much normal stuff in an old-fashioned town. In there he re-acquaintances with Johnny, a boy who also died in the same shooting, and soon finds himself making friends and moving on from the lonely, intellectual kid he used to be when he was alive, but still wishing his death had not happened. Things start to get tricky when he and Jhonny figure out that gun boy might also be in the hereafter, that there might be a chance to find a way back to Earth, and that the hereafter holds many secrets worth discovering.

In all honesty, I had a lot of trouble getting into Boo's story, so much that it took me about a six months to listen to the whole audiobook. That's A LOT. And I feel a bit ashamed about it now that I've finished it because in the end, I liked the story very much. Well, the second half because that's when so many things start happening and epic plot twists unfold. 

My problem with the first half of the book is that it goes a bit slow and, while the hereafter sounds fascinating, the town/place itself and its community turns  out to be such a bland place to be. Or maybe because that's how it seems through the eyes of Boo? Either way, it was tough to get drawn into the story. At least, not until Johnny turns out and their quest to search for gunboy begins.

Another aspect that was a bit hard to like in the beginning was the way Boo is telling the story. It's as if he is speaking to his parents, even though there's no way they would ever hear him because he's dead. However, this style makes sense at the end of the book and... well, it was heartbreaking to find out the reason why.

I thought there were going to be so many more cons than pros for this book, but they don't really make a dent into the great story that is Boo. Beliefs and friendships are tested, and in the end, it all comes down to forgiving and moving on from the person you used to be, to embrace the person you are now.

“The sky used to be bluer in my day,” says the old man. “But it is your day,” I reply. “You aren’t dead yet.” 

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