The Boy I Am

The Boy I Am

The Boy I Am
K. L. Kettle

Stripes Publishing

ISBN 9781788951227

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.

Librarian's Book choice

A brilliant YA debut from Kathryn Kettle kicks off the new year with a powerful, speculative novel. Jude, the protagonist, is a teen trapped in a world where women hold all the power and his future, along with his 'brothers', depends on a successful auction.

However, Jude is entangled in a plot to change both the gender and power balance in his world. In an increasingly tense read, the author builds up both an intriguing plot and compassion for the main character. It is a gripping and detailed narrative so required my full concentration as the story unfolded. This was not difficult as 'The Boy I Am' is a page turner.

The addition of the author's letter explaining her motivation to write this story and her feminist views were fascinating. I will be including it in the book when I add it to the school library stock to enrich the reader's understanding of what inspires a writer to write.

This book would be a recommended read for upper school students who enjoy science fiction, fantasy and dystopian fiction, offering a thought-provoking story where gender stereotypes are challenged. It would be particularly useful as an example of gender politics and issues of equality in power-based societies.

384 pages / Ages 14+ / Reviewed by Ruth Cornish, school librarian


Reviews

The Boy I Am5/5

The Boy I Am

K. L. Kettle

Review

A brilliant YA debut from Kathryn Kettle kicks off the new year with a powerful, speculative novel. Jude, the protagonist, is a teen trapped in a world where women hold all the power and his future, along with his 'brothers', depends on a successful auction.

However, Jude is entangled in a plot to change both the gender and power balance in his world. In an increasingly tense read, the author builds up both an intriguing plot and compassion for the main character. It is a gripping and detailed narrative so required my full concentration as the story unfolded. This was not difficult as 'The Boy I Am' is a page turner.

The addition of the author's letter explaining her motivation to write this story and her feminist views were fascinating. I will be including it in the book when I add it to the school library stock to enrich the reader's understanding of what inspires a writer to write.

This book would be a recommended read for upper school students who enjoy science fiction, fantasy and dystopian fiction, offering a thought-provoking story where gender stereotypes are challenged. It would be particularly useful as an example of gender politics and issues of equality in power-based societies.

384 pages / Ages 14+ / Reviewed by Ruth Cornish, school librarian

Reviewed by: Ruth Cornish


The Boy I Am4/5

The Boy I Am

K. L. Kettle

Review

If you are looking for a book that will grip you, look no further. The Boy I Am is pulling no punches. The traditional gender roles have been reversed and Jude is running out of time to impress at the auction of boys to the female elite. If he is not chosen this time around then he can expect a life down the mines. He has trained hard for this. Undergone cosmetic surgery for this. This is his way up. This way he can put things right and get 'justice' for his friend Vik.

This is dystopian fiction where men have been enslaved by the women who control them. They are kept underground and put to work to pay off their family debts. They are unable to vote or hold any position of power within society. Instead, men are objectified by women and they concern themselves with their physical appearances to impress and gain the attention of a suitor at auction. If they are not bid for, then a life of hard manual labour awaits them. If they fall foul of the law, the punishments are harsh. If they touch a woman without permission then they could lose their hand, or if they speak without permission, their tongue... Women on the other hand can seemingly act how they please.

Jude has lost his best friend Vik at the hands of the Chancellor; the Chancellor who has been corrupted by power and exacts the harshest punishments without trial. Jude has been trained by Walker who has recruited him to assassinate her and to exact this revenge the Chancellor must choose him. He accepts his life will be over either way.

Powerfully written with a main character that you will root for, The Boy I Am will make you think about society and equality. It is a thought-provoking read. Jude is treated appallingly and there were points when I was reading this on the edge of my seat. The Boy I Am is certainly a book for the older teen and will appeal to fans of Malorie Blackman and Lisa O'Neill.

384 pages / Ages 14+ / Reviewed by Clair Bossons, school librarian

Reviewed by: Clair Bossons