Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Review: Man Made Boy by Jon Skovron

Love can be a real monster.

Sixteen-year-old Boy's never left home. When you're the son of Frankenstein's monster and the Bride, it's tough to go out in public, unless you want to draw the attention of a torch-wielding mob. And since Boy and his family live in a secret enclave of monsters hidden under Times Square, it's important they maintain a low profile.

Boy's only interactions with the world are through the Internet, where he's a hacker extraordinaire who can hide his hulking body and stitched-together face behind a layer of code. When conflict erupts at home, Boy runs away and embarks on a cross-country road trip with the granddaughters of Jekyll and Hyde, who introduce him to malls and diners, love and heartbreak. But no matter how far Boy runs, he can't escape his demons--both literal and figurative--until he faces his family once more.

This hilarious, romantic, and wildly imaginative tale redefines what it means to be a monster--and a man. ~ | |

SOURCE: Finished copy provide by Viking Juvenile for my honest review


Man Made Boy is a wildly inventive and original story. It's part coming of age - meets monster mash up - meets road trip - meets sci-fi story.

The highlight for me while reading Man Made Boy was meeting all the monsters of folk lore and legends. Secluded in various enclaves throughout the world, the monsters have formed smaller societies that let them earn a living, yet stay protected from humans, such as in Boy's group in NYC. They live right in the middle of Times Square putting on a nightly Broadway Show for humans who are none the wiser that the trolls and Medusa on stage are the real deal.

While most of the monsters appreciate the need to stay hidden, a few, like Boy, long to go outside and interact with the humans and see if they can make it in the "real" world.

Boy hatches a plan and leaves the safety of his family and strikes out on his own. This is where the story got a little shaky for me.

Boy almost fits in too easily. It's not that life isn't difficult for him, but even though no one is exactly running up to and embracing his stitched up body, neither are they running screaming from him.

There are so many cool concepts in this book. Boy discovers first love. How far are you willing to go to fit in? There's a nice parallel at work with the concept of creator vs creation in relation to being the son of Frankenstein's monster and the possible inventor of artificial intelligence gone awry. Not to mention the oddest love triangle you'll ever read about and a crazed maniac on Boy's trail.

There in lies the problem with this book for me. I really enjoyed it but it seemed unfocused, jumping from one plot to another. Even though they are loosely tied together, I had trouble really connecting with any one character or plot thread because of it. The story has a lot to say, about science and about society, but somehow just skirted around it all. It was all awesome - I just wished it was a little more focused or spread out into more books so we could really delve into things.

Boy himself was just too passive a character for me. I loved how we get to see his character grow from a boy to a man with lots of (realistic) mistakes being made but he just rolls with the punches so much that I didn't get the full impact of emotions as I hoped I would.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Although I didn't fall head over heels for this one, I enjoyed it quite a bit and would still highly recommend it. It appears from the ending that there is opportunity for a sequel. I would be interested in continuing just to see if the story starts getting a little more focused now that the introductions are over.
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