Goodnight Boy by Nikki Sheehan

Rating: 4/5


Genre: Upper Middle Grade/YA Contemporary


Recommended Age: 12+ (trigger warning: abuse)


I received a free copy of this book courtesy of KidLitExchange and the publisher/author. If you’re interested in joining KidLitExchange follow the hyperlink! This did not sway my opinion of the book in any manner.


A tale of two very different worlds, both shattered by the loss of loved ones. Tragic, comic and full of hope, thanks to a dog called Boy.

The kennel has been JC’s home ever since his new adoptive father locked him inside. For hours on end, JC sits and tells his dog Boy how he came to this country: his family; the orphanage and the Haitian earthquake that swept everything away.

When his adoptive mother Melanie rescues him, life starts to feel normal again. Until JC does something bad, something that upset his new father so much that he and Boy are banished to the kennel. But as his new father gets sicker, JC realizes they have to find a way out. And so begins a stunning story of a boy, a dog and their journey to freedom. –


While I love my fantasy novels, I have a special place in my heart for books that discuss touchy topics that effect children. Maybe it’s because of my background in criminal justice and my past in working with the juvenile justice system. Anyways, I feel that there aren’t a lot of books out there that explore abuse in children. While many children use books as an escape, they also look up to characters that go through the same situations as they do and who are like them in some way. This is why it’s important to have realistic elements in books and it’s a reason why I think this book is absolutely amazing.


Everything in the book is described through the eyes of a teen who is being abused. The teen is alone in this situation except for his companion, a dog named Boy. Although we are subject to what can only be seen through JC, I feel that the character development was very well done, the plot development was superb, and the pacing was not forced or too slow. I thought that while we are forced to accept what JC says and sees as true that he is not a misleading narrator.


The only thing that bugged me about this book was that I thought the ending was a bit of a cop-out. It felt that too many things fell into place and there was a bit of a plot hole in the book at the end as well.


Verdict: Overall the book was absolutely beautiful and very empowering. JC is an inspiration to everyone who finds themselves in hard or even impossible situations as JC never gives up hope, whether through childhood ignorance or sheer power to will the things he wants to come true. This book is a must read for anyone who wants to explore how children might deal or cope with abuse or for someone who just wants a good cry.


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