Saturday, August 3, 2013

The Boy Who Could See Demons by Carolyn Jess-Cooke

I began The Boy Who Could See Demons by Carolyn Jess-Cooke imagining it was young adult fiction, similar to a number of books I’ve read in the last year with a young protagonist, but was surprised by the frightening events Alex Connelly, a ten-year old from Belfast, encounters in his troubled life. Not only does he see demons, including the shape shifting Ruen who pledges to be a friend to this friendless boy, but he suffers neglect, abandonment and the trauma of living with his mentally unstable mother.

Entering into this tragic situation is Anya, a child psychiatrist grieving the loss of her own daughter. She desperately hopes to help Alex, but can she? That is the major question that haunts this tale, as the narrative alternates between the perspectives of these two characters. Alex’s portion of the book depicted through diary entries and Anya’s portion chronicles her own struggle to move past the tragedy of losing her daughter to the mental illness that she fears Alex also suffers from.

The story is fairly fast-paced, takes a number of twists and turns (all of which I saw coming), and resolves successfully. The writing is descriptive enough to draw to my mind a number of frightful ways this could be filmed, but ultimately its mere entertainment, with little that sticks. It that’s what you look for in your reading, I predicted you’ll like The Boy Who Could See Demons. If you’re looking for more depth, I’d skip this one.

3 of 5 stars

Note: I received an advance copy of The Boy Who Could See Demons from Delacorte Press for review, but my thoughts here are an honest expression of my reaction to this novel.

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