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young adult book reviews & more

The Outside Boy by Jeanine Cummins

The Outside Boy: A NovelFor Christy Hurley, traveling is a way of life. He’s known nothing else, and this doesn’t bother him, for the most part. Sure, he doesn’t appreciate being called a tinker, but he sure wouldn’t want to be a buffer. Traveling and the great outdoors are too important to him. But everything changes when Christy’s grandfather dies. His Granny decides it’s time for Christy and his cousin Martin to get Communion, and so the family settles temporarily in a town for the boys to get some proper schooling and their sacraments. Christy has never felt more on the outside in his life. To make matters worse, Christy discovers an old photograph of his mother, who Christy was always told died in childbirth. The times are changing, but does Christy want to change too?

The Outside Boy is a fascinating coming of age story from an unusual perspective. Christy is an Irish Pavee or gypsy, so his views on life and what normal is are very different from what most readers will be used to. I found Christy’s narrations to be refreshing and honest. It’s hard not to like him; his joy and love of nature are contagious and his resolve to solve the mystery of his mother so heartwarming. The actual plot of the story really isn’t all that exciting and at times is even predictable, but the real value of Cummin’s writing is apparent in her vivid characters and attention to detail. I loved reading along as Christy starts to challenge his way of life when confronted with the tenets of Catholicism, question his heritage when he finds his mother’s photo, and matures in many ways. Cummin’s focus on family, even version that seem to be polar opposite, is very meaningful when tied into Christy’s tale, and I found the entire story a very worthwhile and satisfying read.

The Outside Boy may be enjoyed by fans of When the Whistle Blows by Fran Cannon Slayton and What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell.

Rating: 4.0

Review copy from publisher Penguin

6 munch(es) :

kjovus said...

Your review makes me want to read this book. I enjoy a good book that warms the heart and makes you think about life. Christy sounds like an interesting character to watch grow.

Linda said...

I played a gypsy girl in a grade school (1950)operetta, and still remember one of the songs. I always enjoy novels with a gypsy element. Would love to win this book. thanks for the giveaway.

Angela said...

Great review. I really want to read this book.

Irene said...

So sad to think that your mother is dead, when in fact, she may not be. Christy appears to be a very bright boy given his situation. An interesting story, and your review presents it as such.

*Heather* said...

This is so intriguing. It's almost done, but seems quite unique at the same time. Good review.

Maddie McPhail said...

great review!

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