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Presented by State Library Victoria

ebullient / Boy in the Tower by Polly Ho-Yen

 

ebullient

e-BU-li-ent (‘bu’ as in ‘but’)

adjective.

    1. cheerful and full of energy
    2. archaic (of liquid or matter) boiling or agitated as if boiling.

‘He was glad to see Gaia as ebullient as ever.’

 

Boy in the Tower

by Polly Ho-Yen

 

I first read this a year or two ago and have read it multiple times since. Though it’s suitable for children, it’s still complex and dramatic, with a wonderful exploration of a unique setting and likeable characters.

One of its more unusual aspects is its lack of a human antagonist. Instead, the villain is an otherworldly plant that entraps the characters in a deceptively calm apocalypse. The slow, controlled suspense provided by this environment provides a situation for the characters to drive the story themselves. Ho-Yen does a wonderful job of keeping this interesting, as relationships evolve and backstories are revealed. Ade’s mum is particularly intriguing, and Gaia provides a delightful counterpoint to the darker aspects of the novel.

I haven’t read many apocalypse novels, but I’m pretty sure Boy in the Tower is very unique in its take on the genre. There’s no blood or zombies or violent gangs. Instead the danger is subtle, and the plants have a beautiful uncanniness to them. This creates a slower, more unsettling suspense that lingers in the background, ever-present.

Rating:  4.4 / 5
88%

From the author’s website. The very towers from the story!

Any recommendations for high-stakes kids books?

Have a wonderful day!

ellipsis

11 comments

bookwithbane

Don't know about kids, but there are a few Dystopian YA Apocalyptic books I know of. Eve of Man is one that comes to mind. It's about a world where she is the last girl to have been born.

12th Sep, 19
ellipsis

Sounds intriguing.

15th Sep, 19
inky Centre for Youth Literature

I'm going to have to read this! Referred to in one review as a middle grade "Day of the Triffids" ! Have added it to the database if you want to link it:)

16th Sep, 19
ellipsis

Hope you enjoy it!

17th Sep, 19
inky Centre for Youth Literature

In reply to ellipsis

Have reserved it from the library. I see it also has a YELLOW COVER! :)

17th Sep, 19
ellipsis

In reply to inky

Tell me what you think!

19th Sep, 19
inky Centre for Youth Literature

In reply to ellipsis

I'm picking it up from the library TOMORROW!

19th Sep, 19
inky Centre for Youth Literature

Hey ellipsis! I loved Boy in the Tower! It is so beautifully written. The voice of Ade is so true and I loved all the characters. You're right how the backstory is well done and I also thought the balance between tension and character develop was terrific. Thanks for the recommendation!

1w ago
ellipsis

Yes, Ade is so loveable! I feel so proud for convincing someone to read this :P

3d ago
inky Centre for Youth Literature

In reply to ellipsis

And I keep passing it on to others too!

3d ago
ellipsis

In reply to inky

The power of bookworms!

3d ago