A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Man Made Boy emphasizes the importance of being comfortable in your own skin and accepting your vulnerabilities but not allowing them to overwhelm you. The novel also explores the meaning of personal responsibility and the need to take care of the situations you have created, even if you never meant to cause trouble.
Positive Role Models
Boy, the teen protagonist of Man Made Boy, may be made from stitched-together body parts, but he's a credible, multidimensional character. Self-conscious about his monstrous appearance, he slowly learns to be comfortable with himself. He also begins to take responsibility for the mistakes he's made and make amends to the people he's hurt.
Violence & Scariness
As you might expect in a novel that features a cast of monsters, Man Made Boy contains violent scenes, but they're fairly restrained. Boy manhandles a bully who's been tormenting him. A troll attacks and kills an innocent human. A horde of mind-controlled shoppers attacks Boy. The scene are intense but not especially bloody or graphic.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Man Made Boy contains some sexual content, but it's more implied than shown. Boy is physically attracted to girls but not crass about his interest. He sleeps at least once with Liel, his fellow runaway from The Show, but the scene isn't dramatized. He develops a crush on the dual personalities of Sophie/Claire and begins a romance with one of them. In general, Boy treats young women with gentleness and respect.
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There's heavy use of language that younger readers or their parents might find objectionable, with many instances of "f--k," "s--t," "d--k," "a-hole," and their variants, as well as "bastard," "bitch," "hell," and "damn." The cursing adds a sense of realism to an outlandish fantasy adventure, but its intensity may make some readers uncomfortable.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
The teen characters in Man Made Boy indulge in underage drinking in two scenes. One character uses magical "glamour" that mimics the effects of an addictive drug.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that clever, fast-moving, well-crafted horror fantasy Man Made Boy presents re-imagined creatures and characters from mythology and literature in the modern world. The language is often rough, with many instances of "f--k," "s--t," "a--hole," and their variants, plus "hell," "damn," "piss," and "bastard," which may make some readers uncomfortable. Sexual content isn't as intense as the language, although it's acknowledged that the teen protagonist has slept with his girlfriend. Teen characters indulge in underage drinking in a couple of scenes. As you'd expect in a story about monsters, there's violence (monster attacks and beating by mind-controlled humans), but there's little dwelling on the details.
Is It Any Good?
Like its patchwork protagonist, MAN MADE BOY is constructed out of unwieldy parts that work better together than they probably should. Monster story, road-trip adventure, cyberpunk caper -- the plot shifts from mode to mode but somehow keeps running smoothly. Clumsy, impetuous, caring, and vulnerable, Boy is a well-realized creation, and some intriguing, outlandish figures from pop culture and myth make up the supporting cast. Author Jon Skovron keeps the action and the teen angst in perfect balance, delivering unforeseeable plot twists and emotion-filled encounters. The language is rougher than it really needs to be, but a rich, fun mix of humor and horror rewards readers who can look past the cursing.
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