Man Made Boy

Common Sense Media says

Frankenstein's son takes road trip in clever horror fantasy.

Age(i)

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Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Educational value

Man Made Boy presents re-imagined characters and creatures from mythology and literature in the modern world. It may inspire readers to seek out the original texts, such as Mary Shelley's Frankenstein or Bram Stoker's Dracula.

Positive messages

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

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.

Sex

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.

Language

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.

Consumerism
Not applicable
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.

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.

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What's the story?

The son of Frankenstein's monster and his bride, Boy chafes under the routine that keeps him tethered to The Show, the New York City-based troupe of monsters hiding in plain sight from humanity. When Boy learns that his family plans to ship him off to Europe, he runs away, embarking on a cross-country road trip, rooming with a local computer hacker, Dumpster-diving on the New Jersey Turnpike, and working for special effects experts in Los Angeles. As he learns about modern America and the eternal mysteries of love, Boy also must prepare for confrontations with formidable foes, including a rogue computer program that wants him all to itself.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

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.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about why stories about monsters are so powerful. Why do readers and authors keep coming back to movies and books about vampires, werewolves, and other supernatural creatures?

  • Why is the idea of a cross-country road trip appealing to so many young people? What does traveling from coast to coast by car symbolize for some people?

  • Do you ever wish you could turn off your emotions? What might be the consequences of doing so?

Book details

Author:Jon Skovron
Genre:Fantasy
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Adventures, Friendship, Misfits and underdogs, Monsters, ghosts, and vampires, Robots
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Viking Juvenile
Publication date:October 22, 2013
Number of pages:368
Publisher's recommended age(s):12 - 17
Available on:Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle, Nook

This review of Man Made Boy was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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