The Purloined Boy, by Mortimus Clay, is a work of fantasy literature for young adults. In parts dark and grotesque, in others luminous and inspiring; it could be described as R. L. Stine meets Plato. It begins with the question, Where do all those children on the milk cartons go? It provides the answer through the eyes of one of those children, a boy named Trevor Upjohn, the purloined boy. Trevor was stolen by a bogeyman as a toddler. But he can’t remember that. And he’s not the only one. Thousands of children just like him were stolen by bogeys and taken to Superbia, the worst place in the universe. There, the children are cared for by group of officious and unfeeling humans known as the Guardians. For what purpose you ask? A dark and sinister purpose: the most horrid one any could possibly imagine! Fortunately Trevor is not left to fend for himself. A conspiracy comes to his aid, a conspiracy made up of an old man with one good eye, a red-haired girl named Maggie, and a mysterious but very powerful mouse named Zephyr.
While the focus of my searching and reading (for work) is on YA novels, I try to keep my eye on what’s being published for middle grade readers. More and more it seems I’m finding that those students hovering between elementary school and middle school, those finding their way in sixth grade, are looking for something specific; it’s not always easy to find. But, when I saw The Purloined Boy, it seemed as though I may have found that something.
I have to admit, life got in the way a bit and I was too easily distracted, therefore it took me longer then it typically would to read, and that my mind scattered a bit while I was reading. That said, this book is very enjoyable; it has depth alongside humor, and delivers a solid fantasy tale with an engaging hero in Trevor. Plus, the names! Ichabod, Epictetus, Drake, and Lucian – to name a few. (I’m big on names. I love the sound of truly interesting ones. Like Ichabod. Doesn’t that one hit the tongue in remarkable ways? But I digress.)
The Purloined Boy is one I’ll be passing on to the middle school librarian in town; I think it would make a great discussion book, and the draw of a deceased author would make for a great hook. And there’s going to be a sequel, The Quest for the Fey Brand, so there’s more to look forward to.
I hope you’ll stop by tomorrow when we’ll have a certain Mortimus Clay (and perhaps someone who knew him quite well) visiting.