Written By Jon Skovron
Published in November 2013
Thank you Allen and Unwin Australia
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Sixteen year old Boy's never left home. When you're the son of Frankenstein's monster and the Bride, it's tough to go out in public, unless you want to draw the attention of a torch wielding mob. And since Boy and his family live in a secret enclave of monsters hidden under Times Square, it's important they maintain a low profile.
Boy's only interactions with the world are through the internet, where he's a hacker extraordinaire who can hide his hulking body and stitched together face behind a layer of code. When conflict erupts at home, Boy runs away and embarks on a cross country road trip with the granddaughters of Jekyll and Hyde, who introduce him to malls and diners, love and heartbreak. But no matter how far Boy runs, he can't escape his demons, both literal and figurative, until he faces his family once more.
This hilarious, romantic, and wildly imaginative tale redefines what it means to be a monster, and a man.
They live below New York in a series of catacombs carved beneath the theater they call home. Monsters of every creed, from the Trowe, Satyrs, Ogres, the Siren, Medusa and even faeries that are all part of the theater company, including Boy. Boy is the son of Frankenstein's monster and his bride, stitched together with a series of body parts, the seventeen year old has never left the safety of the theater... Until now. In his first taste of freedom, Boy can't help notice the gaping stares, his hulking frame either instilling fear in humans, or a strange curiosity. Who would have thought that running errands with the theater manager would have been so exhilarating, and Boy can't wait to make it a permanent outing... But his parents have other plans.
All boy has it his technology, his online friends and his self taught coding skills. He often works day and night on his latest project that he plans to release into the world, but when his brilliant plan seemingly amounts to nothing, it's the last straw in Boy's life and he decides to run. With no where to go, Boy heads to the apartment of an online friend, who refuses to help unless he contributes to the rent. But finding a job isn't an easy as it sounds. Just when Boy seems to be getting his life in order, a mysterious email brings Trowe and performer from the theater Liel to his door. With her green complexion and the lean physique of a dancer, Boy has always been smitten, but a potential relationship is the least of his worries when his failed creation seems to have morphed into a life of it's own.
Before Boy knows it, he's on the run again, but this time on a road trip of a lifetime... Until he meets Claire Hyde and Sophie Jekyll, the granddaughters of the very same Jekyll and Hyde. Sophie and Claire are two separate personalities, Claire is snide and sarcastic and Sophie is sweet with an infectious smile, but the two girls share the one body. Both are looking for an adventure after running away from their abusive brother Robert and saying goodbye to who seemed to be their only friend. But Boy needs to outrun his own creation, VI, who is now hunting to kill. The three are heading to another monster commune to seek shelter within the glamorous world of show business. But it seems neither Boy or Claire and Sophie will be able to run forever. Just like his father's creator, Boy will need to return to the place where his life begun, the theater, or he'll really just be another monster.
I loved Man Made Boy. It's was beautifully written, fun and full of sarcastic humour. Boy is the son of Frankenstein's monster and his bride, stitched together in much the same way. But where his parents are more robotic than human, Boy is an abundance of emotion, intelligence and even teenage hormones. But he's incredibly lonely. His only human interaction comes from internet friends, where they discuss hacking and coding. Besides his big project, Boy occupies his time watching Liel. As intended, Liel will irritate readers at times, being more cagey than most of us would give her credit for. But rest assured, Boy isn't naive.
For a group of monsters, the characters are incredibly enchanting. Each with a unique personality and well developed. Besides Boy, I adored the Dragon Lady. Her use of 'little monsters' was far too cute to be legal. Man Made Boy is pure entertainment, brilliant characters and a unique storyline that's intelligent and fun. I would love to see this one made into a series and given the ending, it might just be a possibility.