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Monday, January 31, 2011

The Charlatan's Boy Book Review

From the back cover: "As far back as he can remember, the orphan Grady has tramped from village to village in the company of a huckster named Floyd. With his adolescent accomplice, Floyd perpetrates a variety of hoaxes and flimflams on the good citizens of the Corenwald frontier, such as the Ugliest Boy in the World act.

It’s a hard way to make a living, made harder by the memory of fatter times when audiences thronged to see young Grady perform as “The Wild Man of the Feechiefen Swamp.” But what can they do? Nobody believes in feechies anymore.

When Floyd stages an elaborate plot to revive Corenwalders’ belief in the mythical swamp-dwellers known as the feechiefolk, he overshoots the mark. Floyd’s Great Feechie Scare becomes widespread panic. Eager audiences become angry mobs, and in the ensuing chaos, the Charlatan’s Boy discovers the truth that has evaded him all his life—and will change his path forever."

I've always had a soft spot for Young Adult fiction.  I still love to read the books I grew up loving: Anne of Green Gables, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Nancy Drew, to name a few of the series I enjoyed.  Well, this book is NOTHING like those!  But different isn't a bad thing.  Different is definitely good.  In fact, one of the most meaningful lines in the book says, "It just goes to show what fear of the unknown will do to a feller."  In addition to being a great story, The Charlatan's Boy is peppered with thoughts and ideas such as this.  
The story itself caught me from the very first page.  It is unique, for sure, and interesting.  The writing style is skillful, purposefully rustic, and definitely well-written.  The themes of identity and honesty from someone who isn't sure about either lends a different perspective.  This story commends integrity without preaching it.  Perfect for young audiences that are just forming their own opinions and character.
It is overall a very interesting and enjoyable story that has more to offer than just fluff!  Looking forward to the sequel coming out sometime this year. And yes, I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. 

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