Cover image for The boy who couldn't die
Title:
The boy who couldn't die
Author:
Sleator, William.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Amulet Books, [2004]

©2004
Physical Description:
162 pages ; 21 cm
Summary:
When his best friend dies in a plane crash, sixteen-year-old Ken has a ritual performed that will make him invulnerable, but soon learns that he had good reason to be suspicious of the woman he paid to lock his soul away.
Language:
English
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 5.0 8.0 78198.
ISBN:
9780810948242
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

Sixteen-year-old Ken lost his best friend in a plane crash and now he wants to be invulnerable - to accident, attack and death. He finds a psychic who claims she can make him immortal for 50 USD - if he will give up his soul. He agrees, but then realizes that the psychic may be exacting a more sinister payment.


Author Notes

William Sleator was born on February 13, 1945 in Harve de Grace, Maryland. In 1967, he received a BA in English from Harvard University. He mainly wrote science fiction novels for young adults. His first novel, Blackbriar, was published in 1972. He wrote more than 30 books including House of Stairs, Interstellar Pig, The Green Futures of Tycho, Strange Attractors, The Spirit House, The Boy Who Couldn't Die, and The Phantom Limb. His picture book, The Angry Moon, won a Caldecott Award in 1971. He died on August 3, 2011 at the age of 66.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Sleator (House of Stairs) journeys to the voodoo-zombie lore of the Caribbean for his latest thriller, about a boy whose fear of death prompts him to give up his mortal soul. Narrator Ken has just buried his best friend who was killed in a plane crash, and the experience has left him obsessed with death. The child of rich New Yorkers, Ken visits a voodoo priestess who offers to remove his soul and put it somewhere safe, making him invulnerable. He pays the $50 fee, the spell works, and Ken finds that not only can he incite a beating from the school bullies (their punches do no damage to him but practically break their fists), he can sustain a shark attack and come out unscathed. But hideous nightmares soon plague him, dreams in which he kills people he does not know, and he learns that the murders are actually happening, that his wayward soul is being used as an astral assassin by the bokor (a voodoo priest who practices black magic). Initially, Ken is completely unlikable, but he quickly learns his lesson, and by mid-point he has evolved into an interesting, conflicted hero. His dreams offer clues as to his soul's whereabouts, and he goes in search of it. A few gaps in logic (how can he have feelings for Sabine-the one who explains to him about the voodoo practices-if he is soulless?) do not diminish an overall sophisticated horror story told at a brisk, addictive pace. Ages 12-17. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


School Library Journal Review

Gr 7-9-After his best friend dies in a plane crash, 16-year-old Ken Pritchard keeps thinking of a folktale about a monster that hid his soul, ensuring eternal life. Determined to avoid death himself, Ken finds a woman who removes his soul from his body. At first he is pleased; as in the folktale, he gains physical invulnerability, along with a respite from his misery. But, as readers will suspect from the many creepy details Ken willfully ignores, the rest of the folktale comes true as well. The woman is a zombie master, and he has become a modern-day monster partially under her control. Ken's increasingly desperate first-person narration, as he struggles to find his hidden soul and escape the zombie master's ever more brutal commands, makes for a gripping read. Particularly well rendered are the scuba-diving scenes in the shark-infested waters of the Caribbean and under the thick ice on a wintry Adirondack lake. Sleator spends little time on the spiritual or emotional consequences of Ken's transformation, and characterization is secondary to plot development, but teenaged horror fans won't mind. From the photo of a just-unearthed skull on its cover to the plot twist in its final pages, this fast-paced, suspenseful book will appeal to reluctant and avid readers alike.-Beth Wright, Fletcher Free Library, Burlington, VT (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.