STARRED REVIEW
June 26, 2018

The search for childhood identity

By Samantha M. Clark
Review by

In Samantha M. Clark’s debut, a young boy awakens on the beach of a deserted island: He knows that he’s not safe and has nowhere to take shelter, but he can’t recall his name or how he arrived. He’s also not aware that a silent narrator is watching and awaiting his every move. Hoping to find safety, and perhaps even rescuers, the boy sets out on a journey along the island’s surrounding line of trees. With only a blanket for armor, he pretends to be a knight as he tries to protect some of the island’s small creatures and outrun a scary, green-eyed wolf. But a bullying voice inside the boy’s head constantly reminds him that he’s just a coward and constantly chides, how can a coward be a knight, protect others or even save himself?

Share this Article:

In Samantha M. Clark’s debut, a young boy awakens on the shore of a deserted island: He knows that he’s not safe and has nowhere to take shelter, but he can’t recall his name or how he arrived. He’s also not aware that a silent narrator is watching and awaiting his every move. Hoping to find safety, and perhaps even rescuers, the boy sets out on a journey along the island’s surrounding line of trees. With only a blanket for armor, he pretends to be a knight as he tries to protect some of the island’s small creatures and outrun a scary, green-eyed wolf. But a bullying voice inside the boy’s head constantly reminds him that he’s just a coward and constantly chides, how can a coward be a knight, protect others or even save himself?

The mysterious island slowly seems to provide the boy with clues to his identity, such as his mother’s singing, visions of his little brother, fabric scraps and pink tiles. Piecing together his past is a puzzle for the boy and readers alike. In the process, his journey across the island becomes a modern-day allegory of the powers of fear, resilience and hope. It’s not until the haunting end that the boy, and readers, finally learns how he came to the island and a difficult choice he must make regarding his fate. While The Boy, the Boat, and the Beast can be a quick read, this debut novel should be savored for its atmospheric setting, ominous tension and the beautiful way it brings light to the darker parts of childhood.

Trending Reviews

Get the Book

The Boy, the Boat, and the Beast

The Boy, the Boat, and the Beast

By Samantha M. Clark
Paula Wiseman
ISBN 9781534412552

Sign Up

Stay on top of new releases: Sign up for our enewsletters to receive reading recommendations in your favorite genres every Tuesday.