It’s Throwback Thursday! Today I’m sharing my review of The Boy in the Hoodie, the 2016 debut novel from Australian author Catriona McKeown. This review previously appeared at Australasian Christian Writers.
The Boy in the Hoodie was the winner of the 2016 Omega Writers CALEB Prize for an unpublished manuscript. It was a well-deserved win, because it’s a great coming of age novel about making mistakes, paying the price, and becoming a better person through the experience.
I enjoyed everything about The Boy in the Hoodie. Aussie setting, strong characters, solid plot, and excellent writing with enough humour to offset the often-serious nature of the story. Like this line, where Kat is wishing she could leave her current high school and go to a private school:
Well, I thought it was funny.
The set-up could have come across as contrived, but it didn’t. I think this was because the story was told in first person from Kat’s point of view, so we could see both why she lied for her friends, and what she thought about it. It was also interesting watching her get to know the boy in the hoodie and find out more about what the adults thought about her misdemeanor.
The boy was also an interesting character, and first person worked well in that I (as the reader) didn’t know any more about him than Kat did, and got to know him as she did—for better and for worse.
I almost read The Boy in the Hoodie in one sitting—yes, it was that good. The ‘almost’ is because the tension got too much towards the end, so I had to take a break. I definitely recommend The Boy in the Hoodie for young adult and not-so-young adult readers.
Any chance of a sequel? I see Paige had issues and I want to know more …
About Catriona McKeown
Catriona McKeown lives on the Fraser Coast in Queensland, Australia, with her husband of 20+ years and three daughters.
She is passionate about issues of social justice and often writes with such ideals in mind. Her current studies are in Inclusive Education; she is passionate about education that allows every child to reach their full potential and has a particular heart for gifted children as well as those with autism.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Graduate Diploma of Teaching. Catriona has completed a writing course at The Writers’ Studio and continues to study the art of writing as time affords her.
Catriona hails from country Victoria, lived a short stint in Western Australia, and has now settled on Queensland as her home state.
Find Catriona McKeown online at:
Website | Facebook
About The Boy in the Hoodie
One girl. One boy. And a friendship that could save them both. Good-girl Kat knew drinking alcohol at school would have serious consequences. But to protect her friend from being expelled, Kat lands herself a term’s worth of detentions. Inside the detention room, she meets a strange boy who obsessively draws dark pictures and covers his head with a grey hoodie. Little does she know, the hoodie hides a dark past … An unlikely friendship forms between Kat and the boy in the hoodie. When she discovers a sinister truth he’s been hiding, she somehow feels compelled to help him—but at what cost? And how much is she willing to risk in order to keep him safe? The Boy in the Hoodie is a real, unforgettable story about past scars and how the ones we love can sometimes heal them.