Mary is stuck in Section One, living with three hundred women in a crumbling hospital. She wonders what life was like two centuries ago, before the Cleansing wiped out all the men. But the rules—the Matriarch’s senseless rules—prevent her from exploring the vacant city to find out.
Taylor’s got a dangerous secret: he’s a boy. His compound’s been destroyed, and he’s been relocated to Section One. Living under the Matriarch means giving up possessions, eating canned food and avoiding all physical contact. Baggy clothes hide his flat chest and skinny legs, but if anyone discovers what lies beneath, he’ll be exiled. Maybe even executed.
Mary’s never seen a boy—the Matriarch cut the pictures of men from the textbooks—and she doesn’t suspect Taylor’s secret. If she knew, she might understand the need to stop the girls from teasing him. If she knew, she might realize why she breaks the rules, just to be near him. Then again, she might be frightened to death of him.
Taylor should go. The Matriarch is watching his every move. But running means leaving Mary—and braving the land beyond the compound’s boundaries.
The book description used here was taken from Goodreads.
DNF at 138 pages.
"As I sit on the hospital roof, I picture the city streets filled with people, as if the cleansing had never happened. I imagine both boys and girls, even though I've never actually seen a boy."
One thing I did love about THE ONLY BOY–beginning. There was a lot of awesome mystery themes here going on that I loved when I first started the book. That came to pass quickly.
Another I didn’t love right from the start–I didn’t know who knew that Jordan was a boy and who didn’t. There was a lot of confusion there that happened where Jordan was trying to appear like the girl he wasn’t. That’s the thing, really. He appeared as much like a girl to them as he did to me. And then 10% of the way into the book, REVELATION. SHOCKER. JORDAN’S REALLY A BOY.
It wasn’t even so much the poor execution of the fact that Jordan was, in fact, a boy and not a girl. It was that Locke made seemingly no effort to disguise that fact from Mary, who found out extremely early in the book, along with a lot of other people. Things just happened way too quickly here. There was no room for explanations or steadiness or reasoning. There’s a fine art of pacing, and Locke missed it entirely.
Sure, he's a man--a frightening thought. But the Cleansing didn't stop the struggle for power. The Cleansing didn't end violence. When free to find their own way, women are just as destructive.
This wasn’t a dystopia in the traditional sense and I loved and hated it for that. I liked the bits of dry humor and wisdom to Mary and Taylor’s voices, but sometimes their narrations droned on and on or became boring and unappealing. There’s a reason why the “typical dystopia” route has gone down the same way so many times. Because that is what a dystopia is. Sure, this has an oppressive sort of government, but there are so many deviations from the traditional sense of the word that dystopia isn’t really the way to explain it.
Plus, there were so many stupid decisions made by the characters. Not only that, but often times the characters turned around and were completely different people.
There were so many things about this book and didn’t work for me. As time goes on and the book progresses, it begins to gain a little bit of ground and actually make some sort of workable plot. However, I just couldn’t bring myself to truly care about the characters–flimsy as they were. THE ONLY BOY has points for creativity, but other than that this book truly wasn’t for me. 1 star.
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