Boo is the highly anticipated debut novel from one of the most incomparable voices in Canadian literature: Bang Crunch author Neil Smith.
Oliver Dalrymple, nicknamed "Boo" because of his pale complexion and staticky hair, is an outcast at his Illinois middle school--more interested in biology and chemistry than the friendship of other kids. But after a tragic accident, Boo wakes up to find himself in a very strange sort of heaven: a town populated only by 13-year-old Americans. While he desperately wants to apply the scientific method to find out how this heaven works (broken glass grows back; flashlights glow without batteries; garbage chutes plummet to nowhere), he's confronted by the greatest mystery of all--his peers. With the help of his classmate Johnny, who was killed at the same time, Boo begins to figure out what exactly happened to them (and who they really were back in America) through this story about growing up, staying young and the never-ending heartbreak of being 13.
Short story writer Smith (Bang Crunch) delivers a splendidly confident debut novel, a fantasy of emotional healing in a unique afterlife. In 1979, 13-year-old Oliver "Boo" Dalrymple is an intelligent but socially awkward outcast, born with a defective heart. One day, he's at his school locker, getting taunted by the school bullies as usual, and then he suddenly finds himself in the afterlife, presumably dead from his condition. This afterworld is an unusual one, however, populated entirely by other 13-year-olds who died in the U.S.A., and when his acquaintance Johnny joins him a few weeks later, Boo discovers that he and Johnny were actually shot by an unknown fellow classmate. Along with a number of new friends, Johnny and Boo set out on a quest to discover who shot them and investigate the rumors of portals that would allow them back to the world of the living. Smith smoothly develops his vision of an afterlife in which a theoretical god supplies random items from the living world, electronics run without power, and kids are left to their own devices. The story is never about providing solid answers, but readers who appreciate that sort of ambiguity will find that the emotional payoffs are both surprising and moving.