The Boy I Am – K.L. Kettle

I’ve really been spoiled by the excellent books I’ve gotten to read recently, and The Boy I Am by K.L. Kettle is no exception. A dystopian YA turning gender roles around and presenting a society far from our own and still hauntingly close. The Boy I Am hits home and brings the genre back for the 2020s.

Thank you to Charlie and Little Tiger for sending me a review copy of this wonderful book. All opinions are my own.

STAR RATING: 4/5 ✶

PUBLICATION DATE: 07/01/21

SUMMARY: They say we’re dangerous. But we’re not that different.

Jude is running out of time. Once a year, lucky young men in the House of Boys are auctioned to the female elite. But if Jude fails to be selected before he turns seventeen, a future deep underground in the mines awaits.
Yet ever since the death of his best friend at the hands of the all-powerful Chancellor, Jude has been desperate to escape the path set out for him. Finding himself entangled in a plot to assassinate the Chancellor, he finally has a chance to avenge his friend and win his freedom. But at what price? (from Little Tiger)

OPINIONS: The Boy I Am is a compelling dystopian tale. It features a world not all that dissimilar to our own, but where women have all the power. Centering Jude, a young man trying to change things, this story is full of twists and great characters. I really enjoyed reading it and immersing myself in the worldbuilding. It is reminiscent of classics such as The Handmaid’s Tale and reminded me a bit of the early 2010s dystopia boom – it was wonderful to go back in time to when life was simpler.

The Boy I Am is well-written and fast-paced. There is always something happening, pulling the reader into the plot. Jude, Ro and Walker are great characters to lead the story, and their journeys show that things are not always as simple as they seem. It is interesting to see gender dynamics turned on their head, though I wish that it had been more nuanced than merely flipping it. Nevertheless, it is a story asking many questions and not necessarily providing the reader with a simple answer. Friendship, revolution and to an extent, emotional abuse are all themes discussed with nuance in The Boy I Am, hinting that there might be more depth to the issues raised than visible on the surface of the story.

Add The Boy I Am to your Goodreads here and pre-order it from Bookshop (or indeed your indie of choice!) here. (affiliate link)

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