Review: The Kneebone Boy

Sunday, 21 December 2014
Author: Ellen Potter
Edition: Square Fish Paperback
Released: 20th December 2011
Series: n/a (standalone)
Pages: 280 approx.
Links: Goodreads | Author's Website | Buy the book!

Some say he’s part animal, covered with hair, with claws for hands and ears like a bat's. When his mother first laid eyes on him she fainted dead away...

Life in a small town isn’t any fun for the Hardscrabble children; their father is always leaving them home while he travels and people in town avoid them for being peculiar. When their father inadvertently sends them to London to stay with an aunt who’s away on holiday in Germany, the children are presented with a rare opportunity for adventure — all by themselves. The streets of London are fascinating, but not so great for sleeping. So the Hardscrabbles make their way to another small town — but this one has a mystery. Legend has it, there’s a monstrous creature roaming the woods, half boy and half animal. Surely such nonsense couldn’t possibly be true, could it? 

The Kneebone Boy is an unusual book. When I read the synopsis all those years back, it really struck me. The premise of it sits parallel with the kinds-of books I loved the sound of when I was a kid. I unearthed it from the back of a bookshelf a few days ago more or less* on a whim (*less referring to the idea I had that, because of it's short length, there was a slightly above average chance it could get me out of my reading slump). Though I'd say it certainly gave me a one-off reading experience, it didn't quite connect with me the way I'd hoped, or expected, maybe.

We all know by now that at the mention of the word adventure, you've got me. I live for adventure - whether in the printed world or the real one. I truly adore the way Lucia holds on to the idea of adventure in this book. It reminds me of myself and the way I held on to the concept of it as a child, especially. As a whole, the siblings in The Kneebone Boy are perfectly imperfectly child-like. Potter hasn't created characters who read like adults. Otto, Lucia and Max read like children. Children who are too big for their boots and don't know what they want aside from storming a castle and saving the distressed captives. They're so realistic. You don't need to love them - I've not yet formed my own opinions on them - but their child-like flaws and objectives will make you come around to them by the end.

I can't mention too much about why this book didn't quite connect with me as I'd have to go into spoilers, but I can say they're pretty plot related. Had I been younger and not so set in my ways with requiring a strong storyline like I do now, I wouldn't have felt as (albeit, slightly) deflated as I did reading the last paragraph. (Let's just leave it at that.)

Overall, The Kneebone Boy is a hard one for me to express my feelings on. Though the characters intrigued me and the child-likeness of this book kept some part of me hooked, the (let's say) climax/resolution of it caused me some confusion in my feelings towards it. However, I feel like, in this case, the fact my feelings are confused adds to the endearment of this novel. Not every book is written to be the next bestseller, some are simply written because the tale is just too much of an odd one not to be shared. Though I didn't love it, I sure do want other people to read it because it truly is something.


Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo


  1. Aww, sorry to hear this one wasn't too good, but I think it's very nice of you to give it a try. Also, there's something really mature about this review that caught my attention when reading it. Your writing is definitely becoming more sophisticated!! (it was excellent before too, of course!)

    1. At the same time I think of this book as being overall okay/likable enough, it's certainly a special, distinctive tale. It's hard to try and express my thought process over it. *headdesk*

      Really, haha? Thanks!! xD

  2. I tagged you to write a post about how reading has impacted your life(: I would love for you to check it out!


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