Title: A Boy Worth Knowing
Author: Jennifer Cosgrove
Publisher: NineStar Press
Length: 173 Pages
Category: Young Adult, Paranormal
At a Glance: A Boy Worth Knowing should absolutely be a hit among YA fans, but I think will resonate with anyone who is looking for a fun paranormal story.
Reviewed By: Jules
Blurb: Ghosts can’t seem to keep their opinions to themselves.
Seventeen-year-old Nate Shaw should know; he’s been talking to them since he was twelve. But they aren’t the only ones making his high school years a living hell. All Nate wants is to keep his secret and keep his head down until he can graduate. That is, until the new boy, James Powell, takes a seat next to him in homeroom. James not only notices him, he manages to work his way into Nate’s life. But James has issues of his own.
Between dead grandmothers and living aunts, Nate has to navigate the fact that he’s falling in love with his only friend, all while getting advice from the most unusual places.
Ghosts, bullies, first love: it’s a lot to deal with when you’re just trying to survive senior year.
Review: A Boy Worth Knowing is one of the best YA books I’ve read recently. Wonderfully realistic, witty, and charming, and I so, so, so adored Nate. I loved James, too…but Nate, you guys…he was fantastic. Jennifer Cosgrove gave him such an authentic voice, I truly felt like I was inside a high school boy’s head. The same was true for James as well; in fact, all the characters read as very true to life. There’s nothing that bothers me more in reading YA than it feeling forced, or painfully obvious that it’s anything but a teenager or young adult writing the story. Cosgrove definitely seems to have the knack for it, though.
I love how the story takes off running, allowing us to immediately start getting to know Nate. From the start, we learn that he’s a medium, a gift he became aware of at the age of twelve, and that this ‘gift’ is the reason he’s estranged from his mother and sister. We learn that he lives with his Aunt Susan, is an avid runner, a good student, and that he is painfully lonely. High school in particular has been rough for Nate, largely because of a girl named Penny who’s made it her mission to make his life a living hell. Jeeze—you get caught one time talking to the school janitor who hasn’t been alive since the sixties, whom nobody else can see, and you get labeled a freak. Tough crowd.
Seriously, though, things have been monotonous and lonely for Nate for a very long time. Aside from his regular runs, the time he spends with his aunt, and the stolen moments where he sees his sister, Nate lives a pretty solitary life. That is, until James Powell moves into town. By a stroke of luck, Nate is the one who is asked to show James around at school, and the two immediately hit it off. I absolutely loved their friendship, and how the author slowly moved toward the possibility of more. The more that Nate so desperately wished for. She kept it hopeful yet realistic, and away from being completely predictable.
There was another element that definitely kept things unpredictable, especially for Nate. Namely, the ghosts. There are a few ghosts that are regulars in Nate’s life: his Nana, the aforementioned school janitor, a cranky old ghost from the neighborhood, and an unexpected one who arrives into town at the same time as James. The paranormal storyline was really well-done. I enjoyed that aspect of the story more than I even thought I would, to be honest; how it shaped Nate, and later became a key factor in his relationship was an important part of the book.
I realize I haven’t said much about James. He moved with his parents to his uncle’s farm after a family tragedy, and takes an instant shining to Nate. He is fiercely loyal and proves he always has Nate’s back. A couple of times James’s reactions to things got my hackles up a little bit—I’m sure mostly because I felt so protective of sweet Nate—but, as I said, he certainly proved himself over and over.
Definitely lots to love here! As the blurb says, Nate is dealing with a lot: ghosts, bullies, first love…But, he handles it all, and then some. I also loved, loved the title! And that moment when the meaning of it hits home in the story. So good. A Boy Worth Knowing should absolutely be a hit among YA fans, but I think will resonate with anyone who is looking for a fun paranormal story.
You can buy A Boy Worth Knowing here: