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It’s Alive!

Jon Skovron's Man Made Boy: We were made for each other. In Brian's case, literally.

It’s Alive!

BOOK REPORT for Man Made Boy by John Skovron

Cover Story: Nuts and Bolts
Drinking Buddy: Friend! (to be said in a groaning, labored voice)
Testosterone Level: Modern Prometheus
Talky Talk: Why Must I Be a Teen Monster In Love?
Bonus Factors: LGBT So What?, Cast of Thousands, Road Trip
Bromance Status: The Big Guy Who Always Has My Back

Cover Story: Nuts and Bolts

How about that, an original cover that relates to the content. There's Boy's giant hand, complete with the iconic bolts. And did you notice the adorable way they made the O in 'Boy' into a heart? Something for everyone, this cover has.

The Deal:

Seventeen-year-old Boy is going through that awkward phase, where he has trouble fitting in and would rather chat with his friends online than deal with his real problems.

Of course, he does kind of have it rough. After all, he's the 'son' of Frankenstein's monster and his Bride. His family lives in a theater in Times Square, populated by all manner of monster and mythical creature. It's a safe haven, where other-worldly beings can live, undisturbed by the humans who would destroy them.

It's not a bad life, and they put on quite a show. Medusa's act leaves the audience breathless, the harpies have the crowd begging for more, and the trolls always tear things up on stage. Boy's father is head of security, the stage manager is a ghost, and the sound engineer is a werewolf. Sounds like fun, huh?

The thing is, most of the monsters distrust the 'scientific' nature of Boy's family. They're just not old school. Boy finds himself constantly picked on. A seven-foot-tall, three-hundred-pound nerd. It's only when he's online, when he pretends to be a regular human, that he truly feels comfortable.

When the director vampire takes him on an errand to the outside world, Boy realizes that outsiders don't think he's a monster--just a hideously ugly human. Inspired by this, Boy leaves the theater and goes searching for a new life, somewhere he will be accepted.

You know how well that worked out for his dad, right?

Drinking Buddy: Friend! (to be said in a groaning, labored voice)

You know that scene in Frankenstein (or Young Frankenstein for that matter), where the monster meets the lonely, blind hermit, and you think everything is going to work out for them both? And yet, you totally know it's not.

That's Boy's life. Every time he seems to be carving a niche out for himself, you can just hear the faint cries of a torch-wielding mob.

Damn, this kid needs a buddy.

Testosterone Level: Modern Prometheus

Since Boy is both a monster and a product of modern society, he catches shit from both worlds. He's forced to battle manticores, ogres and the undead. He also has to deal with police, meth lab explosions, and immigration officials (it's not like he has a birth certificate).

It sucks to be him, but it's pretty exciting for the reader.

Talky Talk: Why Must I Be a Teen Monster In Love?

Despite being composed of stitched-together corpse parts, Boy has his share of romantic encounters.

First, there's Liel, a troll girl who leaves the show shortly after Boy runs away. He's always been crushing on her, and they both share a desire to fit in. Of course, it takes a special kind of man to date a woman with that temperament. A guy who can really take a punch.

Then there's the twins: sullen and resourceful Claire Hyde, and bubbly, flighty Sophie Jekyll. They are the granddaughters of a famous English chemist. Boy falls hard for both of them. Of course, only a lunatic would attempt to date sisters. Especially sisters who share the same body.

And finally, there's VI. Virtual Intelligence. A computer virus Boy created and let escape. Well, VI is self-aware. She thinks. And she's in love with Boy. And if she can't have him, no one will.

Think of your worst breakup. Now imagine if that ex had access to every electronic device in the world and could control the minds of any creature. Pleasant thought, eh?

Not a bad romantic lineup for a guy who looks like he's been in a thresher accident.

Bonus Factor: LGBT Who Cares?

Laurellen, the show's lighting engineer, is a fairy in both senses of the word. When Boy needs help after running away, he meets him at New York's famous Stonewall Club.

And that's it. The guy's gay and no one really cares. Yet another YA book where a character is homosexual, but it's just a facet of their personality, not a major plot point.

Then again, when your head sometimes falls off, maybe you're not one to mock other people's lifestyles.

Bonus Factor: Cast of Thousands

Not only do we get to meet some of the more famous otherworldly creatures, Boy and company come across some of the more obscure creatures from various mythos: Kokopelli, the Blemmyes, Kitsune, etc. Much like Neil Gaiman's American Gods, we get to learn about the things that go bump in the night around the world.

Bonus Factor: Road Trip

Boy and his friends travel from New York to New Mexico, where they find a commune of monsters, led by a dragon and a sphynx. They then go to California, where they team up with the Invisible Man, who's running a CGI studio. Along the way, they live homeless at a New Jersey truck stop, battle VI's mental slaves at a St. Louis mall, and avoid Sophie and Claire's psychotic brother. Good times.

Bromance Status: The Big Guy Who Always Has My Back

I don't care what the rest of the world thinks of you, you were always in my corner. Which is not to say you don't frighten me, just a tiny bit.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from Penguin, in a dark alley from a one-eyed man. No money was exchanged.

Brian Katcher's photo About the Author: Brian Katcher wrote his first YA novel when he was down and out in Mexico. He now lives in Missouri with his wonderful wife and daughter. He divides his time between writing and working as a school librarian. Brian still misses the preachy YA books of the eighties.