Book Review: The Boy Who Could See Demons

The Boy Who Could See Demons by Carolyn Jess-Cooke

The blurb: I first met my demon the morning that Mum said Dad had gone.

Alex Broccoli is ten years old, likes onions on toast, and can balance on the back legs of his chair for fourteen minutes. His best friend is a 9000-year-old demon called Ruen.

When his depressive mother attempts suicide yet again, Alex meets child psychiatrist Anya. Still bearing the scars of her own daughter’s battle with schizophrenia, Anya fears for Alex’s mental health and attempts to convince him that Ruen doesn’t exist. But as she runs out of medical proof for many of Alex’s claims, she is faced with a question: does Alex suffer from schizophrenia, or can he really see demons?

My review: I bought this book under false pretences. I grabbed the paperback in a deal from a high street shop thinking it would be a YA fantasy novel but it is not! Consequently I was already a little disappointed before I had really gone very far.

Alex is a charming character, an intelligent and engaging little boy who suffers at the hands of his imaginary demon friend Ruen. Snippets of information are handed out like breadcrumbs as the story goes along as to why Alex might have such troubled memories and episodes of violent behavior that he does not link to himself. It’s also really interesting watching Ruen develop and understanding how the events of Alex’s past have shaped the nature and physical appearance of his demon.

It’s an interesting book exploring the nature of how past events shape us, as both Alex, his mother and his therapist Anya have come from troubled backgrounds. It also delves into the social welfare for children in Ireland and the difficulties parents and therapists must face when you only want the best for your child. Both Anya’s and Alex’s characters are hugely sympathetic. However something just didn’t work for me, I found myself not returning to the book as quickly as others and while I flew through the ending there were swathes in the middle I didnt need. I became quite frustrated with the pace as well as the slower plot lines.

Just didn’t quite click for me.

5 out of 10 stars! *****

BUY ME! The Boy Who Could See Demons

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