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Boy Nobody (The Unknown Assassin) Hardcover – June 11, 2013

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Product Details

  • Series: The Unknown Assassin
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (June 11, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316199680
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316199681
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #399,188 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up-In this fast-paced thriller, readers quickly learn that 16-year-old "Boy Nobody," a Jason Bourne-like assassin, doesn't have friends. He receives his assignments from a clandestine group called "The Program." Intelligent and skilled in combat, he's been trained to ignore sentiment and emotion in favor of finely tuned instincts and intuition to kill. But nagging questions about his past, The Program, and his role in it are brought to the forefront when his handlers, "Mother" and "Father," give him a new mission on an accelerated time line. The latest target is beautiful Sam Goldberg's father, who's also the lauded mayor of New York City. This novel is predominately narrated by Boy Nobody in first-person present tense (save for the occasional revelatory flashback). The teen characters are world-weary and mature, but at the same time realistically vulnerable and susceptible to manipulation. Sex is suggested or happens off page. With short, action-filled chapters, this is a good choice for reluctant readers. It reads much like popular adult thrillers and will certainly find its way into the hands of guys, but also holds appeal for any suspense-novel fan. Unresolved mysteries and an open-ended conclusion make this a promising start to an exciting new series.-Danielle Serra, Cliffside Park Public Library, NJα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

Boy Nobody is a coldly dispassionate teenage assassin working for a mysterious organization called the Program. When it assigns him his next mission—to assassinate the mayor of New York—it seems at first like business as usual. But then he meets Sam, the mayor’s beautiful daughter. Suddenly, his mission is abruptly changed, and all bets are off. The formerly obedient Boy Nobody begins asking questions that are dangerous to his mission and to himself. Readers may question that a teenager is capable of playing the role assigned to Boy Nobody, but books like these require a suspension of disbelief, and most readers will be willing to make that suspension for the sake of the fast-paced plot and the surprisingly sympathetic protagonist. Operating in the tradition of both James Bond and of Robert Cormier’s I Am the Cheese (1977), Boy Nobody is an auspicious first volume in a promised new series of action-adventure thrillers that will keep readers clamoring for more. Grades 8-12. --Michael Cart

More About the Author

Allen Zadoff is the author of the thriller series THE UNKNOWN ASSASSIN which debuted to starred reviews and was a 2014 YALSA Top Ten Pick for Reluctant Readers and a finalist for Best YA Novel in the 2014 International Thriller Awards. .He was born in Boston and went on to live in upstate New York, Manhattan, Tokyo, and Los Angeles. A former stage director, he is a graduate of Cornell University, the Harvard University Institute for Advanced Theater Training, and the Warner Bros. Writers Workshop. His novel Food, Girls, and Other Things I Can't Have received the Sid Fleishman Humor Award and was a YALSA Popular Paperback for Young Adults.
Visit Allen on the web at www.allenzadoff.com.

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Customer Reviews

It’s fast paced, action packed and full of twists.
Allen Zadoff is a master storyteller, simplistic yet so, so, so effective!
Milw. Writer
I ended up enjoying the book very much myself and read it in one sitting.
Scarlet Aingeal

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Evie Seo TOP 1000 REVIEWER on June 12, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I gotta tell you guys, for the most part I wasn't very impressed with this book. I thought some of the developments were less than likely and requiring a considerable degree of suspension of disbelief. The way the story was unfolding, I was prepared for a cheesy happy ending, a change of the character's heart, some big revelations and eye-opening moments. And I was very surprised when I didn't get any of that. The story went in a totally different direction from what I expected, leaving me with my jaw dropped (in a good way), and the ending itself was actually pretty cool. I am very excited to see where Allen Zadoff will take this story in the next instalment.

Benjamin (it's not his real name, but let's call him that for now) joined The Program when he was only twelve. His parents were killed by the very same people that were now training him to become the perfect assassin. And he's been killing people deemed traitors to the country ever since. I loved learning about the ins and outs of his assignments, the secret codes and encrypted messages. Some of that stuff was pretty cool and clever (like when Ben would explain how he gets new assignments, and what code The Mother and The Father use to tell him when it starts, etc.). I also thought that the idea of a child assassin was both totally ridiculous and kind of brilliant at the same time. The cover stories were great, but I found it a bit hard to believe that a 14 year old kid would be able to kill adults without running into any problems or having second thoughts - especially after being close friends with their children.
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Format: Hardcover
I can't say this enough but truly, infinite thanks to Victoria of Hachette Children's Books for sending me an ARC of Boy Nobody and giving me the chance to read and review this gem before it even comes out in the world. Now, I can go around and shout at the top of my lungs how good this book is. Or the modern equivalent - tweet about it like mad. I will surely do. I am tempted to just smash my keyboard because that's what I did right after I read Boy Nobody. I was speechless and I didn't realize I was holding my breath while reading the last pages. Releasing a big exhale, I pounded on my keyboard to release pent-up awesomeness. True story. So if this review doesn't end up convincing you, picture yourself releasing a breath out of awesomeness read and acquired and smashing your keyboard. Do you want to experience that for yourself? Do you want to read something that will make you do that? Grab Boy Nobody.

At twelve, his best friend killed his parents. At twelve, he was plucked and trained by The Program. At fourteen, he became a ruthless assassin. Now sixteen, he's supposed to kill the mayor of New York City. Boy Nobody does not have feelings, no emotions, only sensations. He's given an assignment and he finishes it. He's a patriot, a soldier, trained to kill enemies of the United States. For months, he integrates in his target's life, then kills him with one swift stab of a pen and leaves, moving on to his next assignment. With six successful missions in two years, he gets to his most difficult assignment yet: kill the mayor of New York City in five days. Complication: the mayor's daughter, Sam.

Allen Zadoff has crafted an antihero with no name as the main character and it works so well.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Kris @Imaginary Reads on June 17, 2013
Format: Hardcover
The writing is short and concise. I felt as though I was seeing the world through Boy Nobody's thoughts rather than how he experiences it. In a way, this reflects who he is. He's a soldier on a mission. Every time he moves on to the next target, he adopts a new identity, one that allows him to get closer to the mark (who will bring him close to the target). There isn't "somebody" within him to experience the world. At the same time, the narrative style doesn't allow for much detail to be incorporated into the story, and there is a feeling of distance between (1) the reader and Boy Nobody and (2) Boy Nobody and the rest of the world.

Because of the narrative distance, it's hard to relate to Boy Nobody on an emotional level. He notes facts, but he keeps a tight rein on his emotions with almost superhuman control. Even when he lets some opportunities to complete his mission go, he finds excuses for himself resolves to figure out why he can't do what he was sent there to do. The way he acts, it's like he's almost like some form of artificial intelligence. Only, he really is human, and he's finally remembering what it's like to be one.

Here, the plot becomes one we've seen many times. The girl and her father open the boy's eyes to what it means to be human, and he begins to question his life and what he wants to do with it. Sam wasn't quite what I expected. She's beautiful to what seems like model perfection, but she's also kind of a badass, and she's able to confuzzle Boy Nobody, which nobody has done yet. Inside, however, she's fragile when it comes to love, and she's an emotional wreck from her mother's death, her mysterious relationship with her ex, and her father's job. The way she opens up so fast to Boy Nobody is freaky and unexpected.
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