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Memory Boy Paperback – January 3, 2012

4.1 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews
Book 1 of 2 in the Memory Boy Series

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

It is the year 2008, and volcanic ash is still falling soft and deadly over 16-year-old Miles Newell's hometown of Minneapolis. Ever since the '06 eruption of Washington's Mount Rainier, the entire United States has suffered food and fuel shortages due to the stifling gray ash. In the big cities, chaos and crime are beginning to creep in. Miles, who always hid his mechanical skills and phenomenal memory behind a screen of sarcasm and smart remarks, discovers that now his natural talents just may save the lives of his family. Since fuel is astronomically expensive, he uses his tools to build a vehicle made of bicycle and sailboat parts. The Newell family utilizes this strange apparatus to escape to their summer cottage, braving hostile biker gangs and suspicious police along the way. But a nasty surprise awaits them when they finally reach their destination, and Miles must draw upon his other special gift--his amazingly accurate memory--to find sanctuary for himself and his family in this new, uncertain future.

In an interesting departure from his usual setting of farmyards and baseball fields, (Farm Team, Hard Ball, etc.) young-adult novelist Will Weaver has created an eerie gray landscape where only the resourceful survive. While the adventurous plot of this futuristic Swiss Family Robinson tale will draw in even the most reluctant reader, the novel's greatest strength lies in Weaver's characterization of a smart young man who discovers his worth. Memory Boy is an admirable first foray into a new genre for veteran author Weaver. (Ages 12 to 15) --Jennifer Hubert --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

The year is 2008, two years after a massive volcano has wreaked havoc in the United States. The air is polluted with ash, crops keep failing, fuel is scarce and looting is rampant. Sixteen-year-old Miles knows that the only way for his family to survive is to head to their cabin in the Minnesota wilderness. Relying on knowledge passed down to him from an elderly friend, Mr. Kurz, Miles constructs a man-powered vehicle out of bicycles and sailboat parts to transport himself, his parents and younger sister. Suspense builds steadily as the traveling foursome contends with hostile strangers, including road bandits and a sheriff who has allowed his relatives to occupy their cabin. Though it looks like the Newells have reached a dead end, Miles forms another plan. In an imaginative and plausible rendering of a futuristic society, Weaver plants enough familiar details so that readers can relate--including Dairy Queens and McDonald's restaurants (though meals cost 10 times as much), plus Miles's memories of school, suburbia and Mr. Kurz's nursing home. Although danger lurks around every corner, audience members will rest assured that Miles, armed with good instincts and highly developed mechanical skills, will be prepared to combat whatever roadblocks his loved ones meet. Ages 12-up.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: Memory Boy
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTeen; Revised edition (January 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062018140
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062018144
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,291,068 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Will Weaver grew up in northern Minnesota on a farm. The landscape of small town life figures strongly in much of his writing. He has gained a national audience for his unflinching realism, and for what one reviewer called ". . . the humanity and decency that runs through all of Weaver's work" ( St. Paul Pioneer Press).

His short story collection A GRAVESTONE MADE OF WHEAT was a New York Times "notable book." His books have been adapted for radio, stage and film. SWEET LAND, the feature film adaptation of his story "Gravestone Made of Wheat", starring Ned Beatty, premiered in October of 2006. SWEET LAND is also the title of his collection of short stories, which includes the film-inspiring story.

A recent new direction is a memoir, THE LAST HUNTER: AN AMERICAN FAMILY ALBUM, a closely described look at the arc of his family from tiny, immigrant homestead farm in North Dakota to post-modern America.

Weaver is also known for his young adult fiction. MEMORY BOY, a post-apocalyptic novel based on environmental collapse, is widely used in junior and senior high schools across the United States. THE SURVIVORS, just out from HarperCollins, is the long-awaited sequel, and received a "Starred" review from Kirkus.

Other young adult novels include CLAWS, set in northeastern Minnesota's Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and featuring outdoor survival with a strong family back-story. FULL SERVICE won starred reviews from Kirkus and Horn Books for its focus on a young man struggling with matters of religious faith and doubt. DEFECT is a novel about a teenager born with a miraculous birth abnormality, and his struggle to fit in (or not). His STRIKING OUT, FARM TEAM and HARD BALL baseball series for young adults has a lasting place in school libraries across the country.

As an author, Mr. Weaver is particularly concerned with youth literacy, and young men in particular. His Motornovel Series includes SATURDAY NIGHT DIRT and its sequel, SUPER STOCK ROOKIE (2009), which focus on dirt track stock car racing. The series starts with a small town speedway and a diverse cast characters who come there, for different reasons, every Saturday night. CHECKERED FLAG CHEATER is the third in this popular series. Reviewed on "Good Morning America," the Motornovels were described as "great teen reads, and not just for boys."

An avid outdoorsman and popular public speaker, Will Weaver lives with his wife on the Mississippi River in northern Minnesota.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Now don't get me wrong, I enjoyed reading this book. The plot line was good, there was some suspense at times, and it was just overall pretty captivating.
That's all the good about it.
1) There are times in this book where the writing technique is downright poor. There were short, choppy sentences, and what made it worse was many began with "I". Like...I did this. I did this. I felt like this. I then did this.
2) At the beginning of the book, Weaver alternated between past and present in his chapters. I enjoyed the present; the past I found immensely boring. And then he just drops it halfway through.
3) Many of the decisions the characters make are just...stupid. Like, traveling eighty miles north on limited resources to a cabin that they don't even know exists because...they have nothing better to do? Honestly? That's the best you can come up with?
And leaving a really nice home to go live in a cabin in the woods where you will have to live off the land...no. Just, no. You guys have lived in the city all your lives, with money coming out of your ears. I hope you packed some Man vs. Wild DVD's and an extra pair of panties, Miles, because Mother Nature isn't that forgiving.
More terrible descisions include going to a lake alone with a biker you've known for 12 hours that has been in jail and told you to get off his property or get shot to ask for a gun, and then sending your younger sister alone with that same family...and that isn't it either.
4) So the Cascade range explodes. That's nearly impossible to begin with, but I'll let it slide. But would this affect the entire world? Definitely not. So why doesn't this very, VERY rich family just...move somewhere else? Like Boston! Boston is is nice!
Pretty disappointed, to say the least.
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Format: Paperback
Close your eyes and picture this--the year 2008, fuel and food have been rationed, volcanic ash has been falling for three years and the large cities contain nothing, but chaos. Miles Newell, a sixteen year old boy, has invented a contraption that will get himself and his family out of the big city (Minneapolis) and safely to their country cottage. Miles is an important asset to his family and they rely on him throughout the book. Throughout their trip, Miles remembers his oral history presentation he had to complete for school--his class had to "buddy" up with an elderly person for this project at the local nursing home. Miles, nor his "buddy" were too happy about this, but they made it work! In fact, having this "buddy" at the nursing home would really help Miles and his family to their safe destination.
This books setting switches back and forth between the family and their journey-- to Miles and his "buddy" at the Buena Vista nursing home. I believe this book would appeal to boys more than girls because the main character is an inventor of many different "toys." I would recommend this book to any middle school or high school student--it is comical in parts and has a good message!
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By a student on November 26, 2003
Format: Library Binding
Memory Boy, this book is full of adventure and happens to be kind of a surival book. It all started when volcanic eruptions fill the sky with its ash, darkening the sky to a black color. After this the useage of cars was rare because the government didn't want the sky to get any darker then it was from the ash. This made the cities and the farms crops die and food supply was scarce. The main charter Miles Newells, who has a thing for tools and working with his hands. Miles then builds a-one-of -a-kind invention named "Al Princess." This invention would carry the Newells to their cabin by the lake where they can fish and go as they please. After reaching their cabin they find that they weren't the only ones that wanted to live in their cabin. After they're kick out of there cabin they are now homeless, have no food, and no place to go. Until Miles, saves the day by remembering something very importation about a safe place in the woods near a river. Read this book to find out what happens to the Newell's family.
I liked this book because there was always something fishy going on.
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A Kid's Review on May 24, 2004
Format: Paperback
Two years ago volcanic explosions happened all over the world and the Cascade Mountains exploded. Now Miles and his family have to survive the treacherous conditions. Latter Miles and his family have to leave their home and go to their cabin in the woods up north because people in the city are going crazy and killing others. The book switches from what is going on currently with the family and when Miles is in ninth grade and the eruptions are going on. I liked this book because I felt like I was part of the book and it was really hard to put down.
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Format: Paperback
The year is 2008, the world is nearly unliveable due to natural disaster, society is on the verge of a major breakdown, and the only people a boy can count on are his family. What a great story for boys and girls of all ages. I loved this book. I thought the story itself was very interesting and the strong undercurrents dealing with the importance of family made my reading experience even better. I finished this book with a feeling of happines and a longing for home. Science fiction lovers - you won't be able to put it down!
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