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The Boy Who Could See Demons: A Novel Hardcover – August 13, 2013


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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

On the fourth anniversary of the suicide of her beloved 12-year-old daughter, Poppy, Dr. Anya Molokova is asked to help another child in distress. For half his life, 10-year-old Alex Broccoli, only child of a depressed and suicidal mother, has been seeing demons. Now Ruen, the demon who appears to him in various shapes and has become his friend, wants Alex to kill. As the newly hired adolescent-psychiatry consultant at a Belfast mental health facility for young people, Anya suspects Alex of being schizophrenic and wants to admit him, while social worker Michael Jones argues strongly for keeping the boy at home with his mother and the family unit intact. Potential danger mounts as Anya uncovers the truth about Alex and his father before the plot takes an unexpected twist. Jess-Cooke is every bit as skillful in her vivid portrayals of unworldly beings—demons here, angels in The Guardian Angel’s Journal (2011)—as in illustrating the dreadful toll taken by mental illness. But the final twist, suggesting the TV melodrama Dallas, may lessen the impact of this otherwise impressive novel. --Michele Leber

Review

“A well written, engaging read filled with compassion for those suffering the whims of an untamed mental illness . . . A poignant read, The Boy Who Could See Demons is a suspenseful novel that probes the issues surrounding the devastating effects of mental illness. The author delves into the psychological issues of schizophrenia and mental disorders with such dexterity it leaves the reader stirred and affected, questioning throughout the story what is real and what is not. . . . As the conclusion draws near, the story takes unexpected turns, making it even more dramatic and compelling.”New York Journal of Books
 
“Impressive . . . Jess-Cooke is every bit as skillful in her vivid portrayals of unworldly beings . . . as in illustrating the dreadful toll taken by mental illness.”Booklist
 
“A searing novel of suspense.”Publishers Weekly

“A psychologically complex thriller, told with compassion in a marvelously suspenseful narrative that keeps you engaged from the first page to the last . . . This book has it all: a dark and dangerous setting, characters full of depth, rich emotions, and a clever plot. You’ll fall in love with Alex—and his demons.”—Chevy Stevens, author of Still Missing
 
“Top-notch psychological suspense . . . Beware what you think you know. It might be only the demons talking.”—Lisa Gardner, author of Touch & Go
 
“Brilliant! Rich with fully formed characters, this heart-gripping novel will keep you riveted from first page to last.”—Jeffery Deaver, author of XO
 
“Utterly captivating, this is a book I adored and savored from the first to the very last magical page.”—Tess Gerritsen, author of Ice Cold
 
“An absolute chiller, deep, moving, and utterly gripping . . . I was riveted from the unsettling beginning to the mind-bender of an ending. This is a stellar read that will stay with me for a good long while.”—Lisa Unger, author of Heartbroken
 
“A rare and intriguing book, both emotionally and intellectually challenging . . . The cerebral challenge is the puzzle at the heart of the novel: Whose truth is real?”—Helen Grant, author of The Vanishing of Katharina Linden
 
“A stunning story—a well-researched, authoritative delve into psychosis, guilt, and damage . . . thrilling, wholly plausible, and utterly satisfying.”—Julia Crouch, author of Every Vow You Break
 

“Gripping from the opening paragraph to its final revelations, this is a brilliant exploration of the point where imagination, psychology, art, politics, and the supernatural meet and merge in a young boy’s mind. The Boy Who Could See Demons is touching and painfully funny.”—Christopher Fowler, author of The Memory of Blood
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Press (August 13, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345536533
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345536532
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #517,611 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Carolyn Jess-Cooke was born in 1978 to a musical family in Belfast, Northern Ireland. She is an award-winning author of poems and novels for adults, as well as four non-fiction books in the areas of Shakespeare, cinema, and film sequels. Her first poetry collection, INROADS, won the Tyrone Guthrie Prize, an Eric Gregory Award from the Society of Authors, a Northern Promise Award, and was shortlisted for the New London Poetry Prize. Her debut novel, THE GUARDIAN ANGEL'S JOURNAL, was published in 2011 in the UK & Commonwealth (Piatkus), USA (Guideposts), and in 20 other languages. Her second novel, THE BOY WHO COULD SEE DEMONS, was published May 2012 in the UK & Commonwealth; Bantam Dell are publishing the US version in 2013.

Customer Reviews

I can’t say enough about this book.
Live Outside
It would have been nice to have more hints toward this; as it is the ending feels tacked on, like the author was unsure how to end the story.
lisally
Kept my full attention to the very end and what a shocking end it was!!
Debra L. Lopez

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Erin Bode on November 6, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you would have asked me what I rate this book before Chapter 28 I would have given it 5 stars and then some. I've been looking for a book to give me the heebie jeebies and while this book was not written to be scary, it successfully had me looking for monsters in the dark corners of my house. I couldn't put it down and loved puzzling out how I felt it was going and what the ending would be.

And then that last fated chapter... I hesitated even giving this 3 stars as I cannot in good faith recommend it to anyone, but had such fun reading it that I couldn't dismiss it completely. I was left with such utter and complete disappointment to a book that gave me such high hopes that I was actually a little depressed.

Like I said, I can't recommend it - I would hate for someone to love it the way I did and then hit that ending - it was like walking off a cliff.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By sMs on September 10, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am actually sort of shocked at how angry I am with this book. The first 99/100ths of it were stellar : really well written, compelling, fascinating characters, interesting plot twists. And then - then, then it ended. The ending was such a pathetically terrible mess of awfulness that I can't even, a day after reading it, get my head around it. I have never had a book fall from a five star rating so fast for me. Ending beware : it is the worst!
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By J. C. Santos on December 2, 2013
Format: Hardcover
How could something that started and progressed so masterfully, end in a huge thump on the ground?

I almost feel sad for the wonderful characters, Anya, and Michael, as they confront the beguiling demon that haunts patient Alex. Weaving the horror into a political commentary on Belfast violence is ingenious as well. But how on earth did the last chapter go so awry? Readers will be tempted to write the novelist to pleade for a new ending!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By carol irvin TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 5, 2013
Format: Hardcover
i read a book review of this in the NYTimes and was sufficiently intrigued to try it out. I thought it was extremely well done. it is set in Belfast, Ireland. A new child psychiatrist to the area is given a patient who claims he is in contact with a demon named Ruen. She, of course, does not believe him, yet the boy knows all sorts of things about her daughter who died which he could not otherwise know. While the boy is in treatment with this psychiatrist, his mother is under another's care over her latest suicide attempt. there is a lot to be unravelled here and i don't want to give anymore away than this because there is a lot which is uncovered. This reads like an extemely well written novel and not like a piece of horror shlock. yet it moves right along too. i highly recommend it.

Visit my blog with link given on my profile page here or use this phonetically given URL (livingasseniors dot blogspot dot com). Friday's entry will always be weekend entertainment recs from my 5 star Amazon reviews in film, tv, books and music. These are very heavy on buried treasures and hidden gems. My blogspot is published on Monday, Wednesday & Friday.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Susan Gray on November 22, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
I loved it until the last chapter. Come on! I won't give out any spoilers, but let me say I will never recommend a book to a friend again until I've finished it. Ugh.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Live Outside on April 12, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Do you ever have a novel which you cannot put away? One in which you read the last page and you have to tell the world about it? One in which you want to reread the minute you close the last page? One in which you think about as you open the pages of a new book … even after you are reading the 76th page of that new novel? I feel this way about The Boy Who Could See Demons, I am so excited about this book, I could scream. My only problem is not a lot of people enjoy reading these types of books so my screaming about its greatness, has to be to a selective audience. If you are a person who likes psychological chillers, pick this baby up! Told in alternating chapters, the story is told from the lives of ten-year old Alex and his doctor, Anya. The story opens up with Alex explaining his monster Ruen who appears only to him in the form of four beings. Alex is one courageous child to handle these spirits without going crazy himself. He has a social worker already who is working to protect him but with a mother who is suicidal, his life is not easy. Anya is his new child psychiatrist and she’s new in town. Anya is fighting her own ghosts as she deals with the death of her daughter. As Anya tries to uncover the mystery of Alex’s monster and help with his home situation, Anya has to deal with her own issues to see the full picture.

I loved the alternating chapters as I pieced together where Ruen came in on Alex’s like and what part he played for him. Finding out about Anya’s life also was like reading two stories and how she was also healing at the same time she was helping Alex. I was so engrossed in this book that I could not put it down. I can’t say enough about this book. When I was finished, I was left shaking my head, really!?! A masterpiece, I say. I needed to wipe this grin off my face – wow! Take a breath….I just hope other readers get the same reaction as I did. Now to see if I can get this reaction off another one of her books.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By H. Shafi on March 27, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It seems I read the "original" ending -- perhaps the UK ending? -- because I thought it was amazing, and didn't feel let down by the last chapter at all. It felt like the natural conclusion to the story. Overall, a gripping book. I could not put it down!
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