The Only Boy by Jordan Locke
Mary is stuck in Section One, living with three hundred women in a crumbling hospital. She wonders what life was like two centuries ago, before the Cleansing wiped out all the men. But the rules—the Matriarch's senseless rules—prevent her from exploring the vacant city to find out. Taylor's got a dangerous secret: he's a boy. His compound's been destroyed, and he's been relocated to Section One. Living under the Matriarch means giving up possessions, eating canned food and avoiding all physical contact. Baggy clothes hide his flat chest and skinny legs, but if
anyone discovers what lies beneath, he'll be exiled. Maybe even executed. Mary's never seen a boy—the Matriarch cut the pictures of men from the textbooks—and she doesn't suspect Taylor's secret. If she knew, she might understand the need to stop the girls from teasing him. If she knew, she might realize why she breaks the rules, just to be near him. Then again, she might be frightened to death of him. Taylor should go. The Matriarch is watching his every move. But running means leaving Mary—and braving the land beyond the compound's boundaries.
“It’s not a dystopia that does a good job—it’s a great book that happens to be a dystopia.” Rachel Miller, Editor “This book is one of the best of its genre I have read, it kept me gripped to its satisfying end.” Janet Love, Amazon UK Reviewer
“If you like a different take on the dystopian genre then I would highly recommend this unique and amazing book.” Tamara Bass, The Avid Book Collector
The world has changed. Men have been wiped off the face of the earth by an incurable disease (and many of the women too) For generations now male baby mortality has been 100 percent and so there are only women left in the world and there are very few of them left. Most of the world is left in ruins with small pockets of habitation. The disease affected not only humans, but animals and insects. In Section One, a new girl comes to live when her previous home, Section Seven is destroyed in an attack by the Earthers.
Taylor doesn't like the rules in Section One.
"Rule #8 Touching is punishable with up to two weeks imprisonment. To avoid accidental contact, maintain a distance of eighteen inches at all times.
Rule #22 Non-military citizens must have permission to leave the building.
Rule #17 All property belongs to the community. Any item, no matter how insignificant must be brought to the Matriarch and will be distributed according to need."
Although they had the same rules in Section 7, they were not really followed and the residents there worked together to grow their own food. The residents of Section One ate hundred-year-old canned food that they scavenged from the surrounding city.
Mary befriends Taylor and they both end up in the pit when Katherine provokes Taylor into a fight. It's there that Taylor admits her well kept secret to Mary. Taylor has a Y chromosome.
The Only Boy was riveting. From Taylor's admission, there was revelation after revelation that kept you turning the pages looking for the next twist in the plot. The author's story is well-thought out, and masterfully written from the viewpoints of both Taylor and Mary. Locke was cleverly able to show how the exact same environment looked completely different to each of the young people from their perspectives. If you didn't know that you were reading a description of the same room you might think you were in totally different environments.
The Only Boy is also thought provoking as the theme of the story is dystopian in nature. What kind of society would I choose to live in - the Matriarchal society of Section 1 or the Earther Society?
It was evident that a lot of the rules that the Matriarch lived by were created from fear, yet those rules did not appear to do her much good in the end. I did not like her very much as she did not live by her own rules. She was more of a dictator and certainly not above lies and deceit.
I think that anyone who enjoys science fiction or dystopian themes will enjoy The Only Boy. I highly recommend it to those who do. I gave this novel 5 stars out of 5.
Thank you to the publisher for providing a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. A positive opinion was not required. All thoughts are my own.
Author Jordan Locke
Jordan Locke lives in Connecticut with his wife, two lively daughters and a well-behaved whippet. A graphic designer by trade, his creativity spilled over into the literary world. After years of writing, reading and learning the craft, his fifth novel, The Only Boy, brought him offers of representation from two well-known agents. Now, after the dog is fed and the kids are in bed, you will find him tapping away at the keyboard.
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