One of the Boys by Daniel Magariel

One of the Boys  by Daniel Magariel. March 14, 2017. Scribner, 176p. ISBN: 9781501156168.  Int Lvl: AD; Rdg Lvl: AD.

The three of them—a twelve-year-old boy, his older brother, their father—have won the war: the father’s term for his bitter divorce and custody battle. They leave their Kansas home and drive through the night to Albuquerque, eager to begin again, united by the thrilling possibility of carving out a new life together. The boys go to school, join basketball teams, make friends. Meanwhile their father works from home, smoking cheap cigars to hide another smell. But soon the little missteps—the dead-eyed absentmindedness, the late night noises, the comings and goings of increasingly odd characters—become sinister, and the boys find themselves watching their father change, grow erratic, then violent.

Potentially Sensitive Areas: Strong language; Violence; Strong sexual themes; Drugs, Criminal culture

 

Reviews

Library Journal – web only (March 10, 2017)
[DEBUT] Slim and sharp as an ice pick, Magariel’s debut features two brothers whose father triumphantly claims them after a vicious divorce, arguing that their mother never wanted them-and getting his younger son, the 12-year-old narrator, to collude in lies about her negligence. As they drive through the night from their Kansas home to New Mexico, the boys initially seem to revel in their buoyant father’s man-to-man camaraderie and the adventure he’s launched. But warning signs come early that this father isn’t entirely stable. They’ve barely arrived at their new home when he provokes a fight with a bartender, encouraging his sons’ profanity when they’re refused beers, then beats the narrator unmercifully when he gets into a scrape at school. Not used to working at home, the father soon seems distant, hollow-eyed, and increasingly violent, and the brothers have to rethink what really happened to their family. Suddenly, their choices are as stark as the New Mexico landscape, matched by the sharply pared-down language. Verdict The nerve-jarring narrative develops unexpectedly and insightfully as Magariel sketches a fine study of family, responsibility, and what it means to be a man. A satisfying if disturbing read.-Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal

About the Author

Daniel Magariel is a fiction writer from Kansas City. He has a BA from Columbia University, as well as an MFA from Syracuse University, where he was a Cornelia Carhart Fellow. He has lived in Kansas, Missouri, New Mexico, Florida, Colorado, and Hawaii. He currently lives in New York with his wife. One of the Boys is his first novel.

Teacher Resources

One of the Boys Group Reading Guide

Around the Web

One of the Boys on Amazon

One of the Boys on Goodreads

One of the Boys on JLG

One of the Boys Publisher Page

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