Many thanks to Bantam Dell/Random House Publishing for sending me this review copy via NetGalley!
Goodreads Book Blurb: Alex Connolly is ten years old, likes onions on toast, and can balance on the back legs of his chair for fourteen minutes. His best friend is a 9000-year-old demon called Ruen. When his depressive mother attempts suicide yet again, Alex meets child psychiatrist Anya. Still bearing the scars of her own daughter’s battle with schizophrenia, Anya fears for Alex’s mental health and attempts to convince him that Ruen doesn’t exist. But as she runs out of medical proof for many of Alex’s claims, she is faced with a question: does Alex suffer from schizophrenia, or can he really see demons?
My Opinion: This is a very hard book to review. It was very engaging and I found it immensely enjoyable, but it was also quite nuanced and intricate. I want to talk about it, but I feel like anything I could say would reveal potential spoilers.
The demons in this book are very real, and are not of the fantastical variety. Alternating between the viewpoints of Alex and Anya, we learn of Alex’s ability to see demons, including his best friend, Ruen. This made the book an instant winner for me. I loved that The Boy Who Could See Demons chose to attack mental health head on, instead of taking a supernatural route. There are supernatural elements, for sure. But at its core, the book is intensely psychological in nature.
The larger arc, which was probably a little bit lost on me as I am not much for world history, was the psychological effect on people from the political unrest in Northern Ireland. And not only the direct effect, but the trickle-down effect.
The characters were well written and likeable, if a little unreliable at times.
And that ending. Jaw-dropping.
Bottom Line: The Boy Who Could See Demons is inherently readable, and is paced like a thriller. While tacking some heavy subject matter, the prose is trim and never bogged down. This is definitely a book I would recommend checking out!