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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Boy in Box is a coming-of-age novel written by Christopher R. Michael, a novelist and poet. It's the story of Luther McRae who lives in a small town with his dad, his French mom, and Lucy, his 3-year-old sister who is autistic and makes life challenging for the entire family. Luther is 12 and has a best friend, Jake, who's got a strange family setup as well. His dad, Lou, is a huge, lumbering man who becomes frightening when he drinks, which he does a lot. At the start of Boy in Box, Luther is sitting on his front porch when ambulances and police cars go streaming past, sirens blaring, which, of course, gets Lucy into screaming mode. The emergency vehicles stop at Mr. Albert's house, and Luther watches as Mr. Albert and his lover's bodies are carried out on stretchers, the white sheets stained red. Luther observes people's reactions to the killings. His mom loved speaking French with Mr. Albert and is saddened to lose her friend. Lou, Jake's dad, lets loose with homophobic rage when the matter comes up, which makes Luther wonder if this angry man was the murderer.
Christopher R. Michael's Boy in Box is so good that I found myself reading it very slowly. You see, I just didn't want it to end. Luther is a very cool character whose mind is complex and who dreams up Rube Goldberg machinery and wild adventures. Michael has a knack for bringing his characters to life in a way that makes you feel like you've known them forever. I'll be looking for more books from this author. If they're anywhere as good as Boy in Box was, I'll be quite happy indeed. Boy in Box rocks, and I definitely recommend it.