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.
The pit is dark and musty. Dirt walls line two sides, and bars surround the rest. Every so often, footsteps tap overhead, but other than that, silence.
No one told me how long I’ll be here. I think the rulebook says three weeks for fighting, but the Matriarch might have added destroying property. I touch my chin, and stubble prickles my fingers. Before long, the beard will be impossible to hide.
I should never have come to Section One. I could have run—disappeared—after the Earthers bombed my compound. Even when the Matriarch sent a carrier pigeon, I didn’t leave. I waited for someone to come. My hair was long, and I figured I could pass for a girl.
I should have realized it was a mistake.
I have no idea how long I’m here—maybe hours, maybe days—before a shaft of light shines across the room. Footsteps approach, hinges squeak, and metal slams shut. Someone is breathing in the cell next to mine. I imagine Katherine sitting inside. It could be weeks of only her and me. I’ll go insane. I crawl away, push my back against the cold wall.
A calm clear voice says, “Taylor?”
I let myself smile. It’s Mary.
Praise for The Only Boy
“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
My Review of The Only Boy by Jordan Locke
The Only Boy is an interesting concept: disease has eradicated the earth of all males, and most of the females as well. Those who are left behind fiercely guard their health by refusing to let any males be birthed, genetically engineering babies from only female DNA. Taylor, a boy in disguise as a female to protect his life, shows up in Section One, where he meets and befriends Mary.
The story is about their blossoming friendship, and their growing feelings which Mary thinks are illicit because of a strict “no touching” law. Yet she yearns to be with Taylor. When she learns he’s a boy, she debates whether she should do the right thing and turn him in—or if she should follow her feelings and help him escape.
I had a few issues with the book. There were places where the story jumps from one thing to another and I felt like it was missing pages. Luckily, the story fills in enough that I wasn’t completely lost. The MC’s (Taylor and Mary) had a few too many misunderstandings. That’s a common and completely acceptable story trick, to create misunderstandings that lead to conflict. I just felt like with these two it was practically every chapter. The other characters weren’t particularly likeable, none I felt like I could really get onboard with—excepting Rose, who was only in the book briefly. It seemed like some of the characters loyalties swayed with the wind, and no one seemed to have really clear cut morals or ideals that led them to make the choices they did. I’m not sure who Jordan’s editor is, but I feel like most of these things should have been addressed with the editor.
That being said, once I really got into the book, I wanted to keep reading to see what would happen next. The story was compelling enough to keep me interested, and I really enjoyed the book. The MC’s were innocent and had never been exposed to what we would consider normalcy, so some of their inconsistencies I attribute to that. I really did root for them, which to me is important in determining what I consider a good book. It was written in short, staccato sentences which added to the feeling of the book and gave it a nice, sort of urgent feel—perfect, since it’s a dystopian book.
I’m giving it 4 out of 5 stars because it was hard to put down once I really got into it, and I would recommend this for anyone who likes dystopian novels.
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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