The Boy in the Book, Paperback Book
4 out of 5 (1 rating)


As a boy Nathan Penlington had loved Choose Your Own Adventure novels.

So when he came across a set of the first 106 volumes for sale on eBay, he snapped them up.

Picking up the first, The Cave of Time, he was looking forward to a nostalgic trip back to his own childhood.

What he discovered instead would send him off on adventure all of his own. As he turned the pages, there was another story being written - in the margins were scribblings by the little boy who had originally owned them, a boy called Terence.

There were hints on the coming adventure and jokes, but also something darker.

Terence wrote about being bullied at school, the things he hated about himself, of a desperate need for friends.

Later Nathan came across a few pages of dairy: Stole money from parents, bought airline ticket, ran away to Scotland.

Saturday - detention x2. Left school with intention to kill myself. Drugs ...Guns? Even though it must have been twenty years since Terence wrote those words, it was clear that they were a cry for help.

Nathan decided to answer that call: to find Terence, or at least find out what happened to him. Nathan's search for Terence is at once funny, moving and more than a little quixotic.

There would be dead ends and crossed wires, and along the way Nathan would have to face his own childhood demons.

It is a story about the dark places that can exist in any childhood, but also of the sanctuary to be found in books. And at the end of his adventure Nathan would find one more surprise: a friend.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Headline Publishing Group
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Memoirs
  • ISBN: 9780755365692

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What an unusual read this was. As a boy Nathan used to love Choose Your Own Adventure books so when a full set of 106 turns up for sale on ebay he can't wait to get his hands on them. In them he finds the scribblings of their former owner together with a few pages from a diary that end up sending him on an adventure all of his own, to track down Terence Prendergast and find out what happened to him. Nathan sees many similarities with his own life and learns a lot about himself throughout his search.I really enjoyed this book and found Nathan to be an interesting and honest narrator (if a little stalker-ish at times!). It made me smile and I could also empathise with his and Terence's recollections of those awkward teenage years. It's a nostalgic look at the past seen through the eyes of two people of a similar age who never really fitted in for whatever reason, and for that reason it's also quite a sweet read in places. Nice to read something so unusual and a very clever, if a little tenuous, idea for a book.