I abso-freaking-lutely love this book! Bravo Allen Zadoff, you just became my favourite author ever :D
The BlurbBoy Nobody is the perennial new kid in school, the one few notice and nobody thinks much about. He shows up in a new high school, in a new town, under a new name, makes few friends and doesn't stay long. Just long enough for someone in his new friend's family to die -- of "natural causes." Mission accomplished, Boy Nobody disappears, and moves on to the next target.
When his own parents died of not-so-natural causes at the age of eleven, Boy Nobody found himself under the control of The Program, a shadowy government organization that uses brainwashed kids as counter-espionage operatives. But somewhere, deep inside Boy Nobody, is somebody: the boy he once was, the boy who wants normal things (like a real home, his parents back), a boy who wants out. And he just might want those things badly enough to sabotage The Program's next mission.
Meet Boy Nobody
He works for The Program."I had a choice a long time ago, and I made a mistake.
My father had a choice, too. He chose wrong, or I wouldn’t be here."
His every step is calculated precisely and he works without asking questions."My business is to get in, do the job, and get out again. Move on to the next.
The job is assigned to me.
I don’t have to think. I have to act."
He does his work perfectly."That’s my specialty. People die around me, but it never seems like my fault. It seems like bad luck following good.
Good luck: You meet a great new friend at school.
Bad luck: A tragedy befalls your family. The two don’t ever seem connected, but they are."
One thing he's very good at is : Pretending."I am one of you..."
Why? Because that is what he has been taught."When in doubt, emulate. That’s what I’ve been taught."
Why is he so good at it?"I don’t feel anything.
I feel cold, I feel hungry, I feel the fabric of a new shirt rubbing against my skin, and I feel gravel beneath my feet.
But those are sensations, not feelings.
I had feelings once, too. I think I did. But that was a long time ago.
That was before."
Now and then.."Memories come. I don’t know why.
They go away eventually if I keep moving."
But the past just feels like something in.."Another time, another life."
But at some point he starts questioning stuff."The Program tells me one thing, but my memories tell me another.
I don’t know which to believe.
It’s enough to make all my memories suspect, to make the past a mystery from which I cannot escape.""I’m good at what I do, and I’m appreciated for it. So why is there a question nagging at me?
When does it end?"
Because he's smart."You don’t have to be God to decide when and where. You only have to take action and be willing to deal with the consequences."
And an assignment finally changes everything. This time it is different. More challenging, and definitely more life-changing.
Ugh, you gotta read the awesome book yourself if you wanna get the interesting full story but I will warn you that this is not one of those books with an easy-to-guess plot ;)
Anyway, here's my favourite scene of the brilliant book. (The Mayor is asking him stuff) It's not a spoiler, but I just wanna make my silly rant look short :D
“How many apartments do you think we can see from here?” the mayor says.
He turns and gazes out the window.
“Thousands, maybe,” I say. I’m standing behind him, a few feet from his left shoulder.
“On the order of twelve thousand,” the mayor says.
“You’ve counted them?”
“I don’t need to. I count the number of windows viewed through a one-inch square of windowpane, then multiply by the overall size of the pane, then divide by the average number of windows per apartment.”
“This is why you run the city and I’m failing trig.”
“Twelve thousand in this one small slice of the city,” the mayor says. “Imagine you were looking for an apartment. With so many choices, how could you choose the right one for you?”
“Most people don’t get to choose,” I say.
“Good point,” the mayor says.
“So you’re saying we don’t choose,” the mayor says. “Our limitations choose for us.”
“I think so. Yes.”
“But if your limitations make the choices for you, how do you know what it is you want?”
“Maybe it doesn’t matter what you want,” I say.
“And yet we are defined by our desires,” the mayor says. “If you don’t know what you want, how can you know who you are?”
“I guess you make your best choice given your circumstances, and then you live with it.”
“Maybe you’re right,” he says.
“There is always a moment before you choose, isn’t there?” the mayor says. “A moment when you realize the choice you’re about to make could affect a number of people.”
“Your choices, maybe. Not mine.”
“Why is that?”
“You’re the mayor. I’m just a teenager.”
“Yet we all make choices. And they have repercussions.”