The award-winning debut novel from Neil Smith, one of the most incomparable voices in Canadian literature, author of Bang Crunch.
Oliver Dalrymple, nicknamed "Boo" because of his pale complexion and staticky hair, is an outcast at his Illinois middle school—more interested in biology and chemistry than the friendship of other kids. But after a tragic accident, Boo wakes up to find himself in a very strange sort of heaven: a town populated only by 13-year-old Americans. While he desperately wants to apply the scientific method to find out how this heaven works (broken glass grows back; flashlights glow without batteries; garbage chutes plummet to nowhere), he's confronted by the greatest mystery of all—his peers. With the help of his classmate Johnny, who was killed at the same time, Boo begins to figure out what exactly happened to them (and who they really were back in America) through this story about growing up, staying young and the never-ending heartbreak of being thirteen.
NEIL SMITH is a Canadian writer and translator. His novel Boo, published in 2015, won the Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction. Boo was also nominated for a Sunburst Award and the Canadian Library Association Young Adult Book Award, and was longlisted for the Prix des libraires du Québec. Smith published his debut book, the short story collection Bang Crunch, in 2007. It was chosen as a best book of the year by the Washington Post and the Globe and Mail, won the McAuslan First Book Prize from the Quebec Writers' Federation, and was a finalist for the Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction. Three stories in the book were also nominated for the Journey Prize. Smith also works as a translator, from French to English. The Goddess of Fireflies, his translation of Geneviève Pettersen's novel La déesse des mouches à feu, was nominated for a Governor General's Literary Award for Translation.
WINNER OF THE QWF Paragraphe Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction
“Instantly charming, never predictable, quietly profound—Boo is both literarily and literally haunting and, in the end, devastating.” —Bryan Lee O’Malley, author of Seconds and the Scott Pilgrim series
“Part murder mystery, part existential adventure, Boo is an utter charm-bomb of a novel. Neil Smith’s version of the sweet hereafter shows not only that heaven can be hell, but answers the eternal question of whether it’s better to be dumber with friends or smarter without.” —Zsuzsi Gartner, author of Better Living Through Plastic Explosives
“Neil Smith has created a heaven where the sadness and triumph of life aren’t flattened or diminished but heightened and intensified. Just like you always suspected it would be. Boo is sad, beautiful, heartbreaking and impossible to put down.” —Andrew Kaufman, author of All My Friends Are Superheroes and Born Weird
“Boo is an astoundingly original novel and Neil Smith’s take on the afterlife is convincing, moving, and often funny as hell. A vision equal parts Murakami and South Park.” —Emily Schultz, author of The Blondes
“Who knew heaven could be so funny, so perilous, so exquisitely alive? Boo is a work of singular genius: an adventure story, a mystery and a profound meditation on childhood, lost innocence and the power of friendship to save our lives—and afterlives. I believe in Neil Smith’s heaven, with all my heart.” —Jessica Grant, author of Come, Thou Tortoise