Booktalk: The Boy Who Couldn’t Die by William Sleator

Speaking of great covers … actually I would have included this book in my collection of favorite covers of YA novels, but that would have made thirteen covers instead of a dozen, and it wouldn’t have looked as good on the page.  To sum up, while The Boy Who Couldn’t Die is a great story that’s fun to sell to an audience, kids will pick up this book even if you don’t say a word about it.

And while I’m definitely a fan of this book, I’m also going to recommend reading ANY books by William Sleator whenever you want books that use fantastic and unusual elements to great effect.  My favorite Sleator book of all time is House of Stairs, which I have loved ever since I was a kid.  But I’d also highly recommend Others See Us, Oddballs, and Test.


Ken just got a bargain for $50.  Of course, it’s not a service that many people provide – in fact, there was only one person he found who would do it at all.  For $50, a lady he found in a psychic magazine will take his soul away so he can never die.  Now, most sixteen-year-old boys don’t think about death at all, but two weeks ago Ken’s best friend died in a plane crash, and since then he hasn’t been able to think about anything else.  In his mind, immortal = safe, and as soon as he’s safe, his life will be perfect.

But Ken never imagines the downside of being immortal.  He never imagines that he’ll have a lot of explaining to do when his hand isn’t burned after touching a pan that just came out of the oven, or when he’s beaten up by one of the toughest guys in school and isn’t even scratched.  He also never imagines that food would lose its taste, that his friends would start staying away from him, or that his nightmares would become more terrible … and more real.  Maybe $50 wasn’t such a bargain, after all.

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