War Boy

Kief Hillsbery

19 December 2013
336 pages


Told by a deaf-mute teenage skateboard freak, charged with the fevered intensity of youth, War Boy is a brilliant evocation of the search for love - pure literary adrenalin Fleeing his father, fourteen-year-old Radboy takes to the road with Jonnyboy, an older friend who has become the only person he trusts. On the bus headed out of town they hook up with Finn and Critter, speed-freak boyfriends who take a shine to both of them. They also meet Ula, who is mourning the death of her fiance and taking a trip across the country in his memory. The five become fast allies, united by loss and by the allure of intimacy. When Jonnyboy drops out of sight, Radboy stays behind in San Francisco, where the underground world inspires his own burgeoning sexual and emotional desires. Radboy and his friends put their restless energy to use on a scheme to destroy a company that is ravaging the redwood forests. But their plans, fuelled as much by drugs and paranoia as good intentions go horribly wrong, and the violent aftermath brings a powerful - and unexpected - awakening to Radboy. Hard-edged, emotionally authentic, War Boy is an utterly engrossing novel from a stellar and uncompromising new talent.