Title: The Boy Who Fell to Earth
Author: A. Zukowski
Release Date: April 2017
Genre(s): YA, Romance, Contemporary
Page Count: 276
Reviewed by: Ana
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Jay Palmer is two months away from his sixteenth birthday. He doesn’t realise how his life will be changed forever when a gang of thugs leaves a badly injured boy on his doorstep. The biracial boy and his white single mum Maggie nurse the stranger, sixteen-year-old Aleksander Zukowski, also known as Sasha. Sasha ran away from care two and half years ago. He sleeps rough, is addicted to drugs and sells himself on the streets of London to fund his habit. For the first time in his life, he has a reason to change.
Sasha confirms what Jay already knows about himself but it won’t be easy for Jay to come out to his macho mates in a largely black neighbourhood. Sasha has an uphill struggle to stay clean when his past threatens to throw him back into the abyss. Are the two boys strong enough to stay together against all odds?
I had mixed feelings about this one. I wasn’t sure what to think about some parts of it. I did liked it and enjoyed most of it, but there were so much ups and downs all the time that it was hard to made up my mind about it. I ended up liking it. I think the most intense moments were the ones that make me like it.
The things I liked about it were the boys, or more specifically Sasha. He was a lovely character, with a lot of pain inside him. I have a soft spot for broken characters and for me it was very easy to care about him. Jay was not unlikable, I guess most readers would love him, but I struggle a lot with him because there were times when he seemed too naïve for his age. I know not everyone have the same life experiences and I understood that he might not be so quick to get some aspects of Sasha’s life, but there were times when he seem way younger than he actually was and it was frustrating.
The plot felt somehow fragmented. Sure, it was interesting, but I was at 55% of the book and I feel it could end at any moment because the initial problem seemed to be already solved, and then there were these scenes that didn’t seem relevant for the whole story. After a while, when I was losing interest, it begin to develop a new conflict and then there was one problem after the other. I just wanted the poor Sasha to just have a break. I did like how the story went, but I think it might have work better, at least for me, if the book might have being split in two.
The relationship between Sasha and Jay was ok, I’m not a big fan of insta-love stories and this one seem that way, although the way the whole plot was developed it got me to really care for this two as a couple. An issue I had about them was the role sex had in their relationship. There were times when I think it was too much. It might not be all on page, but I don’t think there was a time when they were together alone that didn’t mention some kind of sexual activity. I felt frustrated about this because I was trying to imagine how it could be for Sasha. What might sex really meant for him.
One of the things I enjoyed a lot about the book were the darkest part of it. I know not every reader might enjoy that as I did, but it seem realistic considering the life Sasha had. There were times when everything seem so good and beautiful that didn’t entirely felt right, but when his past start to making an appearance, everything change. There aren’t warnings about it in the blurb, but beware there are non-con on page scenes, drug use and violence. I still think there is a lot of hope portray on the book without ignoring the hard times that a person seeking for a better life might find on their journey.
Overall it was a nice read. I loved Sasha and, even though I have some issues, I really enjoyed reading the book.