Review Blog

Mar 15 2018

The 1000 year old boy by Ross Welford

cover image

HarperCollins, 2018. ISBN 9780008256944
(Age: 10+) Highly recommended. An intriguing title and a fascinating story about a boy who has been alive for 1000 years. With his mother (and accidentally the pet cat too) 11 year old Alfie Monk uses a magical "life-pearl" to halt aging. They are not immortal and can all still die from injury or accident but will not grow older.
An everlasting life means Alfie and his mother have lived through great changes but they must move on when people become suspicious that Alfie never grows into adolescence or adulthood. This means he must continually leave his normal, aging friends and move to new homes.
Alfie's father died 1000 years in the past, so it is Alfie, his Mum and Biffa the cat who have to face the future together but life changes drastically when a fire destroys not only Alfie's home but kills his mother as well, leaving Alfie burnt and alone. It is at this stage he needs to trust 21st century Roxy and Aidan, who desperately try to be his first real true friends and help him find the last "life pearl" to begin the aging process for Alfie, so he can live a normal life.
This a well written and at time humorous story where alternate chapters give the viewpoint of either Alfie or Aidan.
There is a realisation that eternal life has as many drawbacks as it does advantages. Alfie has had a variety of historical experiences that gives him a vast knowledge of the past but he can never have a real life in the present.
This is a captivating read, where the ending keeps you "on the edge of your seat" as all is revealed by the final chapters of the novel.
I also enjoyed Ross Welford's What Not to Do If You Turn Invisible and look forward to reading his other title Time Travelling with a Hamster which also plays with "time".
I highly recommend this book to students from age 10 years +. A worthy addition to any library.
Jane Moore

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