Monday, 12 December 2016

IA: B.O.S.S. by John Darryl Winston

IA: B.O.S.S. by John Darryl Winston
Published in America by Purple Ash Press in November 2015.

Where to buy this book:
Buy the ebook from

How I got this book:
Won an ebook copy in a Goodreads giveaway!

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The most important thing in the world to thirteen-year-old orphan "Naz" Andersen is keeping his little sister, Meri, safe from the mean streets of the Exclave and insidious foster parent, Miss Tracey. Until now, he's done just that. After losing his best friend to suspicious circumstances, Naz turns his attention to ruthless gang leader, Roffio Styles, and the Incubus Apostles. To find out the truth, Naz will need to once again summon the world within, and with the help of Meri and his therapist Dr. Gwen he begins to discover that the voices in his head, his nightmares, and sleepwalking are actually telekinesis and telepathy at play: a gift from his father of whom he has no memory. But when Naz gets too close to the truth and tragedy strikes again, he is compelled to unleash his newfound abilities, wield his own unique brand of destruction, and bring his friends' murderers to justice.

IA: Boss starts pretty much exactly where IA: Initiate left off which ensures strong continuity. Winston does indulge in recaps of important information, but these are concise and placed at relevant moments so they don't slow the story's pace unnecessarily. Naz is coming to terms with his new-found chess playing skill and wonders at what else he may unknowingly excel. This, and a glance from an attractive girl, leads him to try out for the basketball team. Much of IA: Boss' plot is driven by action on the basketball court or centred around interactions between the team members and Coach Fears. Knowledge of the game would definitely help understand these scenes in depth, but, as a complete ignoramus(!), I don't think I actually missed any vital story elements and I did enjoy watching Naz's personal growth as he learns to trust his team mates. Winston does a great job of promoting qualities such as loyalty and reliability without ever seeming to preach to his readers.

IA: Boss did feel much like part of a larger tale rather than a story in its own right so I wouldn't recommend reading it as a stand-alone book. It concentrates more on Naz's school life so we see less of the wider city this time around. I felt this created a more claustrophobic feel to the prose, as though the outside world is closing in. We get more mysterious glimpses of Cory, Naz's father, and I am intrigued by foster mother, Miss Tracey. (Not just wondering who on earth thought she was a suitable carer for troubled children either!) Emotionally charged events (no, I won't say what happens) are well-handled considering the YA target readership and it was interesting to see Naz's responses and increasing maturity. I will admit to being shocked by the ending and according to Goodreads, the third novel, IA: Union, isn't out until 2017. I am hoping Winston writes faster than that!

Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by John Darryl Winston / Young adult fiction / Books from America

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