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The Pricker Boy by Reade Scott Whinnem
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The Pricker Boy

by Reade Scott Whinnem

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The Pricker Boy by Reade Scott Whinnem takes place in the forest surrounding a rural town that is mostly a summer home destination. Stucks Cumberland and his friends, are year-rounders. They have to live with the forest even when its at its most sinister.

There's a local legend about a creature with gray skin who is the ghost of a boy left to die in a trap. Children leave offerings to him to throw him off the scent. When Stucks and his friends find one of these shrines, strange things begin to happen.

The Pricker Boy's pacing is similar to Lord of the Flies and the anger expressed by Pete (Stuck's best friend) gives the book a similar savagery. But the pacing of events and the slight of hand used to obfuscate the flashbacks ruined the horror elements for me. Too much of the plot rests on the shoulders of an unreliable narrator — one of my least favorite plot devices. ( )
  pussreboots | Apr 27, 2014 |
A summer at the lake with the usual crew, more or less. The Pricker Boy is a tale told by a fire to scare each other...but when elements of the story prove to be true, the kids start being truly afraid. Well written and will appeal to kids looking for scary stories.

The title and cover of the book really threw me off, however. The story is not so much about the Pricker Boy, but about the relationships between a group of kids and how they deal with things that happen in their lives.

A great coming of age story. ( )
  heathersblue | Jun 14, 2010 |
Stucks Cumberland is ready for summer vacation. It is a time when many of his friends return to their vacation homes. However, their vacation doesn't go the way they plan. Something is in the woods. No one goes beyond Widow's Stone for fear of running into the Pricker Boy.

The Pricker Boy was a young boy tricked into believing his fur trapping father was keeping his mother in a cage in the forest and feeding her raw bits of meat. The boy goes looking for his mother. When he doesn't return, the kids start rumors that the thorns have taken him and now he seeks revenge against those who were so cruel to him. He has taken on the form of a being made from and covered with thorns.

This is the story that Ronnie tells around the campfire every year. All of Stuck's friends say that it is not real but when Stucks claims to have seen the Pricker Boy, they all start wondering how much of it is true. Mysteriously the items they have given to the forest and the Pricker Boy to keep him from getting revenge on them have all mysteriously returned. What does it mean?

I wasn't really sure what to make of this book. I couldn't put it down. I still don't know if the Pricker Boy was someone they made up from legend or if he was real. There were other issues going on and the author purposely left the ending the way he did so the reader could decide. This is what made this such a delicious read. I read this in e-book form and have ordered several hard copies for my shelves at school. My students who are fans of horror will love this book. ( )
  skstiles612 | Jun 3, 2010 |
Amazing...I couldn't put it down. ( )
  slatta | Mar 19, 2010 |
Reviewed by McKenzie Tritt for TeensReadToo.com

Stucks and his summer friends are ready for another warm, fun-filled vacation. They get just the opposite, however.

The Pricker Boy, a young boy who was trapped by his own father's fur trap and taken in by the brambles, his skin turning to thorns, is back. When the group of friends discover their offerings they left for the Pricker Boy still in the woods, offerings meant to keep him at bay, everything changes for the worse.

The friends no longer know who to trust and each one becomes insecure and retreats into their own shell. The Pricker Boy torments them relentlessly, without an apparent reason. Stucks, all the while, must deal with his silent brother and his angry best friend.

The Pricker Boy cruelly tortures the friends, refusing to leave them alone. Together, the friends must stop this evil force, and come together to face the fearful future.

This book had me completely horrified, like no other book ever has. The Pricker Boy was terrifying, as was his cruel treatment of the kids. Every time I read this book, I was constantly looking over my shoulder - that's how scary it was.

The Pricker Boy isn't just scary on a paranormal level, but also on a human level. It shows just how dark humans can be, and it really makes one think about our capabilities to hurt others. The best way to describe this book is a modern-day LORD OF THE FLIES: completely terrifying, yet riveting.

And be prepared for a huge twist that you'll never see coming. I had to reread the part several times before the surprise let up. ( )
  GeniusJen | Nov 6, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375857192, Hardcover)

Some stories draw blood. Some truths won’t stay buried.

He was human once, or so they say. The son of a fur trapper, he was taunted by his peers and tricked into one of his own father’s traps. By the time anybody found it, the trap’s vicious teeth were empty, pried open and overgrown. It was said the brambles themselves had reached out and taken pity on that boy; that his skin had hardened to bark as thorns grew over every inch of his body.

Maybe it’s true and maybe it isn’t. But anyone who knows anything stays out of the woods beyond the Widow’s Stone.

That used to be enough. But this is the summer everything changes, as Stucks Cumberland and his friends find a mysterious package containing mementos of their childhood: baseball cards, a worn paperback, a locket. Offerings left behind in the woods years ago, meant to keep the Pricker Boy at bay. Offerings that have been rejected.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:24:33 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

After finding a mysterious package in the spooky woods where they have grown up, fourteen-year-old Stucks Cumberland and his friends are forced to consider that their childhood bogeyman might be all too real.

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