Blood Boy by Barry Lyga (Jasper Dent #0.8)

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Blood Boy is a short novella, a prequel in the Jasper Dent series by Barry Lyga. I’ve read the 3 main books, and now I’m catching up to the 4 remaining novella, to complete the series.

While I don’t read all novellas in every mystery series I’m reading, Jasper Dent is so good that I couldn’t miss the opportunity to read everything the author has written about my favorite characters so far.

Blood Boy focuses on Howie, Jazz’s best friend, who has a rather debilitating illness. He is hemophiliac, which means that pretty much any bump to his body will make him bleed.

This problem doesn’t stop him, however, from befriending the son of the most notorious serial killer the country has seen in a long time, which puts him often in dangerous situations, where his affliction could become deadly. But one thing Howie doesn’t want for himself – is to be treated like some kind of piece of China.

Howie is in my opinion the best friend any person can have. Selfless to a fault, a happy and optimistic guy who is really fun to be around. Each of the main books in the series made me laugh out loud when it came to describing something that Howie did – or even better, some of the things that Howie said.

Luckily in Blood Boy we have a book focusing entirely on Howie. Sure Jazz and his girlfriend Connie are included, but Howie has center stage here, and boy he knows how to make every single page count.

This story takes place about a year before the happenings in I Hunt Killer, when Jazz’s father, Billy Dent is in jail. It’s Halloween and Howie wants to have fun. He wants to party away from home, in a place where nobody knows about his fragile condition. In a place where he can be himself with people who look at him and see only a regular guy. In a place where he could possibly ‘score’ with a girl. For the first time ever, mind you. One can only hope, and Howie is far from being a hopeless guy.

So Howie persuades Jazz and Connie to go to a neighbor town to a Halloween party, hoping to have some great fun. Little does he know that things will end up completely differently than anticipated.

The book is short and I am weary of giving any real spoilers, but I can say that Howie definitely had a night to remember, despite all the troubles he encountered.

The book is extremely fun to read, but in a way it is also a bit more serious in that I was personally not aware of all the trials and tribulations a hemophiliac has to go through every single day of their lives. It is sad and it made me sad. Don’t get me wrong, the book itself was funny and I enjoyed getting more background into the great friendship that has developed between Jazz and Howie. The friendship is rare and genuine, something to really praise.

Incidentally the author, Barry Lyga, donates the profits he makes from this book to the Adam Lynch Award, which is a scholarship established by the Hemophilia Association of New York. Kudos for him to do this, and to raise awareness of this illness around the world.

Overall I loved the novella. It was just as well written as the main Jasper Dent books. I learned more about Howie and Jazz and the author did a great job giving us more character development. Finally I chuckled lots every time Howie opened his mouth for the pearls to come tumbling out. And tumble out they did!

I have another 3 novellas to read, and I’m already sad to know that once I do that, there will be no more books in the wonderful world of Jazz, Howie and Connie. A really well worth series to read.

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