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Wonderboy by [Conyers, Tom]
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Wonderboy Kindle Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Length: 171 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled Language: English

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Product description

Product Description

Australia, 1975. Daydreamer, Jack, cycles to school each morning in the dull country town of Miller’s Creek, wishing he had a like-minded friend with whom to play make-believe. When Juliet, a world-renowned opera singer and her daughter, Mel, claim the mysterious, boarded-up farm next door, it is as if his prayers have been answered.

Through the inspired lessons of their teacher, Rush, also new in town, and their own imagination, Jack and Mel forge a seemingly unbreakable bond, bridging fantasy and reality.

But all is not as blissful as it seems. Jack’s mother, Jean, hints jealously that his father, Daniel, once shared a similar connection with Mel’s mother, Juliet. But what brought it unstuck? And are the same forces still at play?

In a town where everyone knows each other’s business, and what they don’t know, they make up, vicious gossip soon threatens to muddy the waters of friendship forever. Jack and Mel’s world of make-believe is hauled into the cold light of day, with far-reaching implications for all those they hold dear.

At times joyous, and at times heartbreakingly sad, Wonderboy is a plea to the primacy of youthful imagination, and a soaring paean to the transformative power of music.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2695 KB
  • Print Length: 171 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Arrant Press (19 November 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Australia Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00PW9G9XQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,052,321 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: Kindle Edition
This coming of age novel centers around Jack, a boy with an active imagination, his new friend, Mel, that lives next door, and their families and neighbors. While there are some mature themes in this book, it is still appropriate for a younger audience. When I first started to read this, I thought much of it might take place in Jack's imagination, but it ended up being more of a realistic family drama (with a subtle touch of something else).

The character development was so well done that I really felt I got to know everyone in the book, even characters that seemed somewhat minor at first. While not all of the characters were likeable, it was still easy to empathize with many of them. The friendship between Jack and Mel was something very special, and we learn that Jack's father and Mel's mother had a similar relationship when they were young. But that changed when she moved away, and now that she's back with her daughter, Jack's life is forever changed.

Another thing that stood out about this book was that it showed what a difference it can make to have teachers in school who actually care versus those who don't even seem to like children. Their substitute teacher, Rush, made learning more fun and interesting, and the enthusiasm and passion he had for teaching was evident. Meanwhile, Miss Jackson was the kind of teacher who was more detrimental to the students than anything else.

This is a moving story, one that will have you analyzing your own life and to remember what it was like to have "youthful optimism" and how reality and adulthood tend to destroy dreams. Life rarely ever turns out how you imagined it, and sometimes we end up giving up on what we wanted most because opportunities to achieve dreams are limited and often out of reach.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars 6 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Enlightening Coming of Age Novel 3 January 2015
By Danielle Tara Evans - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This coming of age novel centers around Jack, a boy with an active imagination, his new friend, Mel, that lives next door, and their families and neighbors. While there are some mature themes in this book, it is still appropriate for a younger audience. When I first started to read this, I thought much of it might take place in Jack's imagination, but it ended up being more of a realistic family drama (with a subtle touch of something else).

The character development was so well done that I really felt I got to know everyone in the book, even characters that seemed somewhat minor at first. While not all of the characters were likeable, it was still easy to empathize with many of them. The friendship between Jack and Mel was something very special, and we learn that Jack's father and Mel's mother had a similar relationship when they were young. But that changed when she moved away, and now that she's back with her daughter, Jack's life is forever changed.

Another thing that stood out about this book was that it showed what a difference it can make to have teachers in school who actually care versus those who don't even seem to like children. Their substitute teacher, Rush, made learning more fun and interesting, and the enthusiasm and passion he had for teaching was evident. Meanwhile, Miss Jackson was the kind of teacher who was more detrimental to the students than anything else.

This is a moving story, one that will have you analyzing your own life and to remember what it was like to have "youthful optimism" and how reality and adulthood tend to destroy dreams. Life rarely ever turns out how you imagined it, and sometimes we end up giving up on what we wanted most because opportunities to achieve dreams are limited and often out of reach. It is even harder when you are living in a small town surrounded by close minded people as the characters in this book are.

Tom Conyers' writing is exceptional, and it quickly pulled me in. This is an enlightening, yet tragic tale that will stay with me. Highly recommended.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfilled 30 November 2014
By LM - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Jack and Mel are gifted children, full of imagination and artistic potential. They are kindred spirits with a spiritual and psychic connection that allows them to share fantasies and experience the wonders and magic of painting and music.

The joy of this novel is young love in its purest form, and discovery of the world, and of self.

The tragedy is how the flaws and failings of the adult world are evident when seen in juxtaposition with innocence. A school teacher and principle are given a chance to heal old wounds. Parents are forced to either support one another, or continue to drift into a tormented oblivion. Even an older sibling learns a lesson or two. Jack and Mel hold up a mirror for others in this small town to see themselves, and hopefully repair the damage of prejudice and self-righteousness.

Luckily, Tom Conyers doesn't paint all grownups as damaged goods. Two adult characters serve as examples of balanced maturity. Yet, they too feel the sting of the residents of Miller’s Creek, a small, stagnant, town. The children bring change, through a tragedy I didn't see coming. Yet the sense remains that change unfolds, like spring, with a flowering of humanity and a song of hope.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Don't ever give up 13 December 2014
By Trevor Willson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
I loved this book.

Set in South Australia, in the early 1970’s, with the Whitlam government providing the impetus for change in the country, it is the story of two young kindred spirits and how their bonding both brings together and destroys the adults around them.

Jack and Mel are great lead characters, well drawn, not always sympathetically, but always interesting. Their relationship grows as the book progresses, from one of suspicion, to being best mates, who can intuitively understand what each other is thinking.

In fact all of the characters are well fleshed out and interesting, with interesting sub-stories in the supporting cast. In particular I liked Daniel, Jack’s father, and wanted to know more about him and understand his back story in greater detail.

There are several twists in this novel though the last one came completely unexpectedly to me, and was not where I thought the story was going, thus keeping my interest right to the last page, as I was unsure where we were going to end up.

This is the second Tom Conyers novel that I have read, and I am certainly looking forward to his next.

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant! 31 December 2015
By Brenda Telford - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
Jack at eleven years of age felt he was different from the other kids at school. Quiet and a dreamer, his imagination was his only friend – he felt lonely and wished for a friend; a person who thought like he did, and enjoyed the games he enjoyed. His big brother Simon was always the centre of attention at school; he also didn’t have a lot of time for his little brother.

The property next door had been boarded up for as long as Jack could remember. He and Simon had played in the rundown and abandoned gardens when they were younger – and against the express wishes of their parents. But now, Jack was surprised to see activity behind the fences – when Juliet and her daughter Mel, who was the same age as Jack, made their home there, Jack was optimistic of a playmate – even though she was a girl…

As Jack and Mel became best friends; kindred spirits, they frolicked with their imaginations over the two farms, but Jack’s mother was strangely hostile to the new neighbours. When a new teacher replaced their horrible one, the class was surprised but gratified at his way of teaching. As discontent and lack of harmony wound its way through the adults of the town, Jack and Mel discovered music which brought their bond closer. But with a suddenness that shocked them all, everything changed…

Wow! What an outstanding piece of work! Wonderboy by Aussie author Tom Conyers absolutely stunned me! A beautifully written novel with twists of insidious and bleak bigotry, the emotion and heart wrenching sadness towards the end was worthy of several tissues! But the happiness and joy which emanated throughout was wonderful. I have no hesitation in highly recommending Wonderboy and thank Trevor for his recommendation.
5.0 out of 5 stars A Compellig Coming-of-Age of a Boy & His Town 16 April 2015
By author sbr martin - Published on Amazon.com
“Music can help you travel to places”—and so, too, can Tom Conyers’ latest novel, whence this line is taken. Set in 1975, against the Adelaide Hills of Australia, “Wonderboy” carries readers to a not-so-distant past where life is very different. The people of Miller’s Creek are behind in the times and still clinging tightly to yesterday’s customs, expectations, and standards. They care most about practical things and stay within arm’s reach of their problems. But one boy is different, and his concerns reach much further, past the length of his arm, to the fence at the end of his property, and beyond… Eleven-year-old Jack Bennett is imaginative and artistic, yet quite lonely and limited in his hillside hometown. The cessation of his youthful ambition is ever looming; the window for this young dreamer to keep dreaming, quickly closing. But when three colorful characters plop down in Miller’s Creek, Jack’s ordinary life takes extraordinary turns, and, once backward, he gains the momentum he needs to move forward. His imagination and interest in expression is re-enlivened by a lively girl, Mel, who becomes his neighbor, and, together, they each discover who they are and learn to embrace, and challenge, the world around them, for all its beauty and all its sadness. These lessons, however, come at a cost… and the outcome of this tale is sure to shock, sadden, and enrich you.

“Wonderboy” is a deeply touching tome, best described as a coming-of-age story—where both Jack and Miller’s Creek must overcome obstacles to break free of what confines them. The uncertainties and insecurities of a young boy, and of an old way of thinking, are presented with keen insight and compassion, laying the groundwork for the misinterpretations, shallow perceptions, and stark actions fueling the controversy that virtually explodes as the novel nears its conclusion. Written with great flare and flawless attention to detail, Conyers’ work is rich with cultural references to music, theatre, and art and is spiked hard with twists and plenty of surprises, all of which are sure to not only entertain, but also enlighten, readers. All told, “Wonderboy” is quite a gem, a rarity that will stimulate your thoughts and feelings with its story, as well as its storytelling. Readers as young as 13 and as old as God allows them will find it incredibly revealing, honest, and compelling.