May 202024
Boy No. 32: A Thriller In Mumbai [Review]
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Title: Boy No. 32
Author: Venita Coelho
Publisher: Scholastic India
Type: Paperback
No. of Pages: 184 pages
Age group: 10/11-14 years

[My name is Namit and I’m 13 years old. I’m submitting this under my mother’s account.]

‘Boy No. 32’ by Venita Coelho is a children’s novel that tells the story of Battees, an orphan who becomes the sole witness to a terrorist attack in Mumbai.

The book starts off with a dramatic scene: Battees and three of the other orphans trapped under the rubble of their orphanage. Battees sees the man who planted the bomb running, and suddenly receives telepathic communications from another person buried under the rubble. He is determined to not just save himself, but Goongi as well, a little girl who is always sucking her thumb. After they get out of the rubble, Battees is placed under police protection, and is stopped from taking care of Goongi, whom he still receives telepathic signals from. However, when his police officer-guard lets him go out into the streets, he discovers that the cop might be corrupt! In his quest to seek protection, and meets Kashmiri Lal, the Eunuch Queen, and the Beggar King.

The book is a fast-paced adventure that takes readers on a rollercoaster through the city’s underbelly, exploring themes such as child labor, child trafficking, and discrimination. Coelho’s writing style is realistic and unflinching, with no sugarcoating of the harsh realities of life in Mumbai. The book is jam-packed with a variety of characters and has a taut plot that keeps readers engaged until the finish. Overall, “Boy No. 32” is a must-read for anyone looking for a thrilling and thought-provoking book.

I certainly would recommend that you read this book, even if you are a little older. Don’t judge this book by its cover and think that this is just for kids. The themes of this book are important for any age group, even adults. Boy No. 32 will get you thinking, as a good book should. I hope you read it!

ADDED BY ASHA: More books by the author: All Of Me is an award winning book (280 pages) by Venita Coelho which is a must read as well.

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