Of a Boy, by Sonya Hartnett

It has never occurred to him – and he blushes faintly, for being so stupid – to think that children can vanish. The Metfords have not been lost or abandoned – they have been made to disappear. They have not run away – they have been lifted up and carried. They’ve been taken somewhere as distant as Jupiter. Adrian has never thought…that an ordinary child could be worth taking or wanting, a desirable thing.

Adrian has many fears, and the disappearance of three children who are going to buy icecream adds a new fear to his list – that he could disappear. Adrian lives with his gran and his uncle – removed from his mother and abandoned by his father. He struggles to make friends and to understand the world around him. How can you understand a world where nobody seems to want you?

Of a Boy is a gently moving tale of a child trying to make sense of a confusing world. With the insecurity of having been moved between his mother, his father and his grandmother’s care, Adrian tries hard to follow the rules so that he may remain secure, but his observations of other children, particularly orphan children at school, and his interest in the much publicised disappearance of three children, lead him to feel even more insecure. Readers will feel his confusion and longing for normality.

First published in 2002, this much celebrated novel has been rereleased as part of the Popular Penguin series.

Of a Boy, by Sonya Hartnett
This edition Penguin, 2009