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Reviewed by Kayti Nika Raet for Readers' Favorite
The first in a series, The Boys of Casper by Dallas Jones is a coming of age tale of six young boys entering high school and the alien observing them from afar. Set in the seventies, The Boys of Casper has a male tone distinct to the era along with a certain tongue in cheek perspective with the alien aspect. As Jones takes the reader through the boys' daily lives, as well as their hopes and dreams while on the cusp of adulthood, it serves as a metaphor for the country at large during that time period, where America's sense of exceptionalism takes a hit with blows such as Vietnam, Watergate, and the oil crisis. Nonetheless, the boys persevere in their daily struggles, from football, to grief, and girls, while far above them an alien tries to find the cure for irrationality.
The Boys of Casper by Dallas Jones is an unexpected read. I went in thinking I was going to encounter a nostalgic coming of age tale, but the more the lives of the Casper boys drew me in, the more I began to feel that Jones took influence from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Perhaps it was the addition of PUUK, their alien observer, or just the irreverent tone Jones' work occasionally took. Either way, while the element of PUUK provided a humorous aspect, I felt The Boys of Casper was strong enough without it as the lives of the boys alone were interesting enough to keep my attention. I found myself interested in Jerry and Totem the most, and I would love to see more of them in the future. I enjoyed reading The Boys of Casper and look forward to the sequel.