Ghostboy, Chameleon & the Duke of Graffiti by Olivia Wildenstein [Review]


I think this book had potential. I mean, it markets itself as a tearjerker about a little boy dying of cancer, a perfect read for fans of John Green and Rainbow Rowell. Aaaand, it’s told from the male character’s perspective. There are so many books out there in the contemporary and dystopian genres about a girl relaying her encounters with a certain guy in painstaking and incredible detail. Not that there’s any problem with that but like I said, there have been so many. It becomes repetitive. So, when I chanced upon this book, I wondered how refreshing it would be to see how a guy falls head over heels for the mysterious girl. If that’s what you’re looking for, I’d say move along to another book.

I feel that the author failed to capture how a teenage guy thinks. It lacked the right amount of authenticity to give him a convincing voice. The number of times the word breast appeared here is somewhat disturbing. Sure the guy is sixteen, brimming with raging hormones and all that. But it seemed like that’s all he ever noticed. There was one scene where Cora nodded as an answer to Duke’s question and guess what? “Her manga-inspired hair brushed against her breasts.” Like dude. We get it. Females have breasts.

Another thing that really irked me is that this book exudes sexism, especially in the beginning where Duke saw Cora as someone he had to fix. As if he wouldn’t be able to take it if he can’t demonstrate his masculinity with a hammer and a wrench as he tries to repair whatever’s broken. I almost gave up but thankfully, there was one thing that saved this from total ruin: Duke and Jaime’s relationship. Cora and Duke were going nowhere. There was no build-up in their chemistry (if there ever was any chemistry to begin with). But as Duke grew to care for and appreciate Cora’s little brother Jaime, I felt the compassion that his two-dimensional character extremely needed. Their poignant friendship built on make-believe superhero stories gained superiority over Duke and Cora’s romance. If only the author delved into this aspect with much more confidence, it would have given the book its rightful depth.

Note: I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Shelve this on Goodreads


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