I recently received The Charlatan's Boy by Jonathan Rogers to read and review. The book seems geared for young teens and would be enjoyed by boys and girls alike.
The story is about a boy on his quest for truth. He doesn't actually actively try to discover what he is looking for, but it is a constant theme in the back of his brain. He travels around with a man who is not his father, putting on various shows in villages trying to make a living. Everything they do is a lie, trying to con people out of their money, but none the less he is generally proud of what he does because he doesn't know there is any other way.
The main character is quite loveable and you hope the best for him all throughout the story. The plot is mildly entertaining, but honestly nothing that is truly engaging. I got pretty bored about half way through, but kept pressing on in hopes of a big finish! The last few chapters were interesting, so I'll give him credit for that =)
I did not like that the whole premise of the book (finding a way to con people out of their money and going out of your way to lie to do so) was never explicitly looked down on as being wrong. I would have liked some "ah-ha" at the end for the main character, but that did not happen. For that reason I would not recommend this book as reading for anyone who does not have a strong moral compass themselves yet.
One other thing to mention is that the grammar of the book is (purposefully) terrible. This definitely helps put you in the time and place of the story, but I would caution having any young one read this who wasn't already a good writer. Reading something incorrectly too many times leaves an impression!
This book is a fun, easy read, but it really gives you nothing to think about, nothing to challenge or inspire you. If your child is regularly exposed to great literature and just wants something simpleas extra reading, I would be happy to recommend this book.