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The Boy Lost in the Maze by Joseph Coelho (Hardcover)

The Boy Lost in the Maze by Joseph Coelho (Hardcover)

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Young Adult Fiction - Novels in Verse - Legends, Myths & Fables - Greek & Roman


Illustrated by: Kate Milner

From the UK Children’s Laureate comes a spellbinding YA novel in verse blending the ancient myth of Theseus and the Minotaur with the quest of a modern-day teen in search of his father.

Theo, a seventeen-year-old London schoolboy with a single mother, is desperate to track down the father who left them, whom he scarcely remembers. At school he discovers Greek mythology and the ancient story of Theseus, a fatherless son driven on a similar search. As Theo focuses on Theseus in a series of poems he composes, it becomes clear the two journeys echo each other in uncanny ways. Theseus must conquer his enemies—a psycho Cyclops, a tree-bending murderer, a monstrous pig—while Theo is tricked and double-crossed, confronting obstacles ranging from a search-agency scam artist to a depraved lawyer. Poet Joseph Coelho brilliantly interweaves the boys’ stories, following them through dangers, horrors, and false successes, revealing that Theo must be as resourceful and strong as his mythical hero. In a unique twist, readers are asked to take a role in picking which option the heroes should pursue when facing choices on their path to manhood. The two alternating stories, along with stories from the Minotaur’s perspective, fuse into one in a riveting climax, as the protagonists meet in the heart of the labyrinth.


Joseph Coelho, an award-winning poet, playwright, and author of picture books and nonfiction, was selected as the UK Children's Laureate in 2022. His books include Werewolf Club Rules; Overheard in a Tower Block; The Girl Who Became a Tree: A Story Told in Poems, which was short-listed for a Carnegie Medal; and Ten-Word Tiny Tales. He has also written picture books such as Luna Loves Library Day and If All the World Were. Joseph Coelho works regularly as a performance poet, and his plays for young people have been performed by various British theater groups. A staunch ambassador for libraries and for diverse and inclusive new voices in poetry, Joseph Coelho lives in Kent, England.


Kate Milner is the author-illustrator of the award-winning My Name Is Not Refugee and It's a No-Money Day, which was short-listed for the Kate Greenaway Medal. She is also the illustrator of Joseph Coelho's Overheard in a Tower Block and The Girl Who Became a Tree: A Story Told in Poems. Her illustrations and prints have been shown in London galleries and national touring exhibitions. A former librarian, she lives in Bedfordshire, England

Previous collaborators Coelho and Milner ( The Girl Who Became a Tree) offer a vulnerable, nuanced look at masculinity via a teenager's search for his father paralleled with the Greek myth of Theseus. . . Coelho presents an insightful, multidimensional interpretation of a millennia-old myth.
--Publishers Weekly (starred review)

The language is beautifully wrought. . . Besides being gorgeously realized, the story gets high marks for originality, which is high praise, indeed.
--Booklist (starred review)

Written in verse with nods to the classic Choose Your Own Adventure genre, this clever, well-paced novel leans into its interwoven format. . . . The tale of the Minotaur is relayed in a particularly refreshing and poignant way. Milner's moving ink illustrations bolster an already vivid story. Thoughtful and well executed.
--Kirkus Reviews

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