Cover Image: The Boy Who Fell From the Sky

The Boy Who Fell From the Sky

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Member Reviews

The others can be seen as a demon as long as we don't meet them and discover they are just like us but more afraid and alone.
A story of friendship and acceptance. A story about the courage to fight for what we think is right.
Moving, thought provoking, compelling.
Highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher for this ARC, all opinions are mine

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In this version of our world, shooting stars only promise bad things – as each and every one opens a tear in the fabric of the cosmos, allowing a demon to come through and land on Earth. Zed, our hero, is due to be third in his family classed as First Hunter – the platinum-badged warriors who act as first line of defence, using ace trackers and non-lethal weaponry to capture the demons before they do any ill. Zed himself is useless at pretty much anything vital when it comes to being a Hunter, mind – although when we see him assessed here it's a check-up that leads to a most unlikely result indeed. And when he sneaks illegally out of his dad's secure house to try and capture a demon himself, just to get in his good books, he's to find something unlikely too – the demon is not exactly what we'd think of as demonic...

I guess the elevator pitch of this could be "Skellig with a conspiracy", but that's not everything here. Zed is forced by this story first to want to follow in his father's footsteps, and then to avoid them in favour of another path. It's a story of acceptance and trusting strangers, of finding the truth and recognising differences. And all that is done with surprising lightness. OK, one small scene about how we're all wonderfully diverse and different is a bit clunky, but the topics are worn lightly, and even something as bolshy as the elevator pitch I suggest there is measured and carefully crafted.

All told then this is a rampant success. It's a firm four stars from me, and that's because it's been marked down due to inane pronoun mangling, thankfully for a minor character only. Starting with the unusual twist to the everyday world we know (which really does have the same impact on the reader as if we'd been told rainbows delivered evil) and running through all its action to the clear demand for more to come, this is a joy. Engaging, dramatic, enjoyable and intelligently delivered, it should only be a delight to return to this world. For all us non-demons, at least.

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The message of this book is lovely, but the writing style didn't grab me. There's a lot of over-explaining, which feels patronising.

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Benjamin Dean does it again! A truly special story full of adventure, joy and magic that will fill the hearts of readers, no matter their age.

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Demons, hunters, flying, what more could I ask for? I am Zed! Interesting, layered read, great for anyone looking to take a gentle walk through heavier topics. Funny, sparkly with tension; just how I like my books.

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Zed’s dad works as a Demon Hunter whose job it is to eliminate these creatures from Earth, and it’s expected that Zac will one day follow in his footsteps.

But that all changes when he meets an actual Demon and realises they’re not all that different from us.

My 9 year old enjoyed this book, especially the characters of the Demons, he said there were a few funny bits and it reminded him a bit of ET!

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We loved this book of diversity and friendship of helping others and doing the right thing in the face of danger. Zed, Spark and Selena are great characters and you can feel the warmth between them. Obviously there are going to be more books in this series and we cannot wait.

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Thank you NetGalley and Simon and Schuster Children's UK for this eBook to review

I enjoyed The Boy Who Fell From the Sky. It was a great novel about accepting each other despite our differences, it was great to see Zed come into his own and step away from his Dad's shadow as you do not need to live up to your parent's plans for you, you can be yourself and your parents and friends should understand that and be happy for you.

We follow Zed as he makes friends with a demon (alien from outer space) and instead of hunting it like his Dad, Zed befriends it and learns that Spark just wants to go home after rescuing his brother Speck. Full of humour and nail biting exploits. This book was definitely out of this world.

Great for diversity, being yourself, and friendship

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A Demon from the stars above called Spark (and his little brother Speck) just found himself the bestest friend in the whole Universe - Zed, a loyal, courageous, vulnerable, compassionate and intelligent boy from Earth who fights for what’s right no matter how high the stakes might be!! Zed is the son of a Hunter, actually the BEST Hunter alive on Earth. What do they hunt? Demons - mythical/monster-type aliens that fall from the sky with stars who prey on humans. At least, that’s what humans have always been told, and the story books say it too so it must be true. Zed, though, is coming of age and his dad would love nothing more than for him to follow in his family tradition. The Authority assessment, however, doesn’t quite to plan. Upon his turn to look to the sky for a sign of his future, this boy, who looks forward more to an art lesson than a PE lesson, sees a shooting star, not the expected constellation of an ancient Hunter. Ah. Problem. With all the pressures of a father’s expectations of his son and the loneliness of a life of a Hunter’s child who has no interest in that life… Zed is utterly miserable and anxious about how he can earn his dad’s love and respect. Spending his time in his treehouse with his nose in one of his zillions of books, that’s more powerful an education, it turns out, than all he could ever learn from training to be a Hunter… “I felt safe in stories because they allowed me to escape into new worlds.” - Zed

Expect edge-of-the-seat adventure, giggly/teary moments as friendships emerge, a mystery to solve and a protagonist like Zed that the reader can really imagine themselves right along side of cheering him on through the ups and downs.

Encouraging children to reflect on many scenes in the story, dialogue often poses the question about whether if someone is different do they pose a threat or not. I’m sure many of us can find memories of moments whereby we have been told about who or what to fear that perhaps didn’t turn out to be true. Interestingly, this story really does make you wonder what all to believe about aliens in general, and what might happen if you met one!! I think as long as they like stories and chocolate, we’ll get along just fine LOL.

I have a feeling there’ll be a sequel… so hold onto your star-gazing bobble-hats for book 2 at some point?

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Zed has always been told that shooting stars signal a demon falling from the sky which needs to be hunted by hunters, of which Zed’s father is the best there is. Zed is expected to follow in his footsteps and Zed doesn’t think otherwise.
One day Zed is taken by his father, along with his father’s closest rival Lilith and her daughter Aro to see the Superior in order to foretell their futures. Aro sees the constellation of the ancient hunter, but Zed does not. Later that night a shooting star shoots across the sky and the hunt is on for the demon with the 2 rivals out searching immediately.
But it’s Zed who stumbles across the demon who is nothing like he’s been led to believe.
Should Zed protect his Father’s reputation, or should he do what he feels is right, but is against everything he has been taught?
Although a stand alone adventure with a satisfying ending, the book ends with the possibility of being continued in a sequel.

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The Boy who fell from the sky
By Benjamin Dean
Published by Simon & Schuster Ltd

Benjamin Dean has done it again! A fabulous new story like no other!

‘The Boy Who From the Sky' by @NotAgainBen is a wonderfully unique sci-fi adventure about having the courage to stand up for 'the other' - whatever ‘the other’ might be.

Twelve-year-old Zed has always been fascinated by the Demons that fall from the sky. His dad is a Hunter, the BEST hunter there is and Zed hopes to one day follow in his footsteps. But one night Spark appears - a real live demon who makes Zed look at thing’s differently. Feelings of confusion, commitment and compassion disrupts everything Zed thought he knew. Because this Demon is different – just like Zed.
He’s a frightened boy, no older than Zed, who wants to go back home.
Can Zed stand up to his dad and for what he believes is right?
Even if it means risking everything - his friends, his family, his reputation?

An amazing sci-fi adventure, full of twists, turns and difficult decisions.
A must read for all KS2 teacher to show students that our emotions can provide us with the strength to make a change for others.

Joanne Bardgett - teacher of littlies, lover of Children’s literature.
#Netgalley
@NotAgainBen

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THE BOY WHO FELL FROM THE SKY is my first Benjamin Dean MG. I've loved his YA thrillers but not yet read his two MG books, and so I figured a contemporary fantasy was a great place to start (and it was!)

It is an engaging tale of a world where stars fall as demons but Zed discovers these so-called monsters aren't so different from us. It's an adventure full of twists, not-so-great parenting, and an exploration of the fear of the other - and how governments exploit this to maintain control.

The world is an alternative version of modern Earth, where shooting stars leave rips in the sky letting . I loved this play on shooting stars - they historically were seen as great omens (usually of doom but could be spun by a canny hand!) I liked the hints of the history of the world thanks to these demons in the legend of their first hunter. That tale plays on the legendary cannon of strong, solo warriors that are so often used as propaganda tools to exemplify the right of might in a setting where there aren't solo heroes, just soldiers-cogs in a war that needs justifying.

For all of this riffing off set story telling patterns and exploration of themes, it's first and foremost just a really fun story. I mean stars as shapeshifting people needing to be rescued from an authoritarian, lying government? I loved following Zed's adventure as he achieved despite his many blunders. He is not a typical hero, strong and powerful. He's clumsy and lacks confidence, but his heart is in the right place - and that's what matters here.

I'm not sure if this is a standalone or the first in a series. It ends in such a way that there could easily be a second book as the primary goal has been achieved but in doing so Zed and Spark have found out about a big government secret that could be exposed (and defeated) in a sequel. I'd love another book in this world!

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Ah this book is delightful! It is magical and left me with a lovely fuzzy feeling at the end whilst not shying away from the complexities of human emotions.

Zed’s father is a famous Demon Hunter, not just famous, THE BEST. This story is all about Zed discovering the truth about Demons and the rollercoaster of emotions that comes with it. Is he letting his father down? Has he been lied to his whole life? Should he do what others want and expect or stand up for his own beliefs?

I adored this book from start to end. A host of characters to love and loathe and Zed himself struck the wonderful balance of being funny and compassionate.

“Rejecting who you are, forcing yourself to become someone you’re not, is painful.”

This story is full to the brim of messages of acceptance and the importance of not pre-judging others without getting to know them. A wonderful message wrapped up in a magical adventure!

Thank you to Simon & Schuster Children’s Books, Benjamin Dean and NetGalley for my early review copy in exchange of a fair and honest review.

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What a book! I finished it in one day because I wanted to know how it ended for Zed and the demons.
There's so much in here about friendship, love, lies and doing the right thing. Zed has big choices to make and he follows his heart, even if it's not what his dad or The Authority want him to do. The story itself is like nothing I've ever read and I didn't see the twists coming. I really hope there is a second one, I want to see how the relationships develop.

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Every Benjamin Dean book is a cause for excitement and the second I saw The Boy Who Fell From The Sky’s cover, I knew it was going to be a gem. It’s getting more and more difficult to be unique in the middle grade sphere but Ben always manages to do so. A demon hunting crew filled with secrets was not what I was expecting when I started this book! This was truly a spectacular read and I’m only sad it isn’t a full series as I loved the characters, even Alastair. 5/5 for sure and can’t wait to whatever comes next from Ben.

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This was such a heartwarming read about friendship. Alongside the alien/out of this world element this cosy tale was fun and exciting.

It gave E.T vibes but in a modern world and I’m all here for it. Although it is a children’s book I really enjoyed the moral behind the story which sends a powerful message to any age group. Although there were important messages throughout the book it was funny and lighthearted at the same time. My favourite part of the book was definitely the wings scene; I felt like I was in awe.

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Have you ever wondered what happens to cause a shooting star? Scientists will have us believe that it is a small piece of rock hitting the Earth's atmosphere but what if it is actually a star falling through a tear in the sky made by a demon trying to destroy the world?

Zed has been raised in a family, steeped in demon hunting prowess, where the expectation is that he will follow in the footsteps of his father, the esteemed Hunter tasked with the capture of any demon who dares to enter the world. Zed wants to please his father but his interests and talents fall outside of those expected of him by his family and superiors.

One night, when a demon called Spark falls from the sky, Zed finds him and is shocked to realise that he is just a frightened boy. Over time, he forms a friendship with him and has to help him to find his missing brother. In doing so, Zed makes discoveries that challenge what he has been told throughout his life and he is forced to acknowledge that in order to do what is right, he must go against his father and listen to his heart.

This is a book which uses humour and stardust to sparkle its way into our hearts and sends a message to remind us to find information out for ourselves before passing judgment on others. We loved the concept, the themes of friendship, diversity and self belief, and who can resist a shape shifting demon with a dry wit and a mischievous streak.

Thank you to NetGalley and Simon and Schuster Children's UK for sending us this eBook for review consideration. All opinions are our own.

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As I have loved Ben's other MG books I really wanted to read this. It is very different to the real life scenarios of Me, My Dad and the End of the Rainbow and the Secret Sunshine Project. This is a fantasy type Earth, humans are guarded by Hunters who report to the Authority and are there to protect the Earth from Demons which appear from shooting stars.

Zed is the son of the First Hunter, Alistair Smyth. His grandfather was a hunter too, it is his destiny. But Zed is home schooled they have moved around a lot, so his schooling comes second to Dad's hunting. He isn't great at sports either. And worse still the day he goes for an assessment at The Authority he is there at the same time as Aro, daughter of the second hunter, Lilith.

Aro is first in the Chair and the Superior is really pleased when Aro sees the constellation of Eras, The Ancient Hunter in the stars shown. Zed, however, causes confused looks on those around him, including his Dad when he sees nothing but a shooting star and announces a Demon has fallen.

Zed's father is quiet and once home Zed goes outside to his treehouse. He doesn't understand what was wrong with what he saw, and Dad isn't telling him. He isn't like Dad he is sure of it. Dad's team all arrive, followed by a new recruit, Selena Jepson a new tracker. But she's just 16 and was top of her class.
Then all is busy, a star and therefore a Demon breaks free from the sky. Dad instructs Zed to stay inside and all their defences will activate when he leaves. Zed will be safe inside.
But Zed had other ideas - he would catch the Demon then they would all see that he could follow in his Dad's footsteps....
But Zed finds that the Demon isn't what he expects....and their isn't just one....what can he do? And how annoyed is his Dad going to be?

Absolutely brilliant new adventure story, really enjoyed it. Will certainly look to try and get one for school as I feel this will be popular with the children (primary/ks2 but certainly LKS3 too). I hope there will be more as it ends with that possibility.

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I really enjoyed this! A gorgeous story of a kid who doesn’t wanna follow in his dad’s footsteps, unlikely friends and standing up for what’s right. Benjamin Dean gets good storytelling and his books always just get me. There’s loads of good in this about identity, accepting people who are different and being yourself. I’d love more from this world!

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I absolutely adored Benjamin Dean's other middle grade novels and was so excited to read his latest - especially as it forays into SFF.

I loved Zed as the MC. He went through such a good character arc in learning not to trust everything he'd be taught and to accept friendship from unlikely places. I thought his relationship with his father was so well written as it transferred from admiration and idolisation to a sense of betrayal and anger. The argument between them where Zed points out how if he shouldn't trust people who look different to him then the first person he shouldn't trust would be his dad. That just hit.

Spark was such a great character too, especially as an older brother to Speck. His motivation to save his little brother and his friendship to Zed just made him so easy to root for and love.

I think the lore surrounding the Demons was so well conveyed. I love how they age differently to humans and how beautiful their life in the stars sounds. I love the idea of stardust and a powerful force that allowed shooting stars to rip holes in the sky. I also really, really loved how they call themselves Demons. Like, this is a word that in the reader's world and in this fictional world has negative connotations. It made the reader and Zed have to follow a similar path of facing misconceptions based on ideas this word brings to mind and - after actually meeting Spark, a demon, - it makes the reader have to shift the meaning of 'demon' in their head every time its mentioned. It feels like an incredibly clever way to explore language and prejudice.

The way Selena was built up was so good, there were enough hints that she was an ally for her being a Demon to make perfect sense whilst still being a slight twist (I initially thought maybe she was another human ally).

Also, there's so many parts that just make me want a sequel so bad. I want to know more about the unique symbol Zed saw when he was being evaluated by the Superior - does it relate to his actions in the story allying with Spark? Is it a hint at his future role in creating a better relationship between Demons and humans? I want to know more about the history, about why the Authority is hunting an imprisoning innocent Demons - what is their end goal? (I'd guess some form of exploitation given the scientists around when Spark & Speck were in the pods and given the power of stardust). Also are Selena, Zed & co. going to free the other Demons in the 'underworld'??

Just, Benjamin Dean has crafted a very compelling world and i would wholeheartedly recommend this book (and love to read more).

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