The Boy Who Couldn't Die

By William Sleater

The Boy Who Couldn't Die

When Ken's best friend is killed in a plane crash, Ken decides he will never die. He goes to a mysterious women who claims she can make him invulnerable to pain and death for the low price of fifty dollars. Her ritual works. The women hid his soul so not even death could find it. Ken can't be burned, beaten up, or even bitten by the sharks that he dives among in the Caribbean. He can't die but he can kill. While awake he has full control of his life but at night, the nightmares take over causing him to lose his mind. Invulnerability comes at a high price, but was it worth it? As he finds out later, the woman's idea was far more evil than taking just his soul.
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Personal Review

I would say this book was very good. One word to describe this book would be creepy. I really like this book because unlike a lot of other books, this book has a good surprise twist ending. I would say that at first this book was annoying because the main character seemed to be a total brat and was very rude but through the book he changes his attitude and becomes less of a jerk. As long as you can get through the whole typical teenager cliche beginning, it's a very good book. You might as well just skip through those parts at the beginning because all it's clarifying is that he's invincible and annoying.

About the Author

The Author William Sleator, has made many books and one of his most famous books was "His House Of Stairs", which was said to be one of the best books of the twentieth century. I have no idea if its good but the reviews are great so if you liked this book you could read that book. I also found out that William was gay in the harsh 80s during the begging of the aids scare which would have sucked. This book has no awards but I still think this is a great book. The author William Sleator, died on August, 3, 2011, in his home at the age of 66.


One of the big parts of this books is zombies. The original zombie, is someone who is being controlled by someone by voodoo magic. In pop culture today zombies have become very famous and is showed in many hit media programs like the "Walking Dead" and "Dawn of the Dead". The first ever movie about zombies was the movie "White Zombie". This movie is about how a young women was transformed into a zombie by an evil voodoo witch doctor name "Murder". Yeah, very nice name. It was a bust because of so said, over the top story and terrible acting. I think the terrible acting part is just the fact that it was made in the 30s.


Souls are also a big part of this book because this is what Cheri, the mysterious woman takes away. A soul in definition is the life inside of you that makes you you. Without it you are just a lump of meat, skin, and bones. One of the more diverse things that souls are said to be, is that they are your morals and without a soul, you become an evil being. It seems that is the type of "Souls" they are using in this story. It also seems Cheri, the voodoo lady, has hidden his soul somewhere where she can only find it and she manipulates his every move in his sleep because when he sleeps, he can't control himself.

Shark Attacks

In the story, Mr. Annoying teenager decides that even though he touched a burning pan and couldn't cut off his fingers, he still couldn't tell if he was really invincible, so for spring break, he had his family come to the Caribbean with him so he could secretly swim with the sharks. He decided he would put his whole family in danger so he could "Test" if he was really invincible. Now for me, I think this is a dull moment in the book and the author did not research much about this topic because shark attacks have the same rarity as someone winning the power ball. Each of these shark attacks are caused by the fact that sharks mistaken humans for seals because they have very sensitive eyes and see things blurred so someone paddling on a surfboard looks like a seal. Since Ken is not on top of a surf board and he's actually swimming underwater with the sharks, the only chance of them of attacking is if he starts attacking the sharks, but still, there's a higher chance they'll just leave. Sharks don't want to eat humans anyway. Compared to what they normally eat like seals, we're just swimming bones.


"10 Great Articles About Death." The Electric Type Writer. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Jan. 2016. <>.

Barbon, Margie. ""We Are All Spirit"- All Soul's Day International Call For Submission 2015." Hyperkreeytiv. Margie Barbon, 20 July 2015. Web. 28 Jan. 2016.

Farnham, Alex, and Catie Wayne. "Swimming With Sharks Uncaged." Animalist. Discovery, 2015. Web. 28 Jan. 2016.

"White Zombie (film)." Wikipedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Jan. 2016. <>.


"My temperature grows shallower and shallower until I'm hardly breathing at all."

"It feels like insects are crawling under my skin."

"Even though I can feel my body, I'm not a part of it anymore."

"You'll find out soon enough."

Professional Reviews

"The Boy Who Couldn't Die by William Sleator |" Scholastic Teachers. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Jan. 2016. <>.

Sleator, William. "Children's Book Review: THE BOY WHO COULDN'T DIE by William Sleator, Author . Abrams/Amulet $16.95 (174p) ISBN 978-0-8109-4824-2." Publishers Weekly, n.d. Web. 28 Jan. 2016. <>.

Bibliographic Information

Title The Boy Who Couldn't Die

Author William Sleator

Edition reprint

Publisher Harry N. Abrams, 2005

ISBN 0810987902, 9780810987906

Length 184 pages

Subjects Juvenile Fiction › Horror & Ghost Stories