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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

Just a Regular Boy

Narrators: Michael Crouch, Kate Rudd Brilliance Audio

ISBN: 9781662504372

Publisher: Lake Union

Publication Date: 05/02/2023

Format: Hardcover

My Rating: 5 Stars (ARC)

An orphaned boy raised by a survivalist wends his way into the real world in an emotional novel about hope, fears, and found family by New York Times bestselling author Catherine Ryan Hyde.

Out there is chaos, the collapse of society, and so much to be afraid of. All that matters is freedom.

That’s what Remy Blake has been taught by his survivalist father. Raised off the grid in the middle of nowhere, his own survival skills not yet honed, Remy is days shy of his eighth birthday when his father unexpectedly dies. As seasons pass, supplies run out, and fending for himself grows more desperate, Remy sets out on foot, unprepared for the great unknown of civilization.

He is found―near feral, silent, and terrified―in the small rural town of Blaire. To Anne, a nurturing mother of two adopted teenagers who’s still dealing with her own childhood rejections, Remy is not a lost cause. Just a challenging one. As Remy cautiously adapts to his new foster home, his family wants nothing more than to reassure him that he can trust the world. But to do so, they must first reexamine how much they trust the world themselves, and how much they should. As Remy’s journey into the real world begins, figuring out how to navigate it becomes a path they will have to learn to walk together.


“Prolific author [Catherine Ryan] Hyde applies her heartwarming style to the dynamic between a foster parent and child, highlighting the power of therapy and the reliability of inner strength.” —Booklist

My Review

Master storyteller returns following So Long Chester Wheeler with another heart-wrenching emotional coming-of-age tale, JUST A REGULAR BOY.

A courageous orphan boy raised by a survivalist is left alone in an uncertain world of fear, trying to survive the only way he can in the forest surrounded by danger with no one, food or water.

Remy's father, Roy, is a cruel man. He justifies taking his five-year-old son to live in the wilderness after his mother dies. The dad is a survivalist, and they live in a log cabin in the wilds of northern Idaho to survive what he believes is a coming apocalypse. He says they will have freedom.

Remy's father instills fear of the world and everything around them: no power, phone, indoor plumbing, social interaction, people, or modern conveniences.

Then when he is eight, his father dies of a heart attack and leaves him alone. He does not know whom he can trust. How will he survive, eat, and live?

JUST A REGULAR BOY is told from two POVs. Remy and a woman named Anne.

Anne is married to Chris with two children she has adopted through foster care. Her father left her when she was a young girl, and her mother blamed her and her siblings for being too many and too much. She has a big heart and is a wonderful mother.

She takes in Remy no matter how much time, rehabilitation, and care it will take. The two will be suitable for one another and learn from each other.

I loved his friend Lester and his mom. Remy is the story's hero, and your heart will break with what he went through living alone in the forest. No one of this age should be subjected to this life. Thank goodness Anne and her family found him.

Hyde portrays this emotional story from the eyes of a young boy and how his father's actions and beliefs affect this young boy.

Profoundly moving, your heart will go out to Remy. I enjoyed Anne and her family and supporting characters. The author has a talent for writing emotional and inspirational stories of overcoming tragedy with joy and hope. There is always someone to help; she writes with sympathy and compassion and many essential life lessons.

Ideal for book clubs and further discussions. An ongoing theme of fear-driven behavior runs through the novel. There is so much to be afraid of, from the chaos the collapse of society, sickness, pandemics, guns, violence, and one another.

Beautifully told, I adore all of Hyde's stories. JUST A REGULAR BOY is thought-provoking and highlights the fears we must all face in order to live our lives to the fullest, from trauma, grief, and loss, to joy, love, and belonging.

A long-time fan and one of my favorite authors, I have read all her books. As always, impressive storytelling! The novel would make a great movie. Highly recommend.

I purchased the audiobook narrated by Michael Crouch (fav) and Kate Rudd for an engaging performance and listening experience.

Thanks to Lake Union Publishing for a gifted e-ARC via #NetGalley for review purposes.

@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks

Pub Date: May 2, 2023

My Rating: 5 Stars

About the Author

Catherine Ryan Hyde is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and #1 Amazon Charts bestselling author of more than forty books and counting. An avid traveler, equestrian, and amateur photographer, she shares her astrophotography with readers on her website.

Her novel Pay It Forward was adapted into a major motion picture, chosen by the American Library Association (ALA) for its Best Books for Young Adults list, and translated into more than twenty-three languages for distribution in over thirty countries. Both Becoming Chloe and Jumpstart the World were included on the ALA’s Rainbow list, and Jumpstart the World was a finalist for two Lambda Literary Awards. Where We Belong won two Rainbow Awards in 2013, and The Language of Hoofbeats won a Rainbow Award in 2015.

More than fifty of her short stories have been published in the Antioch Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, Ploughshares, Glimmer Train, and many other journals; in the anthologies Santa Barbara Stories and California Shorts; and in the bestselling anthology Dog Is My Copilot. Her stories have been honored by the Raymond Carver Short Story Contest and the Tobias Wolff Award and have been nominated for Best American Short Stories, the O. Henry Award, and the Pushcart Prize. Three have been cited in the annual Best American Short Stories anthology.

She is the founder and former president (2000–2009) of the Pay It Forward Foundation. As a professional public speaker, she has addressed the National Conference on Education, twice spoken at Cornell University, met with AmeriCorps members at the White House, and shared a dais with Bill Clinton.

For more information, please visit the author at







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