Poster Boy: a searing British dystopia that cuts close to the bone...

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 16 Jul 2019

Member Reviews

I’m not sure quite where to start with Poster Boy other than to say, hold on and sit tight because Crosskey has written one helluva a novel.

Let’s start with the fact it was set sometime in the future but when you are never quite sure. The world in general was still recognisable but shades or glasses had replaced mobile phones and the political landscape was just a little different.

Those differences were so subtle that they would not have looked out of place in today’s society and for me this was an absolute master stroke by Crosskey. The ruling political party the English Reclamation Party, ERP, were against immigration, Muslims, and anyone who wasn’t British accessing services. Immediately your mind went into overdrive as The British Defence League and UKIP all jumped out at you, current parties with the same manifesto and reasoning.

And then as you read, as Crosskey themes went further you started to wonder, could this be our future, was this what we would have to look forward to. I have to say that it really made me think, her fiction so close to what could ultimately be our reality.

What of the people who lived in this system. How did they cope, did they agree or did they find ways to fight back?

This is where the action began as Crosskey gave us two brilliant characters.

Rosa, a young teen, happy with her life and friends but suddenly adrift after the death of her twin brother Jimmy. To me, she was the pawn in a complex and intense game of chess. You couldn’t believe the manipulation, the lies, the propaganda she was fed. I felt her utter despair, her confusion, her anger at everyone. You couldn’t blame her for her actions, in fact if you could  have jumped into the novel you would have fought her corner, and helped her.

Then we had Teresa. It has been a long time since I have come across a female character that was so strong, so focused, so lacking in emotion, so damn manipulative. I loved and hated her all at the same time and admired her intelligence, her drive and single mindedness, she was just brilliant!

What I liked was their alternating voices, we got two sides of the story. It gave Crosskey the opportunity to dig deep into their thoughts and feelings.

The tension was palpable and in the latter parts of the novel unbearable. I think the fact that we knew from the beginning that Rosa was wearing a bomb vest didn’t help as I was impatient to know why and how. Such a brilliant tool and brilliantly executed by Crosskey to start at the end and work back to how it all began. The drama was never ending, my head permanently on fast spin, and I was totally drained by the time I turned the last page, but I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way as Poster Boy was utterly brilliant.
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Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
This book had me from the beginning, I enjoy books that give you a glimpse of the near end and then rewind and show you how we got there. There are so many details to explain this book it becomes difficult but in reality the racism, terrorism, mass media influence, government scare tactics and control are all very real in the dystopian novel. So much in this book is mirroring what is really going on all around the world. If I had read this book 10 years ago and read about everyone receiving a micro chip from the government to keep track of information I would have scoffed but in that short time span now it doesn’t seem so far fetched. This book is a page turner and eye opener. Awesome debut novel!
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I started off really liking this book, although the genre isn’t my usual choice. There is an attention grabbing beginning which we know is also going to be here the story ends, & I was strapped in and ready for the promoted ride that would hurtle me towards that ending. Unfortunately it never really got past third gear for me and I started  to lose interest before the end of part one. I’m not really sure why to be honest. The writing is actually very good and the premise (a timely &  frightening look at a Britain of the near future) was a great one. I think I’d have to put it down to two things. One, I just didn’t connect with, or care about, any of the characters. And two, I felt the story to be quite drawn out and repetitive due to being told (practically) the same story by both main characters.
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3.5 stars

Twin sister Rosa Lincoln always felt she was in Jimmy’s shadow, but through his accidental death he became a national hero as it was claimed he foiled a major act of terrorism in heart of London.  

Eventually she crosses paths with the Teresa who shows her who the real enemy is and the lies that have been pedalled over the years.  Seeing the need for this to be exposed, Rosa intends on doing just that by taking to the stage at her brother’s memorial service with a bomb concealed beneath her clothes.

It's a creepy story, told from the point of view of Rosa and Teresa in a fascist and totalitarian society in the UK, perhaps in the not too distant future.   It also contains scenes of racism, drug use and some sex: now I sound like a movie warning! The novel starts at the memorial service in Hyde Park, as a glimpse of the potential ending and then works it way back to Rosa's childhood, through her school years and onto Jimmy's death.  It then moves on to introduce Teresa, who has her fingers in multiple pies during the story.  The author then flips between Rosa and Teresa in the build up to the memorial service. 

Whilst overall I enjoyed the story I did find that one of the chapters the story repeats itself as first time round you see it from Rosa's point of view and then again from Teresa's, though there isn't really much difference, even in the internal thoughts. And the author uses brackets throughout the story which is annoying; its a personal pet hate of mine.

I received this book from netgalley in return for a honest review.
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Set in a fascist Britain, in the not too distant future, two women, Rosa and Teresa, fight to stay alive with some sense of integrity as the nation takes further steps towards totalitarian leadership where all citizens are monitored and given access to education, food and health care on a scale dependant upon their heritage, opinion and behaviour.

Brilliantly exposing the ease with which individuals and wider populations can be manipulated for political gain, Poster Boy begins with the story of Rosa and her twin brother, Jonny. Jonny is the poster boy whose real personality was anything but perfect. When he died in a fall from the railings of a pedestrian motorway overpass, having balanced on the rails drugged to the eyeballs and filled with a sense of his own immortality, his dead body caused a pile up. One of the cars belonged to the leader of the alternative left opposition group, Gridless. Inside the boot were plans for an attack against the government that the authorities hadn’t seen coming.

Suddenly, Jonny is no longer a wild teenager out for a good time, but a squeaky clean hero whose death was a sacrifice for the nation. A poster boy for the ordinary decent Englishman struggling to thrive in a society of immigrants, non-Christians and terrorists.

While Rosa’s life falls apart under the strain of this deception and her parents’ grief, Teresa faces a different battle, one to save Gridless and their mission at all costs.

Poster Boy is a fun ride. Fast paced and unpredictable, there is a pleasing lack of sentimentality with a clear message about the dangers of mass media control. It wouldn’t take much to go from our world into this one and this makes for discomforting reading.

A real of-the-moment novel, Poster Boy is a disturbing portent that readers who enjoy this kind of thing will lap up. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a television adaptation before too long.
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Wow, what a debut! This is the first book from the author and it is fantastic – I was hooked from beginning to end.

After watching The Handmaid’s Tale the idea of dystopian book and TV series have really interested me. I enjoy history, but find travelling forward in time often ends up in the sci-fi genre. I enjoy these kind of books which anticipate how our world and society may be in the future.

This book starts off tense, and the thrill factor doesn’t let up as it goes back in time to tell you what events led to the situation the lead character finds herself in. The world the author has created is disturbing but also not entirely implausible. The characters are realistic. I enjoy the way the book switches viewpoint between the two female leads, so you get a good overall understanding of the things happening.

I will certainly be looking out for future books from this author, if this one is anything to go by they will be fantastic! I highly recommend to all.
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Having heard great things about this novel, I was delighted to receive a copy for review in exchange for my honest opinion. Poster Boy was a whirlwind from start to finish. Set in a futuristic, but realistic, world it follows Rosa after her brother has been made a national hero.

Touching on many complex topics; terrorism, radicalisation, crime, punishment and nationalism, Poster Boy was an exciting read. The attention to detail was phenomenal, and I was left reeling by the book's twists and turns. I truly believed that these terrifying events could happen, and it gave me insight into the intricacies and possible corruption within our government and security services.
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From the stunning cover to the intriguing synopsis, I knew I was going to love this book! Poster Boy by N.J. Crosskey can be considered a learning experience for all of us.

Rosa Lincoln has stepped up on stage to speak at her brother's memorial service. Her brother, who is considered a hero, has always overshadowed Rosa. Up until now. With a bomb strapped to her chest, Rosa is determined to make herself known as she's being broadcast over television.

Set in the near future, this dystopian novel will give you all types of chills. First and foremost, the fact that this setting is right under our noses, is a little bit scary. This future could be ours, and the knowledge of that is disheartening.

Envision a world where you have an electronic chip inside your arm, so that the government can know exactly where you are at all times. Freaky right? Well, that's the reality for this new England, and it's run by a new-world pseudo Hitler, Jeremy Cole, who wants a xenophobic, altruistic land.

Rosa's brother accidentally saves the prime ministers life, and even though that wasn't his intention, Rosa plans to avenge his death. No one is ready to live in this horrific world, most of all Rosa Lincoln. Watching her gain the courage to seek the answers she desires is incredible, and the thriller aspect of this novel really got to me!

I absolutely adored this book. First of all, the book's first chapter is a sneak peek to the end of the book, and then it rewinds to the beginning, which is always a trick that I love! Terrifyingly current and irresistible, Poster Boy will be the next big thing this summer, just watch! For a debut novel, this one took the cake for me. I enjoyed every bit. I give this book 5 out of 5 stars.
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There is much to like in Poster Boy, but I felt that the author took the character of "Teresa" and made her a wunderkind, able to appear and be influential in all areas the book needed it. That's the easy way out, in my opinion. SHe's here, she's there, and it's all being glossed over how she could attain these positions simultaneously and not get caught. A more credible story might have been a bigger challenge, but then, authors take on challenges to produce at their best.
Thanks, NetGalley, for the ARC.
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Broadcast live, Rosa Lincoln takes to the stage at her brother’s memorial service with a bomb concealed beneath her clothes. Being in Jimmy’s shadow was never easy, even when he was alive, but in death he has become a national hero.
When she crosses paths with the enigmatic Teresa, she discovers that those she has been taught to view as enemies may not be the real villains after all.
The lies need to be stopped, and Rosa intends on doing just that.

Wow! This book started with a bang - well a potential bang - and didn't let up until the very end with all its twists and turns along the way. 
Although this is fiction it very much reflects what is going on around the world right now, sadly. It has its basis in fact and recent happenings which makes it hard-hitting, emotive, topical and timely.
The main issues it explores are terrorism, extremism, propaganda, xenophobia, nationalism, racism, good vs evil and the current political climate; it does so with considerable tact while questioning each of them making this a thought-provoking read. 
Very good work of dystopian fiction.
Recommended.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.
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A fictional dystopia that has a disturbingly realistic feel.  Well written and thought provoking, this is a chilling page turner.
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As Adolf Hitler once stated: Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it. It was the Nazis propaganda technique but nothing has changed since then, and the propaganda machine continues to turn with the media and their alliances and allegiances playing a substantial role in effectively propagating untruths and inaccuracies or information that simply should not be broadcast.

We now know this media perpetuation of certain hateful speeches (I'm looking at you Mr Trump) has fed into extremist ideology; one illustration of this is the Christchurch terrorist attack carried out by a white supremacist and appreciator of Trump's rhetoric, but it is only one of many examples. This book takes this idea and creates a truly chilling, disturbing and sheer terrifying view of modern Britain. It is an astonishing debut that masterfully taps in to the hopes and fears of the world presently. The rampant demagoguery both in the UK and around the world is going unnoticed when it comes to the general population. Ripped from the headlines has never been so apt.

Although this is fiction it very much reflects what is going on around the world right now, sadly. It has its basis in fact and recent happenings which makes it hard-hitting, emotive, topical and timely. The main issues it explores are terrorism, extremism, propaganda, xenophobia, nationalism, racism, good vs evil and the current political climate; it does so with considerable aplomb whilst questioning each of them making this a thought-provoking read. Despite being hailed as dystopian fiction this novel is grounded in the sense that it is incredibly realistic and believable, which makes it an engaging and thoroughly enjoyable, if quite disconcerting, read.

Overall, this is bleak, brutal, devastating and one of the best dystopic novels I have read in a long time. It delivers a shocking and twisty narrative in such a way that it flowed really easily from page to page. It's also a poignant and highly accomplished debut.

Many thanks to Legend Press for an ARC.
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Poster Boy comes in hot and stays that way the entire time. Set in a 'near future' that feels ALL TOO familiar, Poster Boy is the story of racism, nationalism and basically...a dystopian nightmare. You know...just like today!

Everyone is electronically chipped, so the state can monitor movements while the Government spews off 'fake news' to confuse and frustrate everyone. 

I can't go into this because I would rather people discover this horrid situation on their own. It's great storytelling of what can/and possibly could go wrong. 

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.
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To start, I really enjoyed how Ms. Crosskey started the book with a peek at the ending. No, she doesn't give it all away, but somehow knowing where the road is leading adds something to the story. From there she backtracks and starts at the point where one senseless death brings her main characters into the current story. I enjoyed how she presented them as broken people reacting in their own ways to the events around them. I liked how, sadly, the current political climate was presented and then questioned. Ms. Crosskey's tweaks on modern life to fit her story were plausible which made the story that much more engaging. It is wonderful when great writing make a story both enjoyable to read and relatable.
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Wow! This book started with a bang - well a potential bang - and didn't let up until the very end with all its twists and turns along the way. As with a lot of books these days, we start near to the end and then flashback to see how we got there. Here, we start with Rosa at her brother's memorial, sat on stage with a bomb strapped to her, waiting for her turn to speak. We then go back in time to see her grow up with said brother, Jimmy, and the events that led up to the day he died. We follow the fallout from that death, how it turned Jimmy from zero to hero and how this event and the aftermath that followed shaped Rosa into the person she is today, sat with the bomb.
What really made this book for me was the fact that everything I read is credible and that is what made it rather scary for me. How easy it was to manipulate opinion via media and spin. How lies can be born when the truth is hidden and how the lone voice can be squashed and controlled by those in power. All things quite prevalent to an extent in the world we live in these days of social media and open platforms continually spamming us with fake news.
Set in an alternative near future which is close to our present but with added technology we see the scary realism of what could happen with some of the things that are rife in the current (dare I mention Brexit) climate we are all going through in the UK at the moment. Rosa has the power to see through the lies that have been spun about her brother and what happened, but even she is powerless to do anything on her own. But that's the thing about lone voices. Get enough of them together and they can make a difference. But that in itself has its own perils, especially where trust is a big issue and there is so much manipulation going on that, well, is anyone who they say they are? 
It's an action packed, very well plotted story that delivers shock after shock all the way through as the book crescendos to its conclusion with the aforementioned manipulation being key to what eventually happens. Characterisation is tricky to go into detail with for fear of spoilers but all of the main characters are well described and played their parts very well along the way. 
Looking into the author, I can't find anything else they have written so I am going to assume it's a debut book. That makes me all the more impressed with what I read. There looks to be another book to be published later this year and I'm going to be on the hunt for that as soon as it's available. My thanks go to the Publisher and Netgalley for the chance to read this book.
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I’m a huge fan of dystopias (except for the one we seem to be currently living in), so much so I’m even willing to try new unheard of authors, just to check out their take on the genre. IN this case the gamble has definitely paid off. Poster Boy is set in a future so near, it’s essentially in the newspapers. With one minor expection of advanced technology, it’s all too close for comfort. It’s a British dystopia, but the undercurrents and themes are widely international. The new England is the world where overreactions got manipulated to push the public toward a distinctly racist xenophobic way of life, masterminded by thoroughly evil moneyed ambition and puppeteered by a vile demagogue, Cole. Lincolns are a nice middle class family that gets entangled with the powers that be when their son purely by chance (as in purely by chance, he falls into the traffic while high) saves the prime minister’s life. Immediately this gets spun into a story of a heroic deed (making him the eponymous poster boy for a regime he despised) and entire thing perpetuates a lie too immense for the boy’s twin sister to live with. The book is essentially her story, although the narrative is spliced with Theresa’s, a slick behind the scenes operator/double agent, so eager to bring on the change, she’s completely unscrupulous about the means she utilizes to that end. In a way Theresa’s character is fascinating precisely because she has essentially allowed herself to become a terrible person without once even pausing to consider this, because she believes she’s doing the right thing. Which in a way makes her all too much like Cole, the man she is trying to destroy. Theresa’s character definitely raises a lot of ethical and moral questions about how far one can let their ideas and ambition take them without becoming the thing they hate the most. But no soul gazing there. Theresa is on a mission and she will manipulate anyone who might be of use, including a young innocent person. So it isn’t just a dystopia (although it definitely is and a bleakly striking and terrifying one at that), there are some fascinating meditations on the nature of good and evil in the face of adversity. More evil, in fact. Those uncompromised by the new sociopolitical climate are few and far in between. And the events, the parallels are frighteningly realistic. It’s a nightmarish show of possibilities that reads like something straight out of the newspapers, but is fictionalized for the readers’ peace of mind, however temporary that might be. The ending alone…well, it’s a doozy. Sad, somber, brutal, devastating, poignant…this is certainly a potent brew of a novel, especially so for a debut. Very good work of dystopian fiction. Recommended. Thanks Netgalley.
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A very interesting read. Nothing like I’ve ever read before. A frighteningly real story. This is a little different from my usual reads as it’s set in the future. However, the writing was so well done. Really enjoyable and slightly terrifying read
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