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Boys In Exile
BOYS IN EXILE is the story of ten pre-adolescent boys housed together for eight weeks in Timber Wolf cabin at Camp Hemlock to “make new friends and learn life-long social skills.” Physically weak and slight in stature, Elliott “Squeaker” Streett brings to camp his fear of bullies and his lack of confidence in his ability to protect himself from harm. Elliott's efforts to win the approval of the toughest boy in Wolf Cabin only result in humiliation and betrayal, until the erosion of his moral compass contributes to a tragedy for the one boy whose friendship and moral strength he had come to admire.

Finalist

Plot/Idea: 10 out of 10
Originality: 10 out of 10
Prose: 10 out of 10
Character/Execution: 10 out of 10
Overall: 10.00 out of 10

Assessment:

Plot/Idea: This is an epic coming-of-age treat that evokes the broken innocence of childhood while illuminating the push and pull of adolescence, embedded in the backdrop of post-World War II America. Duggin sets a flawless stage, rich with hidden meaning and humming with tension, and brings his story full-circle to a powerful ending. 

Prose: Duggin is a masterful storyteller, and his profound metaphors cast light on the novel’s deeper themes while stirring up nostalgia and a haunting wistfulness. Readers will be swept into Duggin’s dynamic renderings and find themselves lost in reflection throughout the book.

Originality: Boys In Exile is an explosive story of inner turmoil and finding one’s place in the world. The scenes will weigh heavily with readers and consume them long after the book is finished. 

Character Development/Execution: Duggin’s characters are richly developed, with subtle intimations of emotional conflict that resonate across the pages. The protagonists are given equal footing in their own distinctive ways and feed off of each other with perfect rhythm and balance, lending them a meditative and almost mournful quality as they navigate forced maturity from childhood.

Blurb: A haunting coming-of-age journey through the volatility of adolescence, overflowing with intensity and subtle power.

Date Submitted: August 11, 2022

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