The Second Hand Boy

Billy’s anxiety starts to get the better of him when his only pal Marty moves away. Not even his favourite subject, Space, makes him feel better. It is hard enough having to take care of his mum, a ‘sensitive soul’ who often cannot get out of bed, but the loneliness he feels with the stress of regularly being bullied takes its toll.

Billy’s mum gives him one of her favourite books, Tom’s Midnight Garden, as a distraction but the book turns out to be much more than that. Add the dimension of a parallel universe … or is it a ghost? or perhaps a paranoid delusion? and the reader starts to worry, too.

Lane paints a compelling picture of a likeable, smart, kind, responsible boy juggling hard realities of mental health issues, both his own and his mum’s. Billy’s chaotic thoughts and trouble-loving imaginary friend, combined with issues of poverty and food insecurity, are balanced by life in an idyllic, sleepy village where nothing much happens, and neighbours know him well. It is Billy’s emotional journey that is the arc of the story. Lane’s writing adeptly carries Billy from a place of sadness and not fitting in, to finding his voice against a bully, growing his passion in astronomy, and making a new best friend, Lindsay.

A stellar story with a cast of well-drawn characters and a realistic, happy-for-now ending, Lane’s story will have huge appeal for self-aware and insightful middle-grade readers.

Book Cover - The Second Hand Boy
Publication Date
February 2024