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Publisher's Summary

Sydney Taylor Book Award Winner

A boy who has spent his life living inside a shell discovers the importance of taking chance in this "winner" (Booklist, starred review) of a friendship story that's perfect for fans of Wonder.

Seventh grade is not going well for Will Levine. Kids at school bully him because of his funny-looking chin. And for his bar mitzvah community service project, he's forced to go to the hospital to visit RJ, an older boy struggling with an incurable disease. 

At first, the boys don't get along, but then RJ shares his bucket list with Will. Among the things he wants to do: ride a roller coaster; go to a school dance; swim in the ocean. To Will, happiness is hanging out in his room, alone, preferably with the turtles he collects. But as RJ's disease worsens, Will realizes he needs to tackle the bucket list on his new friend's behalf before it's too late. It seems like an impossible mission, way outside Will's comfort zone. But as he completes each task with RJ's guidance, Will learns that life is too short to live in a shell.

"Everyone deserves a friend like Will Levine." (Lynne Kelly, author of Song for a Whale)

©2020 M. Evan Wolkenstein (P)2020 Listening Library

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What listeners say about Turtle Boy

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Loved the audio

This is my second time experiencing Turtle Boy. Initially I read the book and absolutely loved following Will’s journey to himself. I often don’t enjoy authors reading their own work, but I have to say in this case, the narration almost equaled the writing. I highly recommend this audiobook. Five stars for absolute sure.

3 people found this helpful

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Narrated by the author—beautifully done!

This #ownvoices audiobook is even more meaningful because the performance was done by the author, Evan Wolkenstein. It's rare that I will read a book, and then listen to the audiobook but I heard incredible things about his performance that I decided to buy this through Audible. I loved how the characters came alive! I felt for the MC, Will, and found his relationship with his mom and the rabbi deeply moving. I'm an audiobook addict - I have high standards for performances, and this definitely met those standards.

About the audiobook:

Will is called Turtle Boy by bullies at school—he has a condition called micrognathia with aplasia of the mandibular condyles. It's a condition where the chin continues to shrink during puberty and Will needs surgery to repair it. This is only one focus of the novel.

TURTLE BOY is rich with many powerful topics: the environment and saving a marsh that developers want to destroy, grief, friendship, body image. Will's relationship with his rabbi is really special, and it shapes his perception of self and perception of others. It's through this relationship that Will gets to know RJ, a dying boy with mitochondrial disease, affecting 1 in 5,000. There novel is filled with love and compassion. It's filled with a powerful message of self-acceptance and what it means to be a true friend.

Highly recommend!

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Great story

Great story. I cried . I laughed.
Very inspiring. I recommend this read to anyone.

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Wow

This book is amazing!!! I think it’s so cool that RJ and Will both have diseases and they become best friends! It’s such a great story, like when you listen to it at night (that’s what I do) it’s sometimes very calm! Not always, but if you skip to the higher chapters it’s a bit calm for sleeping. 5 stars!!!! I love this book so much, I went to the library and checked it out so I could read along with it! Alright, I’m gonna stop typing now cause I gotta go to bed. Bye!!!!! 😊