Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton

Published June 18, 2018

Paperback, 464 pages


(Thanks to Netgalley & HarperCollins, I received an eARC)


A novel of love, crime, magic, fate and coming of age, set in Brisbane’s violent working class suburban fringe – from one of Australia’s most exciting new writers.

Brisbane, 1983: A lost father, a mute brother, a mum in jail, a heroin dealer for a stepfather and a notorious crime for a babysitter. It’s not as if Eli’s life isn’t complicated enough already. He’s just trying to follow his heart, learning what it takes to be a good man, but life just keeps throwing obstacles in the way – not least of which is Tytus Broz, legendary Brisbane drug dealer.

But if Eli’s life is about to get a whole lot more serious. He’s about to fall in love. And, oh yeah, he has to break into Boggo Road Gaol on Christmas Day, to save his mum.

A story of brotherhood, true love and the most unlikely of friendships, Boy Swallows Universe will be the most heartbreaking, joyous and exhilarating novel you will read all year.


I’m a huge fan of books written in verse, but this one took me the longest time to really get into. I found myself having an extremely hard time connecting with the story itself. It took me multiple times starting and stopping to commit to reading it.

The characters were very endearing and I was so glad I got into it for that reason alone. I found myself very connected to their journey and am so glad I picked this one up.

I will say that maybe the hype surrounding the book made me feel a bit let down and lower the rating from a four to a three star read. Though it could have been the face that I picked it up and put it down multiple times. In the end I’m so glad I committed to this one and feel I got a lot out of it.

Boston Book Reader