Noah Barleywater Runs Away - John Boyne

Title: Noah Barleywater Runs Away

Author: John Boyne

Publisher: David Fickling Books (Random House)

Release Date: 2010

Category: Young Adult

Source: From the publisher

Hardback: 222 pages

Summary from Amazon:
In Noah Barleywater Runs Away, bestselling author John Boyne explores the world of childhood and the adventures that we can all have there. Noah is running away from his problems, or at least that's what he thinks, the day he takes the untrodden path through the forest. When he comes across a very unusual toyshop and meets the even more unusual toymaker he's not sure what to expect. But the toymaker has a story to tell, a story full of adventure, and wonder and broken promises. And Noah travels with him on a journey that will change his life for ever. A thought-provoking fable for our modern world from the author of the bestselling and critically acclaimed Boy in the Striped Pyjamas.


Noah Barleywater Runs Away is simply magical. The reader follows the lovely little boy Noah, who runs away from his home one morning because of his problems. He travels through various villages and meets many a strange character. He witnesses some events, he listens to others' tales and he also learns, mostly about himself.
At one point, he enters an extraordinary toy shop and meets an even more extraordinary person there.

Noah Barleywater Runs Away is one of those books which stands halfway between a philosophical tale and an adventure book for both younger and older readers. As an initiatory journey, the main character leaves everything behind and is ready to live the most wonderful adventures. 

Beautiful and inspired, the writing takes you away while you are reading; and when you are done, you come back to this world deeply moved by the story and by its meaning. The power of one's choices. I am afraid to spoil the beauty and the originality of the story by saying too much. There is an absolutely wonderful twist at the end, which will make the older readers very nostalgic and the younger readers curious.

There are many ideas present in the book; they are very intense and brilliantly woven in the plot. The book feels just like a tale with a moral of its own. I am sure the book will resonate differently for each of its readers but I felt it brought out the importance of one's origins and the fragility of life. Life is already very hard and short as it is, spending all the time you can with the ones you love is the best you can do!

There are also some illustrations between the chapters which are funny and sweet at the same time. This book will definitely appeal to younger readers but will also bring so many memories to older readers that they definitely shouldn't miss it! 

Check out the gorgeous trailer:

Many many thanks to Random House Children's Books for giving me this book!


  1. This sounds really lovely, I can't wait to read it. I saw it in the library and made a mad dash for it. Other people stared. Sounds like it'll be worth it :)

  2. I love Noah Barleywater SO much. I cried epic amounts. I hadn't seen the book trailer before either - it is lovely :). Great review!x

  3. I came across to say thanks for your comment on my post at Fluttering Butterflies - and saw that you're also doing NaNo this month. I hope it's going well for you :)

    And thanks for the review of this book, I hadn't heard of it but it sounds sweet.

  4. I hadn't heard of this book before but you make it sound so wonderful that I'm definitely going to check it out :)