John Boyne The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

Last updated date: June 26, 2019

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We looked at the top 1 Fiction Books and dug through the reviews from 9 of the most popular review sites including Book Page, The Guardian, Kid's Book Review, Teen Reads, DOGO Books, Book Review Circle, Tinker Earth, Charlie Morris Proofreading, Melissa Lenhardt and more. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Fiction Book you should buy.

Overall Take

In our analysis of 96 expert reviews, the John Boyne John Boyne The Boy in the Striped Pajamas placed 10th when we looked at the top 10 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

Editor's Note July 16, 2019:
Checkout The Best Fiction Book for a detailed review of all the top fiction books.

Expert Summarized Score
9 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
2,025 user reviews
Our Favorite Video Reviews
What experts liked
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is an unusual story, one of the most difficult and disturbing a teen will ever read. By focusing on Bruno's innocent and puzzled view of his father's job, Boyne offers a previously unseen perspective on the everyday Germans who took part in the Nazis' ultimate solution.
- Book Page
I would recommend this amazing book to anyone over the age of eleven, due to its stunning plot and the way that John Boyne has kept the reader hooked into the book.
- The Guardian
A fictional story set during the Holocaust, The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas is both heart-warming and heartbreaking. Boyne sheds light on the faults of an adult world from the perspective of a young boy, whose innocence and naivety teach us so much about human behaviour.
- Kid's Book Review
April 7, 2010 | Full review
THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PAJAMAS is a bundle of fascinating conjectures, questions and contradictions, many of which beg to be examined and will surely ignite any number of heated conversations about the nature of reality, perspective, prejudice and more.
- Teen Reads
This book, filled with action, mystery, and tragedy, is a must read for all teenagers. Its subtle references to our history make it suspenseful and interesting, allowing you to write your own version of the story.
- Book Review Circle
A few days later, it arrived and I started reading it full of excitement. And you could tell, because from 9:30 in the morning to 6 in the evening, I read and read and read and so on and so forth! All in all, I loved this book. I loved the story. I loved the characters. It makes me never, ever want to grow up.
- Tinker Earth
January 3, 2018 | Full review
Boyne’s novel is a distinctive and inspiring story. Told from the perspective of an eight-year-old boy, and centring around one of the biggest and brutal events in our history, The Boy In The Striped Pyjamashandles its subject matter bravely and uniquely, but it does open up some contextual flaws.
- Charlie Morris Proofreading
What experts didn't like
It should be noted, however, that the book has garnered criticism from some who argue that the boy's viewpoint trivializes this tragic era.
- Book Page
Given this fairly strong sentiment, Boyne has written a definitive novel about this much-explored subject, but his approach is one that might be considered controversial, and rightfully so. A book billed as a "fable" about the Holocaust --- especially one narrated by the son of a prominent Nazi leader --- is bound to ruffle a few readers' feathers, especially those of the older generations.
- Teen Reads
I will say though, the ending is very, very upsetting and saddening. Some younger kids may find it disturbing. I would recommend kids over 10 years old to read it because in some parts they might find it too sad.
- Tinker Earth
January 3, 2018 | Full review
Whilst the story is incredibly impressive, I did find the writing somewhat frustrating. I found it constantly repetitive, referring to insignificant points that had already been mentioned to distract away from the seriousness of the main events of the story, making me want to skip through whole paragraphs to see some progression.
- Charlie Morris Proofreading
There is a major flaw at the center of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas: the main character is not believable. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (★★) is a dumbed down version of the Holocaust, masquerading as a YA book.
- Melissa Lenhardt

From The Manufacturer

John Boyne was born in Ireland in 1971 and studied at Trinity College, Dublin, and the University of East Anglia, Norwich. His novels have been published in over forty languages, and his books for young readers include Noah Barleywater Runs Away and The Terrible Thing That Happened to Barnaby Brocket. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas won two Irish Book Awards, topped the New York Times bestseller list, and was adapted into a Miramax feature film. He lives in Dublin. To learn more, visit

Overall Product Rankings

1. R.J. Palacio Wonder
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2. Marc Sullivan Beneath a Scarlet Sky
Overall Score: 9.6
Expert Reviews: 10
3. Alfred A. Knopf The Book Thief
Overall Score: 9.4
Expert Reviews: 11
4. Delia Owens Where the Crawdads Sing
Overall Score: 9.3
Expert Reviews: 9
5. Kristin Hannah The Great Alone
Overall Score: 9.3
Expert Reviews: 13
6. Lauren K. Denton The Hideaway
Overall Score: 9.2
Expert Reviews: 10
7. Rick Riordan Percy Jackson And The Olympians
Overall Score: 9.2
Expert Reviews: 3
8. Leslie Wolf Dawn Girl
Overall Score: 8.7
Expert Reviews: 1
9. Georgia Hunter We Were the Lucky Ones
Overall Score: 8.5
Expert Reviews: 11
10. John Boyne The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
Overall Score: 8.0
Expert Reviews: 9

An Overview On Fiction Books

Although choosing a book can be a very personal experience, the best fiction books are loved by many people. There is nothing like a great story to captivate your attention and imagination and keep you wanting to read more. When you start to discover the fiction genres, you will find they all have several main characteristics in common. Outstanding themes, characters and excellent execution make the top fiction books something that everyone can enjoy.

First, if you aren’t familiar with the fiction genre, let’s explore it. The definition of a fiction book is, “literature comprising works of imaginative narration”. This could be in the form of a novel or short story. There are multiple categories of fiction for readers to discover including adventure story, biographical novel, ethnic fiction, gothic, historical fiction, horror, mystery and science fictio,n to name a few. It’s just important to keep in mind that the main characteristic of a fiction book is that it is not a real story, but entirely creatively written.

For those who enjoy a great sci-fi thriller movie or a graphic horror television series, turn your attention to the popular horror fiction or science fiction novels of today. Picture the “Goosebumps” series, “1984” by George Orwell or “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley. These novels are still famous today and attract new readers every year with their science fiction stories and characters. You will surely find excitement in this sub-genre of fiction.

When you want to read a book that keeps you guessing at the answers, a mystery fiction novel is for you. A phenomenal author is John Grisham. Although his angle is legal writing, most of his books have an excellent element of mystery to make the reader unable to put the book down. For a world-renowned author, turn to Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes. James Patterson, Michael Connelly and Agatha Christie are others in this genre. Look for their names among others when you need a good mystery to solve.

Young adult is another subcategory of the fiction genre. These books often capture the attention of teenagers with an adolescent storyline and relatability factor. “Wonder” by R. J. Palacio is a prime example of a top fiction book in the young adult subcategory of the fiction genre. This fiction book became so popular that it inspired a feature film.

If you don’t mind deciphering fact from fiction, a biographical fiction book is what will catch your eye. “In Beneath a Scarlet Sky: A Novel” by Mark Sullivan, the story is based on an actual person but enhanced with made-up events and characters. The sign of a good biographical fiction is not knowing where the truth is and the imagination of the writer. The drama and historical facts should combine in a symbiotic relationship to create an outstanding literary adventure for readers. This was accomplished so well in “Beneath a Scarlet Sky: A Novel” that it also came alive on the television screen. Similar titles in this category include “Unbroken” and “The Nightingale.”

Historical fiction is a well-loved sub-genre of fiction books. These often tell the story of society as it battles strife or prosperity during certain notable time periods. “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak is everything a historical fiction should be, with excellent depictions of Germany during the Nazi Regime and the true struggles of a foster child. “Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens is another historical fiction that is just simply beautiful. It will evoke intense emotions and bring you right back to that rocky time of the late ’60s early ’70s. If you have a favorite part of history, you will surely find a historical fiction novel like these that will really captivate your senses.

There are many more excellent fiction books to discover. These are just a few of the top fiction books, recommended by fellow readers. You won’t regret picking one up as you’ll discover, you’ll not be able to put it down.

DYWM Fun Fact

The very first fiction novel is thought to be the “Tale of Genji” by Murasaki Shikibu. She wrote the 54-chapter novel in the early eleventh century about an aristocrat, Hikaru Genji. Murasaki Shikibu was said to have used her experiences in the imperial court to write the book. It is a masterpiece to the Japanese culture.

“Don Quixote” by Miguel de Cervantes, is at the top of the list of best-selling fiction books of all time. With over 500 million copies sold, this book can be found everywhere. It’s followed by “A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens at 200 million copies sold. “The Lord of the Rings” by J.R.R. Tolkien remains in the third spot, with 150 million copies sold to date. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” appears on the list at number eight with 100 million copies sold. Among the rest on the list are works by Agatha Christie, C.S. Lewis and Dan Brown. These top-sellers are rated in order of copies sold and do not include religious staples, such as the Bible and The Quran.

The Fiction Book Buying Guide

  • One of your greatest resources for finding the top fiction book is recommendations from your closest friends and family. Ask them before you embark on the task of finding a good book to read. Friends especially will hold similar interests as you, so their taste in literature may line up with your own.
  • Before you buy a book, visit your local library to ask a librarian for references. They are a fabulous resource if you are entirely new to the fiction genre.
  • Always read the book summary before blindly buying a fiction book. These summaries tell a whole lot without spoiling the entire story.
  • Find reviews online of fellow readers, so you don’t waste your money on a book that got a mediocre response.
  • When building your personal library with fiction novels, try to vary your collection with different authors and/or sub-genres. This will give you a well-rounded selection of the entire fiction genre.