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Can an imaginary friend become real? A spell-binding and exciting new novel from Leonie Agnew, author of the award-winning Conrad Cooper's Last Stand.

Can an imaginary friend become real? A spell-binding and exciting new novel from Leonie Agnew, author of the award-winning Conrad Cooper's Last Stand.

Benjamin figures Vincent Gum can do anything.
Which I can.
I’m not possible. Yet here I am.
Ben literally pushed me out of his head and into the world.

Vincent Gum finds six-year-old Benjamin moments after an explosion and leads him through wrecked city streets to the children’s shelter. Vincent isn’t interested in hanging around to babysit, but by the time they arrive he knows that Ben, with his crazy ideas and weird imaginary games, won’t survive ten minutes there without someone to look out for him. For one thing, something sinister lurks in the dormitory cupboard, waiting to get out.

Vincent’s tough and smart. He can walk through walls and make a dead tree flower. But to the rest of the world he’s invisible — non-existent. That’s because, in his moment of need, Ben invented him.

When Ben is befriended by a gang of streetwise orphans, Vincent begins to worry. What will happen to him if Ben decides he no longer needs an imaginary friend? Will he cease to exist?

And without Vincent, what will happen to a boy with an imagination so powerful he can bring his worst nightmare to life?

I don’t have much time. I need to convince everyone I’m real. And I need to do everything soon, before I disappear forever.


The Impossible Boy impressed us hugely with vivid and wonderfully paced writing, and a very strong voice. It grabbed us from the first page and . . . wouldn’t let us go until the very end. Our decision was unanimous that it should be the overall winner.

David Fickling Books (UK), Judges' Report, DFB Master of the Inkpot Competition

The Impossible Boy is a layered, exciting and challenging book . . . Congratulations to Agnew for taking the risk and finding a way to write this book. We all need help to imagine what it would really be like to be a child caught up in a war zone; the photo in the morning paper is not enough. Stories provide the fuel for our imagination and understanding. In these difficult times, we need all the stories we can get.

Eirlys Hunter, New Zealand Books

The Impossible Boy is a staggeringly good novel, multi layered, thought-provoking and ultimately hopeful in spite of an endless war ... an unforgettable book.

Bob Docherty, Manawatu Standard

Leonie Agnew is a Kiwi author with a spectacular imagination who has already amassed a large collection of children's book awards. The writing is taut, descriptive and inventive. This is a big kid's book with a great storyline and some fascinating concepts for the avid young reader - or their parents.

Linda Thompson, Northern Advocate

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Formats & editions

Awards and Recognition

  • David Fickling Books Master of the Inkpot Competition
    Winner of the David Fickling Books Master of the Inkpot Award 2015
  • Storylines Notable Junior Fiction Award
    Notable Book
    Storylines Notable Book

Also by Leonie Agnew

Conrad Cooper's Last Stand


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