The Boy Lost in the Maze

Joseph Coelho

Otter-Barry Books (13+) 9781913074333 (Hardback)

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Three storylines run simultaneously in this extraordinary novel. Theo is studying for his A-levels and trying to find his father.  Theseus is the central character in an essay Theo is working upon and the Minotaur also wants to know his father.  The story is labyrinthine with false paths and doubling backs.  It concludes in a way that is at once beautiful and emotionally satisfying.  A rites of passage novel told through poems about becoming a man and discovering what manhood is and can be. 

Timeless themes help to create a truly immersive experience, inviting reflection and rereading.  Outstanding poetic verse is expertly crafted and the language is at once simple and easy to follow, yet unflinchingly powerful and high impact. Reality and myth converge to create a unique and fresh perspective on Greek mythology. We witness the betrayals and frustrations that characters experience as they seek to fulfil their ambitions.  Engaging and interactive as well as accessible and playful, there’s a profound questioning of masculinity and femininity and the importance of fathers as role models as we grow up and come of age. Ancient myths uncover truths about modern themes and preoccupations.

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Joseph Coelho

Joseph Coelho is a multi-award winning children’s author and poet. He writes across several mediums for children including stage plays, picture books, non-fiction and middle grade. He wrote and presented Teach Poetry – a 10-part BBC online series that aims to make the writing of poetry fun and accessible to all. Overheard in a Tower Block and The Girl Who Became A Tree, published by Otter-Barry Books, are both illustrated by Kate Milner.

Shadowers' reviews and artwork

This book was quite difficult for me to understand but when you continue reading the book, you'll find the similarities between the two characters. I really admire how the author switches between the characters to portray how they on the same journey to find their fathers' and how they want to prove themselves to their dads when they finally reunite again.


Macaulay Book Club

This book was one of my favourites and the way the author linked the story of Theusus trying to find his father and Theo saving money, knocking on doors to find his father was very smart. I liked how Joseph Coelho reinvented the labours. I really liked this book.

James W-B


This book was different from any other books I’ve read

moeez a


I didn't really enjoy this book. It was hard to follow along and i lost who or which part i was on lots. If i read it again, i might like it more

Sammy P


The Boy Lost in the Maze was overall an enjoyable read, with the options to choose your path. Coelho created a brilliant book, comparing the lives of a modern boy to one of myths, both searching for their fathers. However, there could be a few more places to choose your path, but I found no other flaws. I like how there were characters with the same name both in Theseus' and Theo's story, e.g. Sciron the Lawyer and Sciron the Bandit. The way the Theo's and Theseus' story is interspersed with the Minotaur's story was also good, along with the Minotaur's story being from his own perspective, with his emotions and how he feels about being imprisoned, as that is often overlooked.



I enjoyed this book. I felt that the two stories had a good pace and the similarities between them were really well woven into the story. I found the options where you had to choose what path to take a little unusual as I hadn't expected it when I started reading but once I had gotused to it I felt this added another layer of depth and immersion to the book. The fact that it was written in verses took time getting used to but during the book I found it to be used in many different ways which enriched the experience.

Benjamin R.


The Boy Lost in the Maze shows us how Theo the Minotaur and Theseus have grown up with an absent father. We see how similar Theo and Theseus are and how he feels connected to the Greek myth. This book also explores a strong sense of masculinity and femininity and how important it is to have role models and people to look up to. I also love the way you can choose your own path. I love the illustrations and how they are in synergy with the text. The overall effort put into this book is amazing. I give this book a 9/10


Rebel Readers

The book is awesome, it perfectly combines the life of a modern boy and the life in a myth and compares it. But I found myself looped in a circle for quite some time as i had forgotten what path i chose. It also shows the brave and unbroken will of a boy trying to find his father.



The Boy Lost in the Maze by Joseph Coelho is a story told in poems. It has three different stories in it that resemble each other. Theo is a sixth former who is searching for his dad, Theseus is on a journey and meets many unusual creatures so he can meet his father and the Minotaur is neglected by his family and is longing to be accepted by them. All three go on a journey to find their fathers but also find themselves. They all face many challenges but end up with what they always wanted; a relationship with their father and in the Minotaur’s case to be free. I really enjoyed this book and it was so good. I’d never read a book written in poems before this but now I’ve read this one I want to read more like it. I really enjoyed the interactive aspect of it where you got to pick what happened next even if there was only one possible ending. I found that in the first half of the book I preferred reading about Theo however I preferred reading about Theseus in the second half. I really enjoyed this book I loved it so much and would 100% recommend it. I knew that this book would be good however it completely defied my expectations. I would give this book five stars and would encourage everyone to read it.



The Boy Lost in the Maze is an interesting combination of reality and myth. Theo and Theseus are both searching for a father that could make their life complete. However, they start to realise that it is more complicated than they ever thought. I enjoyed that throughout the book each chapter changed between Theo and Theseus. I think this shows that stories of the past can really link and guide you through reality. Additionally, I enjoyed that at certain points you were allowed to choose how Theo would continue to find his father. As a result, I think this helped me engage in the story better. The only thing I disliked about this book was that it was written in verse. I think this made it more difficult for me to engage and concentrate on the plot and storyline. Overall, this book should be recommended to readers aged 12+ who enjoy myths and history.


The Fitzharrys Shadows

I really liked this book; I loved how the book was written in verse which emphasised the storyline across the short poems.


TBGS Readers

"The Boy Lost in the Maze" was a masterpiece from an author who holds the prestigious position of UK's Children Laureate. The stories of Theseus and Theo finding masculinity go together like Nutella and bread: when you taste it it's- simply sweet. Joseph Coelho also invented interactive reading- giving choices about what the reader thinks Theo/Theseus should do next. He also gives a new variation on the Theseus and the Minotaur story, making it very heartwarming. The book makes me conclude that we need people like the protagonist, who searches top and bottom for his father, finding masculinity.


CRGS Book Society

This book was a really beautiful and creative way of representing the story and I found it so unique! This book was from two different POVs: Theseus and Theo. They both have many similarities and this book presents how they are in search of their father and how they deal with their lives. The parallels were really satisfying to read and the Minotaur was mentioned as well. This was really surprising because the Minotaur is usually considered the villain but in this book he was presented as a person who was truly just like Theo and Theseus from the inside. The ending was perfect, bringing all three of the characters together. If I were to rate this book, I would give it a 9.5/10. I would definitely recommend this book to another person, especially since the poetry makes it more easier to read. However, because it's poetry I would recommend this to an older audience probably around 11 years old because the lines have a deeper meaning than what they actually are. Overall, this was a book which was created carefully and I loved how everything worked out in the end!


Plashet School

I really really enjoyed this book which explored the concept of masculinity throughout time in myth and the modern day and particularly liked the use of verse to communicate so vividly. I would definitely recommend this thought-provoking and beautiful book!


St Kaths

I like The Boy Lost in the Maze in the way it was written from the two perspectives of Theo and The Minotaur and Theseus and how Theo relates to the Greek myth. It includes lots of metaphors of how Theo relates to the myth. This book is a verse novel and the different types of poems are a really good idea. I also liked how in parts of the story you could choose what the characters did which made the book feel more personal. Sometimes the myth part of the story was harder to understand with the language and I got a bit confused between whose story it was talking about at times. Overall I enjoyed The Boy Lost in the Maze and it was a very interesting book.


Brooke Weston Book Busters

The structure of the book was really interesting and unique, something I personally haven't read before but I enjoyed it. I like how Theo explores his own way of writing, which creates an interesting mix of narrative poems, both free verse and using rhyming structures. The character development was interesting as well as the plot line, the intertwining two stories, one of which was very familiar to me but was told in a different light.


Kingdown 24

Never have I seen a book with such an interesting layout, that at times made it difficult to follow, but made the book feel like a story being told from person to person. I loved how the stories mingled the further I read.


Kingdown 24

The book was well writen and was a quick read, however, at times it was confusing, especially as it switched between ancient Greek myth and the modern day. Despite this, it was a great story, and had a nice message.



Very captivating and engaging story. The parallels between Theo and Theseus especially, but, also the Minotaur creates an interesting dynamic between the chapters, despite being divided by time they share such a similar tale of desperation in wanting to find their Fathers, which kept me wanting to keep reading. Additionally, the book taking a form similar to a script made the book refreshing to read, also, I found the different paths that sections of the story let you take a captivating aspect of the book that made me feel intertwined in the story. Overall, I thought this was an amazing book, with amazing characterisation and an immensely interesting storyline.


Rebel Readers

An excellent and easy read; as a verse novel it has a format different to any book that I have read before. The story is about two boys searching for their fathers, one a myth, one a real boy. I really felt the emotions coming from the boys and what it’s like to have a missing parental figure in their life. As a young person it hit home the possibilities of life and how the options you choose matter. I personally don’t know a lot about Greek mythology but if you knew more about it then the book will be even better. Overall it’s a brilliant book.


Reepham Readers

I really enjoyed reading this book. It is a mythological book with a real-life story running alongside it. It is about a boy who wants to find his father and starts to write about Theseus, the son of a king, who also goes on an adventure through many obstacles to find his father. There is also the minotaur who has a different life completely, he was abandoned and seen as a monster from the moment he was born. As well as this I like the fact that the book was written in three different perspectives, because it allowed me to immerse myself in the book more. There is also an interactive element of making your own choices and choosing your own adventure that makes the book a lot better and more expansive. Overall I think this book will be one of my favourites for quite a while. I would definitely recommend this book.


Brooke Weston Book Busters

The Boy Lost In The Maze was one of my favourite books I have read in a long time. It showed the comparison between Theseus and Theo perfectly and the "choose your own path" aspect of the book made reading it so much more engaging. Theo is such a detailed character that many can relate to and I am sure makes many young boys without fathers feel so much more seen. Joseph Coelho did an amazing job and I wouldn't be surprised if this book won the Carnegie prize. 5 stars!


Fiction Addiction

I am a massive Greek Myth nerd, so was very excited when I saw something like this was shortlisted. I'm also a sucker for a verse novel. The poems in it were good, and the illustrations were great too, but the dual perspective and the random, "choose your own adventure" was very unnecessary. Was a very quick read, but a little confusing at times. 7/10



I really liked this book. I found it clever the way the author linked in Theo's story to Theseus's, and that Theo was on a search for his father, like Theseus. I would recommend this book for people aged 13 and above, as there was a bit of mild swearing, and I would rate this book 9/10.


TBGS Readers

a great fusion of story new and old alike and I appreciate what the author did to change the story a bit. Great book, would recommend it.


TBGS Readers

I love novels in verse but was reluctant to read this one as I do not really like mythology. I understood the premise of the story, a son seeking his father but I found the language, in parts, just didn't make sense. I also did not get any sense of toxic masculinity, which I understand from the author, was an underlying theme. Not an unpleasant read but I think most children would need to be taught the text.


Broadland Bookworms

I liked the book, but it was a bit confusing at the start, with the two characters and flitting between them. It was a very nice story with a really nice message about two boys trying to find their respective fathers. I really liked the message and it was a very good book overall.



I loved the brilliant creativity that had been poured into the writing of this book. Firstly, the whole book is written in free verse, which I think adds an extra level of depth and character to the story. The story is really interesting, as it actually follows two boys' stories at the same time. The amount of effort required to seamlessly merge and tell two stories, would have been monumental, but - as demonstrated here - if it's done right, it can read superbly. I especially think the societal stereotypes placed on young men is definitely a key point in the telling of two boys, both of which have had these burdens of meeting society's expectations on masculinity placed on their shoulders, even if they lived centuries apart. The actual storyline is excellent, where at the start of the book, you know you are reading two obviously different stories, but as you read on, the boys' adventures to seek out this manhood, slowly merge together - where in some chapters, it seems as if they both say and feel the same thing at the same time, even in their enormously different scenarios. What I also enjoyed about the book was the level of abstractness in Theo's thoughts, so much so sometimes, that at some points, the world is being narrated much like his Greek Mythology's counterpart; only for him to wake up - dazed - back to the real world. However, one thing I very much disliked about the book was the 'choose your adventure' element. This felt like an unnecessary add-on that, although builds suspense, felt like it was squeezed in. I found myself simply reading all the scenarios, rather than 'choosing'. Overall, though, I'm quite pleased with this book, although at times, the poetry got a little confusing, it generally followed the lives of the two boys very well!



I found this a great story! I loved the poem verses and it was very compelling. I liked how it switched back from Theo to Theseus and helped tell the story better, showing how similar the two were, instead of just telling Theo's story. my favourite part was how at certain points in the book you got to choose what happened. I also loved the drawings and overall thought it was a great book. I give it a 9 out of 10!

Elliott H


I found this book a bit weird, especially the artwork and the fact that it had parts in which you kind of chose the story although i understood the message of looking for a father



The boy lost in the maze was a great book tackling the struggles of having an absent father and the lengths and challenges a son will go through to find them. Coelho mixes Greek mythology into the story seamlessly, whilst at the same time bending and shaping it to fit reality. I would recommend to lovers of both mythology and drama. But also anyone who appreciates a good story.


MTS Northwood

A wonderful book that blends the story of Theseus and the Minotaur with the struggles of black boy struggling and missing his dad who left when he was young. An intriguing and lovely book I would definitely recommend! 5 stars from me


Macaulay Book Club

The Boy Lost in the Maze is a wonderful story all written in free verse. There are three storylines running throughout the book. First, we have Theo, a teenage boy who is searching for his father. At school he is working on a project about Theseus, and through this we follow the story of Theseus and his search for his own father. We also read about Minotaur who is searching for a sense of identity. The book is a brilliant and original way of retelling one of the most famous Greek myths. Very different to the usual books we offer and can be a little confusing at times but worth a read.

Mrs McA

Killy Krew

A great book, it was interesting in the way it showed the two stories. I enjoyed how it let the reader pick the story, which made me more immersed in the story. I think it could be better, but a decent book nevertheless. I would recommend it if you have read the original myth, as it put a spin on the old story while adding a modern aspect.

Jairaj J


The boy lost in the maze is a really god book for readers. It follows the tale of Theseus and his quest to see his father. While I’m the present day Theo is living the same story. I love this book and the fact it is written in a poem make is it 100% better as a read.



i found this book quite interesting.it was about a boy who never met his father and has to go through a maze where he finally meets the minatour.every chapter/story is about how a boy becomes a man and enters man hood



The Boy Lost in the Maze by Joseph Coelho is a gripping adventure that kept me hooked from start to finish! The story follows a brave boy who gets lost in a mysterious maze filled with twists and turns. Coelho's writing is super immersive, making me feel like I was right there solving puzzles and facing dangers. I loved the suspense and the unexpected twists that kept me guessing. It's a thrilling read with a heart-warming message about courage and friendship. If you're into action-packed mysteries, this book is definitely a must-read!


Fiction Addiction

I quite enjoyed this book and how it compared Theo's and Theseus' story. But I also liked how Theo is also like the Minotaur abandoned by their father.

hasan i


This book was a bit confusing and interesting. It mentioned two characters called Theo and Theseus. It has some myths and I would recommend it to year 8 and 9 because it has lots of high vocab.


FPHS Reading Crew

This book was interesting but also a bit confusing at first because it has 2 stories in one book this book also has a mix of myths and worries. I enjoyed reading this with a friend and I think Theo and Theseus are great characters that are full of many emotions .


FPHS Reading Crew

This book is about a kid called Theo reading a myth about a kid called Theseus, who, same as Theo, has had his father taken out of his life. I like to see how Theo got the idea to go on an adventure to find his father from reading the myth. It’s an original idea and I’ve not read much like it before. What I don't like about this book is that when I saw it on the shelf I thought that it was a long book but when I read it I found out it was a poem book and the reason I don't like poem books is because the book is really short and confusing. I tend to not understand them as well as I would with a normal book. For this reason i have to give this book a 7/10



This book was quite strange at first but as I read more I started to understand what it was about. The multiple choices you could pick and the different paths you could take was very nice. Theo finally getting to meet his dad at the end was very heart-warming. I would recommend this to 12-15 year olds and rate it a 7/10.



I loved this book! It is so unique, and uses poetry to tell the story, and even has places to choose what the character should do! It follows the story of Theseus, with some hidden twists and changes, but I don't want to spoil too much! It also follows Theo, who is searching for his father, and relates his story to that of Theseus. If you did last years Carnegie and enjoyed Medusa, I greatly recommend this book to you!

Edward Lawton


I found this book very interesting because it followed the journey of 2 boys who were looking for their fathers. One of the boys (Theo) was a modern day boy but there was also a second boy (Theseus) who was in the past. Interestingly, when following Theseus on his journey he wanted to make his father proud but instead of making Theseus kill them mercilessly he treated them fairly. What made this book unique was that most of it was written in poems and it had points in the story where you could decide what the character does next. Furthermore, it also follows the minotaur throughout his childhood and shows us that it wasn't a monster so when Theseus arrives to kill it he saves it. I would rate this book a 8/10. I think it could be better if it added in more crossroads where you could choose what happens next.

Ben P


A fantastic read. I was really engrossed in it the entire time and was sad to put it down when I finished it. It is an incredibly gripping story intensified by the incredible poems throughout. The places in the book when it asks you to pick which page to go to based off of your morals and decision making really grips the reader and engages them in the inner workings of the story. An overall incredible book.

Sam S


I really liked the crossover of the three tales and the parallels as they struggle to find their father. The poetic style works really well with this book as it uses it to mirror the 3 tales. I thought it was deeply moving and liked the addition of the choose your own path.



This book was so confusing and I gave up after a few chapters, to be honest. I think Tyger should have replaced this one in the shortlist. I give this book 1 star rating because it was so confusing for me and my group leader thought the same if you're into Greek Mythology, this book might be good for you. This book is written in poem style


The Reading Queens

I found this book so very jumbled up. It just was not for me at all. I like the style of the verse, but the actual story, I found a dull. The characters could/should have been developed so much more. The writer assumes the reader knows about Greek myths and legends, but this is a children's book and they are unlikely to know about the mythology. For me, it isn't this years winner.

Mrs Allsopp

The Reading Queens

Although it was a poetry book it was ok. The adaptation of Theseus’s story was a bit weird but I liked the choice paths throughout the book and I ended up reading all the different paths anyway which was interesting.