Budo is an imaginary friend, one of the oldest of his kind. His person (Max) is not quite normal. We’re never told what’s different about him, but I think he’s probably somewhere on the autism spectrum. The thing with imaginary friends is that their lifespan is not very long. Once the kid grows up enough to realize that they aren’t real, they disappear. But Budo’s been with Max for six years and he doesn’t want to disappear. Most of it is that he loves Max but part of it is that he doesn’t want to die. (This is obviously very understandable.)
One day, though, one of Max’s teachers kidnaps him. Budo is the only one who knows what happened, but how can he save Max if Max is the only one who can see and hear him?
I love the premise behind this story, and the book itself is just as good as the idea behind it. I’ve read that it’s been compared to Room and I can absolutely see that. The stories aren’t that similar (except that both deal with kidnappings) but it has more to do with the fact that each narrator sees the world in a very simple way.
I spent the second half of the novel hoping that Max would be rescued and get to go home to his parents but at the same time kind of afraid that that would happen because it may mean that Budo would have to disappear. (The idea is that imaginary friends disappear once their people are grown up enough not to need them anymore.) And I loved Budo very much.
This is such a unique book and I’m so glad I got the chance to read it. Highly recommended.