Oskar hurriedly said: “Maybe you already have a guy at your school.”
“No, I don’t…but Oskar, I can’t. I’m not a girl.”
Oskar snorted. “What do you mean? You’re a guy?”
“Then what are you?”
Oskar doesn’t have much going for him: lonely, unsure of himself, incontinent – especially when he’s under stress, which is all the time now that he’s in middle school and being bullied on a daily basis. He collects newspaper clippings about famous murders, fantasizes about killing his tormentors and being able to do something instead of giving up again and again. So he’s oddly pleased when a ritual murder happens in his small town of Blackeburg. A young boy is strung up and drained of blood, right around the time a beautiful girl his own age moves into the apartment next door. Eli, who’s never seen a Rubik’s cube but solves it after one day. Eli, who looks emaciated and grey-haired one day, healthy the next, who sits outside in the snow-covered playground with no coat and never feels cold. Eli, who only comes out after dark.
I’d seen the movie (the Swedish-language version) based on John Ajvide Lindqvist’s novel years before I read the book. And while I enjoyed the movie very much, I was a little wary about how much the story might have been changed in the transition from book to movie. What I got was something rare: an excellent book, with an adaptation that stays true to the spirit of the original story (in some places the dialog is almost word-for-word), but at the same time there are enough changes to make reading the book and watching the movie two completely different experiences.