Of a Boy (What The Birds See in the UK and US) is a 2002 novel by Sonya Hartnett about a lonely and troubled youth. The omnipresent narrator follows the plight of Adrian, a 9 year old child, who was taken away from his mother as she was "unfit to care for him". Adrian spends his days thinking of things that unsettle him such as sea monsters and growing purple hair. One of the things that most disturb him is the fact that three children, surnamed Metford, disappear from a neighborhood near his around the beginning of the book.
Shortly after the disappearance of the Metford children, a twelve-year-old girl called Nicole moves in across the street from Adrian. She has no friends and doesn't attend school, but she mystifies Adrian and he soon becomes obsessed with her as he loses his only friend Clinton. The novel ends tragically with Adrian and Nicole falling beneath a pool cover (while trying to find the abducted children) in winter and being unable to break through to the air. The story ends with Adrian's grandmother believing him to be abducted, just as the Metford children.