Sometime between 2012-2015, I read a book about a boy who gave away (or maybe sold) his soul to a mysterious woman. The boy becomes effectively invulnerable and/or immortal, and I remember he goes on a diving trip and is attacked by a shark but is unaffected by the biting. After realizing he's incomplete without his soul, and with the encouragement of a friend, he goes to get his soul back, but it proves more difficult than giving it away was. I don't remember exactly what the boy and his friend had to go through to get his soul back, but I think they had to go to a different place than the boy went to when giving away his soul in the first place, either because the woman wasn't in the original place or because the place had ceased to exist. It was a fairly short story as I remember, at the very least shorter than novel length.

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    You say you read it in high school but we don't know when that was, could you edit this to state roughly when it was? Also if there was anything else you remember about the story, who did the woman turn out to be, what happened on the way to getting the soul back etc. you can edit your question to include this.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    May 13, 2020 at 8:19

1 Answer 1


This is The Boy Who Couldn't Die by William Sleator.

When seventeen-year-old Ken's best friend Roger dies in a plane crash, Ken suddenly realizes that he too could die at any moment. Terrified, he seeks out a plump, middle-aged psychic named Cherie Buttercup, who grants him invulnerability from death in exchange for his soul. Eager to test his new powers, Ken talks his family into a vacation in the Caribbean, where he can swim with sharks. There he is entranced with Sabine, a young scuba instructor, and shares his story with her.

When Ken begins to have vivid dreams of secret murders, he and Sabine realize that Cherie Buttercup is using his soul as a zombie to do her will. But the dreams also give clues as to where his soul is hidden--so the pair set out to retrieve it.

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