|“||Why do you think people work hard? Just to get by? You think your folks worked just to get by? Did they buy just enough food? Or did they get just barely enough house? Or a car that barely runs? No, man, people like a good life. They want more. What’s wrong with that?||”|
—Albert to Quinn
Albert Hillsborough is a fourteen-year-old African-American student in charge of food, water, and work in Perdido Beach.
Albert is considered by many to be the most powerful person in the FAYZ. He is a true "businessman" despite his young age, and is clever and powerful. In addition, he is the inventor of the official currency of the FAYZ, 'Bertos, until they start to become worthless in Fear.
Albert's previous fame in the FAYZ was from being the "owner" of the only McDonald's restaurant in the town. He ran the restaurant, giving out the food free of charge, until there were no more supplies, at which point it was renamed to the McClub, and was turned into a place where kids could dance and enjoy themselves. Albert continued to run the club until the power was turned off.
His first idea for a money system for the FAYZ is to use some gold bars he finds in Hermit Jim's Cabin. He melts these into bullets, calling them 'units'. Albert, with help from Howard, renames the currency he invents as the 'Berto. The standard salary in FAYZ as of Lies is about 3-5 'Bertos per day, but some of the people in FAYZ who has got a more important job, like Sam, receive larger sums.
- Physical description
Albert is an African-American boy, described as "owlish", solemn, thin, and smaller than average. He always manages to look smart when other kids wear ragged clothes.
- Before the FAYZ
Albert is mentioned by Howard as one of several African-American students in Perdido Beach, and as always having his nose in a book. It's implied he was a loner, with few friends. He was never a serious student because he didn't think education mattered much.
Albert's mother had a back problem and was forced to use a wheelchair. He was the youngest of six kids, and the cook of the family, alongside his older sister Rowena. This is due to his mother's inability to cook herself.
Albert Hillsborough is first introduced in Gone when he takes over McDonald's and starts cooking food for the kids of Perdido Beach. He is the first to realize the need for kids to work to survive. Researching this in the library, he is attacked by a teleporting cat, which eventually became known as Albert's Cat. This cat teleports around the room, and is eventually killed when it teleports into the encyclopedia Albert uses to defend himself. Later, Albert organizes a giant Thanksgiving feast after The Thanksgiving Battle.
By Hunger, Albert is quickly being recognized as a powerful figure in the FAYZ. He opens the Albert's McClub when the McDonald's runs out of food, letting people dance in return for toilet paper or batteries - both things that will soon be in short supply. He helps Quinn start a fishing business, and Sam directs Howard to Albert to sort out Orc's work. Later in the book, he travels with Quinn, Cookie, and Lana to Hermit Jim's Shack to retrieve the gold to make money. He and Quinn are the first to find out that Lana is missing, and rush back to town to tell Sam.
Albert is now part of the Town Council and one of the most powerful people in the FAYZ. The currency he creates using gold bullets and McDonald's game pieces (called 'Bertos by Howard), becomes the official currency of Perdido Beach and allows kids to earn money for the work they do in the fields as well as spend their pay at the market or for other reasons.
By Plague, he has a full staff including a bodyguard (Jamal), a maid (Leslie-Ann), and the services of several former Human Crew members, including Turk and Lance. Albert controls all of the food and water, and is considered even more powerful than Sam. This position has gained him many enemies, including Turk and Lance. While the town is in chaos due to the plague, Turk and Lance attack him in his home, shooting him in the face and leaving him for dead before they loot his house. Leslie-Ann, hearing about his death, goes to his house to look for food, but instead finds Albert barely alive, covered in his own blood. Howard gets Lana and she saves his life.
At the end of the book, Albert chooses to stay with Caine in Perdido Beach, saying, "Sam is a weak leader." In reality, he is on his own side because he doesn't fully work under Caine's authority or Sam's. He administers the trading of food and water between the lake and Perdido Beach.
When the town begins to fall apart under Caine's rule, Albert takes three of his people to San Francisco de Sales Island, abandoning the residents of the FAYZ to live a life of comfort. He brings with him the missiles that Sam left near the power plant, in case anyone tries to get to the island. He even locks down the food so that nobody without his permission can get the food. During the beginning of the conflicts in Fear, the 'Berto which until now has been the currency in FAYZ, starts to lose its value, and at one point in the book the kids go back to the old trading system where they exchange an item for another item. It is unknown if the 'Bertos totally lose their value, or if they regain their value as the currency.
In Light, Albert is still at the San Francisco de Sales Island with Pug, Leslie-Ann and Alicia. Albert is regretting that he ran away from Perdido Beach, because when the wall goes down, no one will remember him for making the economy in the FAYZ work, everyone will just remember his cowardly escape at the end. He then gets a visit from Quinn, who persuades Albert to return to Perdido Beach in order to restore food production. Albert considers this as an opportunity to also restore his reputation. He returns to Perdido Beach smoking a cigar and puts up signs in front of the barrier, where he says that everyone has to work, and lets the cameramen on the outside take lots of pictures of him. Albert is one of the first to leave the FAYZ, where McDonald's offers to pay for his college education if he lets them interview him in front of the McDonald's in the FAYZ. Albert has a nervous breakdown when the crew wants to remove the Plaza's graveyard, which they think is a fake. He explains to them that the graveyard is not fake and goes on to explain how kids really did die in the FAYZ. After stunning the crew Albert takes a few deep breaths and continues with the interview.
Although Albert and Sam disagreed often, they seemed to get along. Sam was quite genuine towards Albert throughout the book, although he may not have been that genuine back. Sam stopped him from doing many things including taking all the fish Quinn caught to himself, and when he just opened the McClub without permission, Sam had a dispute with him. Sam was reluctant to allow Albert to introduce a currency to the FAYZ as it would mean that some kids would have more than others, when Sam gave Albert permission the system was created and as Sam predicted it did mean that Albert had more resources than the other children in the FAYZ.
Quinn and Albert throughout all the books seemed to be there for each other, whenever necessary. An example of this is when Quinn caught the fish, Albert told him he would try to preserve it as well as sell it. Quinn as well as Albert seemed to be on their own teams for a few times throughout the books, especially when they both disagreed with Sam or Caine about various issues.
Albert puts up with Caine when he declares himself king, because Albert knows he still holds all the cards and because it doesn't cost him anything. He finds Caine's kingly actions both amusing and annoying. Caine, however, sees Albert as a "dirty, money-grabbing" owlish little boy.
It is described in the books that Albert has somewhat of a crush on Alicia. She is originally from the Coates Crew and has drifted around a few other groups as well. Albert describes her as untrustworthy, but very useful. He takes her to San Francisco de Sales Island along with Pug and Leslie-Ann.
- In Light, it is revealed that Albert has started smoking occasionally to "look the part of the arrogant businessman".
- According to Lana, Albert is a hypochondriac.
|“||You’re not the only one walking around with a big load of responsibility on your shoulders, Sam. You play the big mean daddy who won’t let anyone have any fun, and I play the greedy businessman who is just looking out for himself. But don’t be stupid: maybe I am greedy, but without me no one eats. Or drinks. We need water. You see anyone else in this town that’s going to make that happen?||”|
—Albert to Sam
|Sam Temple | Astrid Ellison | Albert Hillsborough | Edilio Escobar | Dekka Talent | Howard Bassem | John Terrafino | Ellen|