A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
No Place will certainly inspire teens to think about economics, homelessness, and poverty in America. The book presents facts and questions to spark some critical thinking.
There are no easy answers presented here, but by creating a likable character, the author helps readers realize that homelessness can happen to anyone. The story also helps readers think through how complicated it can be to try to escape poverty. For example, Dan's dad has trouble finding work because he's depressed.
Positive Role Models
Dan matures through his experience as a homeless teen, learning to think about how his family's situation relates to the larger economy. He also learns to accept generosity -- and to apologize when he's wrong.
Violence & Scariness
A brutal beating puts a man in a coma. A homeless camp is destroyed. Dan grabs a boy in the hallway out of anger. Dan's young cousins beat up another boy.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Dan's friends take him to a Hooters to cheer him up. Dan admits that he started dating his girlfriend because "she was a hot, popular chick." Some kisses.
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A few uses of "son of a bitch," "bastard," and the like.
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Products & Purchases
Some brands such as Starbucks, 7-Eleven, Red Bull, Coke, Hooters, Land Rover, BMW, iPad, and Subway.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A gang member who gives Dan some valuable information is described as smelling like alcohol and cigarettes. Dan's dad drinks beer, and his uncle drinks a big glass of whiskey.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that No Place tells the story of a middle-class teen who becomes homeless. It's sure to make teens think about economics, homelessness, and poverty in America. Some gritty, violent scenes include a description of a brutal beating that puts the victim in a coma. Sexual content is limited to a few kisses; protagonist Dan admits that his and his girlfriend's mutual attraction is based on their looks. He also visits a Hooters with his friends to cheer up. Some adults drink.
Is It Any Good?
NO PLACE will wake readers up to the realities of poverty and homelessness -- and provide some insight into the way the American economy works. Teens will learn about these serious subjects through Dan's story, as well as through facts and questions peppered into the story line. For example, Dan's government and politics teacher asks, "Is it right to round up all the homeless and put them in one place?"
Readers may be less enthralled by the conspiracy Dan uncovers about a powerful man's plan to destroy Dignityville. This part of the book feels contrived and adds an unnecessary layer to Dan's story. Even so, there's plenty to think about in this timely tale; parents and teachers might use No Place to encourage their teens to think about our interconnected economy and the best way to help families escape poverty.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.