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Parents' Guide to

Nowhere Boy

By Joly Herman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Riveting friendship tale set against terror, refugee crisis.

Nowhere Boy Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 12+

Based on 1 parent review

age 12+

Riveting and Heartfelt!

I think that Nowhere Boy is a great story, but needs to be read by 12 year olds and up because there are some devastating parts that only older tweens would understand. It also raises some questions that might not be so appropriate to tell to a 9 year old.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1 ):
Kids say (4 ):

Author Katherine Marsh expertly interweaves urgent political topics and exciting adventure in this compelling story of two very different kinds of immigrants. Max is an American teen whose parents took jobs in Belgium and moved the family there. Ahmed is an utterly helpless teen refugee without a country. They are both grappling with an age-old question: Where do displaced people belong? Together, they courageously stand up for human rights, even if they break the rules. Their friendship is based on need, but their devotion is based on human kindness. The problems in Nowhere Boy are real in the truest sense of the word, as the plight of refugees and immigrants are in the news constantly.

The only flaw in this engrossing story is that the adults are not very relatable. Ahmed's father is an exception, but Max's parents are distant and two-dimensional, and the teachers and other adults have agendas and float about like ghosts. Even real-life, self-involved parents have some characteristics that make them human. Max's parents don't feel real, which steals a little shine from the resolution at the end of the book. Still, Nowhere Boy succeeds by striking important chords of compassion, friendship, and hope in troubled times.

Book Details

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