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The Dark Side of Nowhere

3.69  ·  Rating Details ·  1,210 Ratings  ·  142 Reviews
Jason is having a bad day. The kind of day when you just don't feel like yourself. Only for Jason, it's not just a feeling. He really isn't himself.

Not any more.

Who is he? That's the problem. Jason isn't sure. And it's not just him. Everyone in town is acting weird. His friends. His parents. Everyone. Billington is usually such a normal town. As Jason is about to discover,
Paperback, 192 pages
Published October 15th 1999 by Tor Books (first published September 1st 1996)
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Rachel Lightwood
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[3.5 Stars] The messages that this novel portrays are incredibly important. It focuses on the dangers of ethnocentrism which is obviously important for people to inform themselves about, and I truly believe this book belongs in the 8th grade classroom. It brings up many points to have serious conversations about morality and our perceptions of what's "right". It also touches on interracial couples briefly and a couple of other smaller things like being careful what you wish for.

However, as an a
Jun 02, 2009 Joseph rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
If I were 13, I would give this book five stars. That's meant to be a compliment, as that is who it is written for. This book would have been the perfect escape for me when I was a teenager: turns out I'm really not who I think I am (and I never thought I was) and I'm not necessarily happy with who I really am (never really was) and that knowledge could be used to impress a girl in the end (I won't divulge all the daydreams I had as a kid, but they almost always ended with my oddities somehow re ...more
Rachel Lightwood
3.5 stars

I’ve been in bad mood of gargantuan proportions lately. Call it stress, call it sheer exhaustion or just general grumpiness - whatever it is isn’t helping my reading mood. I’ve slumped into a small but persistent batch of three star reads. Nothing too bad, but enough that I couldn’t help but feeling irritated. The Dark Side of Nowhere came at the perfect time. I don’t know what I expected from this book, but it looked nice and short and rather deliciously creepy when I picked it up. And
Storm Arashi
Jun 20, 2015 Storm Arashi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Finished it in one night. It was another fantastic read by Neal Shusterman, one that I couldn't put down. It chilled me and made me laugh a little but also made me wonder...

It's not just a spooky tale, or a sci-fi thriller.

A story about humanity.

A great book all in all and great characterization. Amazing descriptions that leave just enough to the imagination and plenty of twists and turns.
Douglas Larson
I did like this book to some degree but I also found it a bit tedious to read. Some reviewers have called the story complex or complicated. While the details of the story are a bit more complex than other books of this type, I wouldn't characterize the overall plot in that way. What I did find complex and, at times a bit difficult to follow, was Shusterman's development of the characters, especially the dialog between characters. Some of the conclusions that the protagonist and other characters ...more
Dustin Bertram
Aug 25, 2016 Dustin Bertram rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A bit weird, but really well done. Mystery/scifi/coming of age novel.

But man Shusterman knows how to write.

Sad to say it, but I was underwhelmed. The basic premise of the book is that a character is living a perfectly normal life (normalcy is a big theme in this book) when he discovers that his life is not what he thought it was.

The plot was interesting, however the story itself was quite disjointed. There was very little character development (I actually ended up feeling quite apathetic toward the main character), dialogue is disjointed, and the story itself was a bit difficult to follow. There are
Dec 16, 2015 Caroline rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mind-candy, 2015
By the "mind candy" tag, I don't mean mind candy for the usual audience (aka me, a fifteen-year-old fantasy & dystopian lover), I mean "mind candy" for sixth graders who like aliens and video games.

The two-star rating, usually given to the lowest of the low, isn't about how horrible the book was. It's about how horribly mediocre was. Sure, there were some exciting action sequences and some good suspense going on, but overall, the plot twists were uninteresting, the worldbuilding unique to Sh
Ea Solinas
Apr 28, 2015 Ea Solinas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Every kid -- and some adults -- has felt that they are somehow different from those around them. Imagine if you actually were.

Such is the situation for Jason Miller and his friends in "The Dark Side of Nowhere," a tense sci-fi novel by Neal Shusterman. As he gradually unrolls the aliens-living-among-us plot, Shusterman also deftly builds up the surreal sense that the everyday world is just a friendly cover for the eerie reality. It's definitely a great read.

To Jason Miller, the town of Billingto
Sofia Mejias-pascoe
The Dark Side of Nowhere, by Neal Shusterman, is a surprising novel about the life of a seemingly ordinary young boy. As the story progresses, he learns that his abstractly normal life is not so normal after all…
The story takes place in a small, unsuspecting town named Billington. Jason Jonathan Miller leads a frustratingly normal and boring life, until of series of strange events starts to occur in his hometown; starting with the death of one of his closest friends. His best friend Ethan die
Stellar. Reminiscent of William Sleator's books, "The Dark Side of Nowhere" perfectly captures a feeling I had so many times as a kid:

"The sunset was spectacular as I came out of the woods and into the open fields. The sky was orange, and the clouds flamed red and purple. Crosswinds sliced them into jagged, bold angles, and it seemed that the heavens were so intense that they overwhelmed the dreary earth below. The sky was mystical and larger than life... I felt sure that going home would catapu
Gabriel Hall
This book is about a boy named Ethan dieing, and everybody said it was pendicitis. Later Jason and some others realized it wasn’t. Jason didn’t like his life because he thought it was too boring and he thought his parents were too nice because they never tell him hes in serious trouble. At Ethan’s wedding, Jason wondered why Ethan’s parents didn’t cry but his dad said it was shock. Later Jason learned Ethan hadn’t died at all. At a Little League game in Billington, Jason got in a fight with a bo ...more
Oct 24, 2015 Torre rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book when I was in either 6th or 7th grade and I have been DYING for years to try to remember the title. Apparently I read Downsiders by this same author (amazing book) and just decided to read other books by the same author. I remembered Downsiders but not this book's title or author. I went to a local library book sale where I picked up the author's books Downsiders (I'm super excited to read it again and see my perspective of the book as an adult and to test my memory) and Unwind. ...more
Dec 21, 2014 Laurie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have not read a book by Neal Shusterman which I have not liked. This young adult novel, also, did not let me down. It was a great blend of science fiction, drama/action and "coming of age." It grabbed my attention from its inception and I couldn't let go until I was done. This one was extremely hard to put down in between "regular life" (which I had to do constantly). However, I never lost the storyline. I did not expect the ending at all!! I don't want to tell all, but I will say that this no ...more
Jul 05, 2013 Dylan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was excellent.
I loved how it kept me on my toes a lot of the time. Though, some things were predictable, others made me go "WHAT?!". That was great.
The characters served their purpose. I liked Jason, he was a strong protagonist. The others were alright. The story is the most important part of this book. It was great. Highly recommend this author, he's a great storyteller.
Jun 23, 2008 Pandora rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi-2nd-floor
Jason is bored with his town and his parnets - who are about the dullest people on the Earth. Then he discoveres that everything he thought he knew was true is a lie including himself. A great book full of high tension as Jason struggles with what is right and what is wrong. A great exploartion that sometimes to do right you do have to take a stand aganist the majority. Powerful.
Brittany Permann
The Dark Side of Nowhere by Neal Shusterman was a very interesting book. It taught me about being okay with who you were no matter what others said. Jason is a typically high school boy who has struggles in his life. His best friend died and Jason was very affected by it. What he learns about himself later is a shock to him and he almost doesn't want to believe it. As he has grown up he went in for monthly shots which didn't seem weird to him until he realized what they were giving him was keepi ...more
Lynn Mccorry
Apr 25, 2015 Lynn Mccorry rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Teens and anyone who likes a good, quick read
Shelves: read-in-2015
This is a good book and if I were younger I would have rated it higher. I loved Neal Shusterman's Unwind series so I thought I'd give this one a go. It's definitely a book for those a lot younger than me. I think most 13 - 17 year olds will love it and I'm sure a lot of adults will love it too. I guess it was just a little too *easy* for me. I read it in just a few short hours. It did keep me hooked and the storyline was good, the characters interesting and the whole story was a decent one. I wo ...more
Dec 20, 2012 Jose rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
1. The plot had a lot of good action in it and it was about teens. It moved slowly, i didn't like some parts of it. It was very interesting at the end.

2. Jason and Grant. Jason is the main character in the book. Grant is the leader of Jason.

3. Friendship it shows how friends are there for each other and how they care and take care of each other.
As a big fan of other books by Neal shusterman, such as the unwind series and the skinjackers trilogy, this was a disappointment. To short and I found the last 3rd of it painfully boring. :( the 1st part where the m.c. Whines about how boring everything is and the build up of the mystery -like when they were exploring Old Town- was good. Intense and working up to a big epic tale.... But it lost its edge pretty quickly. I'm thinking it would have been much better if it had been longer, maybe a tr ...more
Matt Marx
THE BEST FRIGGIN BOOK IN THE WORLD !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Jennifer Denney
Jun 13, 2015 Jennifer Denney rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of Shusterman's early and shorter novels, this is the story of Jason and his friends in small town America. When one of their friends dies suddenly of appendicitis, Jason notices that his parents and his friends' parents are acting very strangely. Jason and girlfriend Paula do some digging and discover things aren't what they seem in their town. Jason receives an unusual, otherworldly gift from the school janitor with a cryptic message to meet him in Old Town. When he does, Jason's world get ...more
Feb 05, 2015 Anastasia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
Today someone asked me what book was the first to really get me excited about reading. Of course it wasn't a required reading book for school (although now that I am in my late 20s I can look back and appreciate them for the plots they tried to show) but it was a book I checked out from my grade school library many MANY times. I couldn't remember the title but I googled around with some keywords and this title jumped out at me in the results... sure enough this was it! I must have read this atle ...more
Dec 08, 2015 Sydney rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
**5 STARS**

I LOVED THIS. Neal Shusterman, you have yet to disappoint. I honestly don't think Neal can write a less than amazing book... His stories always catapult you into another world completely, and you find yourself so submerged within his perfectly crafted universes, that you truly start to think they're real. Time after time, his narrative blurs reality with fantasy so flawlessly; so much so that it's hypnotizing. His books always linger in my mind long after I've finished them, and this
Kate Brown
Aug 05, 2014 Kate Brown rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: school
Interesting sci-fi read. Jason lives in a small town where nothing exciting happens. Jason and his two friends Ethan and Wade are BORED. But when Ethan suddenly dies from appendicitis, Jason's monotonous life suddenly becomes way more exciting. Jason learns that he has some hidden secrets and his small town may soon be threatened. The story goes in so many strange directions and the plot moves fast. I definitely could see this book being used as a read aloud. It was nice to read a lesser known S ...more
Oct 09, 2015 WhovianatHearts rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed

The Dark Side of Nowhere
Personally I did not like this book. Being an avid YA reader, I found it disappointing on various levels. I REALLY did want to love this book and give it at least a three star review, but I couldn't. Due to many factors, which I will list bellow.

This Book Needs To Explain a Lot More Than It Did
When it comes to books like this one, I love to see the plot twists and the reasonable explaining. This book however disappointed me when it came to both of these categories. The
Apr 12, 2010 Josiah rated it it was ok
Some writers are great at making their readers really think, while others do a fine job of creating intense story action that grips the reader tightly and never lets go. Neal Shusterman is richly blessed on both these scores.

Jason Miller, caught living in the middle of the ostensibly bland town of Billington, feels a deeply visceral need to change his predictable life, and break free from the light of normality that bathes all things around him. He gets his wish when an embedded secret about h
Peep (Pop! Pop!)
Hmmmm, well Neal Shusterman can certainly write some weird books. I really liked it for a while but after a while it started to feel as if I were reading a screenplay for an episode of the Twilight Zone. Most of the time it was weird, awkward, and had me a little confused. But I still kind of liked it.

It was a fast an easy read. I am glad that I read it as there were some seriously funny parts of the book. J.J. never backed down, even when he knew there was no chance of him winning.

Like I said,
Victoria Wilkinson
I am not really into alien books, so I was a little apprehensive for this one. The start of the book seemed to be a bit un-intriguing: a normal kid who is bored with his everyday life. It takes a turn as Jason is given a strange glove and learns more than any kid could ever expect at his age. Younger kids will appreciate the mystery and find commonality in how he wants something interesting to happen in regular day-to-day life.

As a reader, I enjoyed the novel. It picked up quickly after the big
Natalie Spindle
I am not really into alien books, so I was a little apprehensive for this one. The start of the book seemed to be a bit un-intriguing: a normal kid who is bored with his everyday life. It takes a turn as Jason is given a strange glove and learns more than any kid could ever expect at his age. Younger kids will appreciate the mystery and find commonality in how he wants something interesting to happen in regular day-to-day life.

As a reader, I enjoyed the novel. It picked up quickly after the big
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Award-winning author Neal Shusterman grew up in Brooklyn, New York, where he began writing at an early age. After spending his junior and senior years of high school at the American School of Mexico City, Neal went on to UC Irvine, where he made his mark on the UCI swim team, and wrote a successful humor column. Within a year of graduating, he had his first book deal, and was hired to write a movi ...more
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