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The Homeward Bounders

3.95  ·  Rating Details ·  3,040 Ratings  ·  154 Reviews
"You are now a discard. We have no further use for you in play. You are free to walk the Bounds, but it will be against the rules for you to enter play in any world. If you succeed in returning Home, then you may enter play again in the normal manner."

When Jamie unwittingly discovers the sinister, dark-cloaked Them playing games with humans' lives, he is cast out to the bo
224 pages
Published 1990 by Mammoth (first published 1981)
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Feb 08, 2008 Jessica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: D&D dorks, the children i love (not necessarily in that order)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Melissa McShane
In her twelfth published novel, Diana Wynne Jones again does something new; The Homeward Bounders has a little bit of Dogsbody, a little bit of Power of Three, but mostly it's just itself. Young Jamie goes poking around where he shouldn't and is found by Them, mysterious cloaked creatures who appear to be playing an enormous strategy game with the world--and they deal with Jamie's intrusion by making him a Homeward Bounder. Now Jamie is forced to travel between worlds, pulled by an insistent dem ...more
May 27, 2014 Lyn rated it it was ok
Not that I cannot or will not review a young adult fantasy, but more likely I am just not attuned to realizing and articulating what is best with this novel.

The author is certainly very talented, the story is well crafted and blends more mature elements into a fine adventure story that many young readers will very probably enjoy, but … I just could not get into it, much more of a YA book than what I was expecting.

Mar 29, 2011 Mely rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am terrible at remembering exact lines, even for poetry or songs, where you'd think the rhythm or sound would help. I regard all the characters in Tam Lin who can quote poetry-- or even the characters in Buffy who can quote movies -- word-perfect with suspicion and envy. I get the scansion right but one of the words wrong or the sense right but not the phrase and worst of it is, I know it's wrong -- I just can't remember what the right version is.

I've always remembered the last line of this ri
This is one of the most complex yet richly rewarding reads that I have come across. It was like reading all of Pullman's Dark Materials in one book (sort of). The subject matter and idea was complex but the plot and characters were so engaging. Unlike Charmed Life, I thought this was a challenging read both in concept and an writing but it was infinitely all the better for it. Based on the idea that all worlds are controlled by gamers who played with our lives, one young boy, Jamie, having disco ...more
Emily Collins
Dec 07, 2012 Emily Collins rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You all know how much I love Diana Wynne Jones.
I discovered this book only a few weeks ago, when I picked it up from an HPB.
I did not like this book.

Now, don't get me wrong - it was fascinating. I read it in maybe three days. I couldn't put it down. I needed to know what happened next. NEEDED TO.
I don't really know what rating to give this book, I guess 3.5 would be about right. It's a very imaginative story, which doesn't quite explain itself. I found myself re-reading paragraphs quite often to try and make sense of what was happening. For a children's book I think it's somewhat complex but on the other hand, maybe a child would just accept the concepts without trying to understand them! It's well written with interesting characters and despite a rather repetitive theme, it manages to ...more
Elizabeth Boatman
Jun 04, 2013 Elizabeth Boatman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Diana Wynne Jones is one of my favorite writers. I go to her when I need a jolt of something entirely different and unexpected. This has all the usual Jones elements: parallel worlds, girls with magical gifts, mythic beings, and the play on words and logic. As with Fire and Hemlock you may have to read the ending twice to figure out exactly how it all played out.

The protagonist, Jamie Hamilton, is a compelling character. He's a twelve-year-old boy from a lower class family. He's not interested
S.W. Wildwood
This is, to date, my favorite standalone DWJ. Yes, there were a few dragging parts, but I felt at the end they were necessary for Jamie's story.

And any book that makes me cry is a good book. That ending had me in awe.

As always DWJ makes a world, or worlds, that are so utterly fantastic you have no choice but to believe they're real. Every bit of it flowed perfectly to the next.
Brandy Painter
Originally posted here at Random Musings of a Bibliophile.

I am still making my way through Diana Wynne Jones's backlist. I probably wouldn't have read The Homeward Bounders for a long time to come as it's currently out of print in the the US (except as an e-book) if it weren't for a conversation on Twitter I had with Sage Blackwood in which she said she heard some consider it to be a metaphor for life as a military kid. My interest level rose exponentially and she was kind enough to send me an o
Tam G
Jan 13, 2017 Tam G rated it really liked it
Solid 3.5 stars.

This is one of those books that kind of defies expectation. Diana Wynne Jones is a lovely writer, and she understands dialogue and how not to over-explain things. This one started with a sheer sense of wonder. Not because the main character has a sense of wonder. He was very pragmatic and plain. The plain explanations, how obviously the main character doesn't understand the things he sees, ignites a sense of curiosity. It feels real.

The middle is kind of up and down. There are
Aug 13, 2014 Felicity rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya
Diana Wynne Jones was a wildly uneven writer. Even her worst stuff is better than many writers' best stuff. This book is one of her best - for the first 2/3 of it - and then it completely disintegrates. It feels as if she suddenly realized that it was shaping up to be a really long book and she was about to hit a major deadline like, the next day, so she threw in a ton of deus ex machina and bam, finished it. This is a damn shame because if it only had just kept going the way it started it would ...more
Jun 06, 2008 martha rated it liked it
Shelves: genre, kindle, 2005, 2013
[September 2005 review.] The more DWJ I read the more I can pick out what themes she likes to use, similarities between different stories, so at the very beginning this book reminded me of her Hexwood, but it ended up being very different. I really liked this one -- reviews on Amazon point out that this is one of her more somber, darker books and I think it's one of her best that I've read so far. The premise is that every world ia game played by Them, and if you discover this you get sentenced ...more
Angela Randall
This was a lovely little escape from reality. I hate giving spoilers, so I won't go into details. Just pick it up and have a read.

Diana Wynne Jones has a real talent for inventing worlds and telling a story. I do also love how she's basically timed how long it takes a young reader to get bored and will jump in with something intriguing to keep them going. If you're looking to be a writer, you could do worse than to study this master.
May 19, 2012 Claire rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
oh my god, THIS BOOK IS TOO DEPRESSING. No wonder I haven't read it in ten years and blocked out most of it (although nothing will ever block out "But you wouldn't believe how lonely you get"). brb, SOBBING.
Jun 13, 2017 Terry rated it it was ok
It's an interesting idea for a story, very much along the lines of the old TV series "Slidders", but it's so badly executed. At no point does the author actually stop and take the time to make any of the worlds feel real, ironic giving the way the story progresses. It's all just too shallow and basically plotted.
May 18, 2017 Gili rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not my favorite.
A bit rushed, an much darker than some of Jones' other books.
Masayuki Arai
Mar 03, 2017 Masayuki Arai rated it liked it
Complicated and bad ending...TRPG should be played happily!!!
May 13, 2017 Gandalf rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You wouldn't believe how lonely you get
Aug 08, 2008 Emma rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have a very high opinion of Diana Wynne Jones because of her self-evident awesomeness as a writer. Most of the books I have read by her also feature awesome heroines in the role of protagonist and/or narrator. The Homeward Bounders does not. However, in the spirit of promoting well-rounded reading and since Jones is already a perennial CLW favorite, I present my first Chick Lit Wednesday review with a hero instead of a heroine as the main character.

"Have you ever heard of the Flying Dutchman?
Oct 30, 2010 Heather rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 10, 2013 Magali rated it it was amazing
The Homeward Bounders is the sort of book that I can't stop thinking about, even years after reading it. DWJ's real gift was for making mythology into reality, and for putting the ineffable and inexplicable into a context in which it could be understood. This book is pure fantasy, in the sense that the plot could never happen to anyone you or I know, but at the same time she makes you see exactly how it COULD.

But I digress. The Homeward Bounders is about a twelve year old boy named Jamie who, w
Pam Baddeley
This tale of moving between worlds has a lot of imaginative touches though some of them are downright bizarre such as Helen, the character who can transform her withered arm into another appendage. It starts with Jamie, who is dictating the story to a recording machine for a reason which eventually becomes clear, telling how he climbed over the wall into an odd garden in the city where he lived in what seemed to be Victorian times, and is later confirmed as 1879, and spied on some strange beings ...more
Maureen E
Sep 02, 2008 Maureen E rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, young-adult
I had a very strange experience recently. I’ve been re-reading Diana Wynne Jones’s book, in order to write them up for my Official Read-through Index (which, erm, hasn’t been updated in awhile). So I read Homeward Bounders, which is utterly tragic and well-written and yet I don’t love it as much as some of her other books. Then a few days later I started Mister Monday, the first in the Keys of the Kingdom series by Garth Nix. As I was reading along I began to notice certain similarities. Both fe ...more
May 01, 2013 Amai rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
Yes. This book was great. I had a feeling it would end up being one of my favourite DWJs and I wasn't disappointed. I cried several times – mostly for no apparent reason.

But then again, give me a frantic search for a place to call home, and top that with a redhead Prometheus and I'll cry no matter what.

This book once again proves that the 80s' were a golden era for DWJ. Most of her very best ones were written then. This was no exception. The characters were amusing, the narrative voice was supe
Apr 16, 2011 Myles rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
DWJ Book Toast, #11

Diana Wynne Jones is one of my favorite fantasy authors, growing up and now, and I was saddened by the news of her death. I can't say I'm overcome with emotion - as personal as some of her work is to me, its not like I knew her after all - but I wish I could put into words how I feel about her no longer being out there, writing new adventures and laughing at all of us serious fans thinking so hard about her words when we should simply get on with the business of enjoying them.
Caroline Eising
There is no clear division between Science Fiction and Fantasy (one reason they are often lumped together) and The Homeward Bounders is one of those books that straddles the two categories without falling easily into either.

Less whimsical than her other stories, this book contains both demons and magic and machines and sci-fi concepts like parallel universes in equal measure. The story centers around a boy who sees something he should not, and is snatched away from his home and 'discarded' - tra
Julie Davis
Dec 29, 2010 Julie Davis rated it really liked it
Following my reading of Dogsbody, I went on to this book in sampling Diana Wynne Jones' oeuvre. She came up with yet another completely different concept, unique world system, and set of problems to solve. As well, Jamie, the protagonist seems different from those I read about in Howl's Moving Castle and Dogsbody.

Jamie has a happy enough life with his family in a poor but active neighborhood of a large city. One day, when delivering groceries for his father's store, he happens upon a building th
Apr 03, 2012 Eve added it
Homeward Bounders, by Diana Wynne Jones, is about a boy named Jamie who lives in a city. He likes to wander the city at times, and upon one of his wanderings, stumbles upon a curious triangular building. He is fascinated by the building, and looks through the window. He see’s cloaked men hovering over a curious machine. He decides to go into the building, and discovers that these cloaked figures are magical. They seem to be playing an intricate game that decides the fate of the world. They decid ...more
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Diana was born in London, the daughter of Marjorie (née Jackson) and Richard Aneurin Jones, both of whom were teachers. When war was announced, shortly after her fifth birthday, she was evacuated to Wales, and thereafter moved several times, including periods in Coniston Water, in York, and back in London. In 1943 her family finally settled in Thaxted, Essex, where her parents worked running an ed ...more
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“If you like, you can all think of it as my gift to you. I never had much else to give. You can get on and play your own lives as you like, while I just keep moving. This story of it all can be another gift. I’ve made an arrangement with Adam. When I’ve finished, which is almost now, I’m going to put the bundle of papers in the garden of the Old Fort, before I move on. Adam’s going to get them and take them to his father. And if you read it and don’t believe it’s real, so much the better. It will make another safeguard against Them.

But you wouldn’t believe how lonely you get.”
“There are no rules. Only principles and natural laws.” 6 likes
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