Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Arcady's Goal” as Want to Read:
Arcady's Goal
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Arcady's Goal

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  586 ratings  ·  134 reviews
From Newbery Honor–winning author Eugene Yelchin comes another glimpse into Soviet Russia. For twelve-year-old Arcady, soccer is more than just a game. Sent to live in a children's home after his parents are declared enemies of the state, it is a means of survival, securing extra rations, respect, and protection. Ultimately, it proves to be his chance to leave. But in Sovi ...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published October 14th 2014 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) (first published October 1st 2014)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Arcady's Goal, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Arcady's Goal

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.83  · 
Rating details
 ·  586 ratings  ·  134 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Arcady's Goal
Katie  Hanna
I honestly don't know what to rate this, in terms of reading enjoyment.

The story itself was beautiful, the characters were wonderful, but the large-print format KILLED ME. I cannot stand large print. It leaves too much blank space between the lines of the letters and it fills my brain with white emptiness and it makes me cringe constantly and just aaggghhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

So I couldn't really enjoy reading it, despite how well-written it was, because letters on the page LOOKED WRONG. I'm sorry if th
Wendi Wanders
Great boy's book. Great read aloud story for any family looking for stories of other times and cultures.
Arcady is a kid in a Soviet prison camp because his parents allegedly were enemies of the state. He has no future. Except...
No spoilers.
Really well done, gently addressing trauma kids, life in a communist regime, and soccer.
I will be looking for other books by this author.
May 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Read and reviewed for School Library Journal (issue 2014-07-01):

After his parents are accused of being enemies of the state, 12-year-old Arcady grew up being carted from orphanage to orphanage in Soviet Russia. Although Arcady hasn't had a great childhood, he is great at soccer. In fact, his soccer skills are his ticket out of the orphanage when soft-hearted schoolteacher-turned-orphanage-inspector, Ivan Ivanych, sees Arcady play on an inspection and decides to adopt him. Believing the inspector
Allison Tebo
Aug 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I’ve read more than one book set in a Communist country, but this one is perhaps one of the most poignant of them all. The tighter the focus of the story and the stronger the normalcy of our characters actions the more chilling the backdrop of horror becomes. This book revolves around Arcady’s consuming love of soccer, and, because of that deliberate focus, we feel the things Arcady is ignoring even more intensely – the fear, the hunger, the uncertainty . . . and the gradual sense of belonging.

Mar 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: older children and parents reading with them
With small pages, a larger font, and many black and white illustrations, some encompassing a two-page spread, this historical fiction story is a fast read. The author wrote and illustrated the book, and his pictures show a wide range of emotions that can help children understand the character's feelings and experiences.

The reader is immediately immersed in the desperately world of a Soviet orphanage for children of criminals of the state who were executed. Life there is very difficult and the b
Ms. Yingling
Oct 16, 2014 rated it liked it
Arcady is being raised on the eve of WWII in a brutal orphanage run by an overbearing man he nicknames "Butterball" because his parents were deemed enemies of the state and killed. Food is scarce and punishment is plentiful, but Arcady has skills at playing soccer that set him apart. Hearing the rumor that the inspectors who visit the orphanage are sometimes soccer scouts, Arcady does his best to impress one inspector who does not seem like all the rest. It turns out that the man, Ivan Ivanych, ...more
Dec 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-ya, read-2014
I haven't read a book so quickly in a while, nor have I read a book that I didn't want to end in a long time. This, Arcady's Goal, is such a book. I can't imagine any student not loving the story of Arcady, a young boy, in a children's camp for children of the Soviet Union's enemies. He has only one dream, to play soccer for the communist red team. It's more broadly a story of all the children who were taken from their parents mostly on whim of others, and it's also a story of a kind man who ha ...more
Oct 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
In his second book that takes place during the Stalinist-era Soviet Union, Yelchin once again creates a story that really speaks to me. The aftereffects and consequences of what happens to families of "enemies" of the people are briefly discussed at the end of the book. The part that really seemed to stick with me was that "the Communist Party ensured that this trauma would live on even after the demise of Communism. It did so by shattering the families of the enemies of the people." As someone ...more
Jan 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
This novel is a young adult read. I don't recall how I encounter it but I am glad I did. A simple story that relates life under Stalin (and any totalitarian regime) and its continuing impact that carries over even until today.
Mar 03, 2015 rated it liked it
A quick quiet read about a young boy adopted from an orphanage during the Stalin era. Based on the father's story of the author. I found it sad how people were labeled and killed as traitors and how their children were so punished. Sometimes sports can save you!!!!
Dec 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I chose Eugene Yelchin's Arcady's Goal because I had read his previous novel Breaking Stalin's Nose and because I am interested in multicultural and international middle grades literature.

Arcady is the child of parents who have been labeled "enemies of the state." As such, he lives in a children's home that is little different from a prison camp. His goal? Escape. His means? Soccer. When Arcady is unexpectedly adopted by a single man, his goal comes into focus. It's more achievable and more dif
Maria Antonia
Oct 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Basic plot: Arcady lives in an orphanage where his only hope lies in soccer and being the best. When Arcady is adopted by Ivan Ivanych, his new “father” starts coaching him and a bunch of other children for his soccer team… that is until the other fathers kick Ivan Ivanych off the team. Ivan Ivanych takes Arcady to get a letter to try out for the Red Army youth team. The problem lies in the fact that Arcady’s parents were declared “enemies of the state.” Now it’s up to them to find a way to make ...more
Valerie McEnroe
Adult rating: 3 stars
Kid rating: 2 stars

Arcady has lived in an orphanage ever since his parents were accused of being enemies of the Soviet Union. Orphanage life is hard. There's never enough food. But Arcady has an advantage. He's highly skilled at soccer and uses it to win bets with the orphanage director. During a match, when the inspectors are visiting, Arcady notices one inspector paying close attention to him. He tells Arcady he is a soccer coach and he is going to get him on the highly re
Max Remaley
Nov 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
When I read Arcady's Goal I think about how much Arcady had to go through at such a young age. In this book Arcady's main goal is to be on the Red Cross soccer team but he doesn't realize that his parents have made his goal impossible. Arcady is an orphan and his parents died while he was very little making his future dark and making it impossible to follow his dreams. He grows up in a orphanage for "enemy of the peoples" children. A man named Ivan comes to pick him up and we watch Arcady and Iv ...more
Jan 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is the second of Mr. Yelchin's books that I've read in the last week or so (they're very short and fast paced). One of the reasons I read so much children's and YA books is because they often are set in situations that adult books never touch on. This author writes books based on his and others' experiences in Soviet Russia. This book and the last I read (Breaking Stalin's Nose) both focused on children whose parents were "enemies of the people". The experiences of children are usually not ...more
Ryan Miller
Jun 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a story about the mental manipulation and intimidation perpetrated by autocratic regimes. Reading about Arcady’s destroyed life and his slim chances for redemption made me think about society’s need for enemies. When certain people or groups are labeled as enemies of the people, not only do they become scapegoats for all that may go wrong, but they help control those who remain by serving as a reminder of the power of “right.” Here, all Arcady wants to do is play soccer, but his designat ...more
Maximilian Lee
Jun 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
I liked this book because I learned that orphanages were really bad in whatever the year was. I also liked this book because I liked the ending because I liked that Arcady finally got to go to the soccer tryout.
Sep 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Yelchin is deft at inhabiting his characters and adopting their voices, as well as nimbly portraying the environment. This plot seemed a lot harder a needle to thread than in Breaking Stalin's Nose but, in the end, Yelchin provided the best ending he could I believe.
Dec 13, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: j-fiction, 2018
I read this book about a month ago. Don't remember too much about it except that I really didn't like Arcady. He didn't seem to change or learn after his experiences.

With historical fiction, I also like being able to learn a little something, but for me, that didn't happen either.
Poignant story, a quick read with many beautiful illustrations. It’s about a boy who loves soccer in Russia on the eve of WWII. Not a huge fan of the present tense in literature, but I enjoyed this spare simple writing that revealed deep emotion in subtle ways.
Lori Gibbany
May 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great glimpse as soviet Russia. The perfect amount for kids to get an idea how bad life was and how good theirs are.
Jun 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4th-quarter
An inspirational story about a young boy with no parents depending on soccer to get him through life.
Dec 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful book about Russia and orphan children of the state. Archady gets a blessing and a way out from a tender, smart man who has lost his wife.
Jill Berry
Jan 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Engaging story that helps readers learn about life in the Soviet Union.
Jan 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s
I listened to this one & enjoy yet another book from an author that knows what it was like to live in the Soviet Union during Stalin’s rein. The story tugged at my heart strings. ...more
Wilson Swak
Oct 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Amazing read. Thank you Mr. Eugene Yelchin for giving my family a book that we enjoyed together. After reading it, we want to read it again. This Historical Fiction book should win an award.
Aug 02, 2020 rated it liked it
What happens to children born of parents who are named "Enemy of the State?" This book shows what happened during the Stalin Years. What happens now?
Stephanie Croaning
Sep 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Arcady's Goal
by Eugene Yelchin
Henry Holt and Company, 2014
ISBN 978-1-62779-291-2
234 pages : illustrations ; 19 cm
Chapter book, historical fiction
YHBA intermediate grade nominee, 2016
Interest level: grades 4-8; reading level: 4.4
Lexile measure: 630
4 out of 5 stars

Arcady's Goal is a historical fiction novel that is set in Soviet Russia in the time of Stalin. This is not a historical time period that children know much about, so Eugene Yelchin's books are windows into an unknown, but real, world.
American Mensa
Oct 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
When I first received the book Arcady's Goal, by Eugene Yelchin, I was a bit skeptic. I typically do not enjoy books that are too heavily about sports, but I was very pleasantly surprised once I read this book. This story follows a young boy named Acady throughout a short portion of his life, and, although that time may be short, it is filled with enough excitement, sadness, and emotions to make anyone cry. Arcady is a child of the enemy, or in other words, his parents rebelled against Soviet Ru ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Words on Fire
  • Paper Wishes
  • Sabotage
  • The Silver Gate (The Silver Gate  #1)
  • Dragon Thief (Dragons in a Bag #2)
  • Nikki Tesla and the Fellowship of the Bling (Elements of Genius, #2)
  • Our Eleanor: A Scrapbook Look at Eleanor Roosevelt's Remarkable Life
  • Late Lunch with Llamas
  • Slow: Simple Living for a Frantic World
  • The Power of Meaning: Crafting a Life That Matters
  • On the Horizon
  • D'Aulaires' Book of Norse Myths
  • For the Beauty of the Earth: A Christian Vision for Creation Care
  • Don't Check Out This Book!
  • We Came Here to Forget
  • Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You
  • Sylvia & Aki
  • Just Mercy (Adapted for Young Adults): A True Story of the Fight for Justice
See similar books…

News & Interviews

Last year, Buzzfeed culture writer Anne Helen Petersen struck a chord with her viral article “How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation.”...
89 likes · 16 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »