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

Nowhere Boy

by
4.40  ·  Rating details ·  2,334 ratings  ·  510 reviews
A timely, poignant tale of family, sacrifice and the friendship between a young Syrian refugee and an American boy living in Brussels.

Fourteen-year-old Ahmed is stuck in a city that wants nothing to do with him. Newly arrived in Brussels, Belgium, Ahmed fled a life of uncertainty and suffering in Syria, only to lose his father on the perilous journey to the shores of E
...more
Audio CD
Published June 12th 2018 by Listening Library
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 Nowhere Boy, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Aubrey When the police officer visits the house to check who lives there he states that "Albert Jonnart is a special street for me" so I believe that is the …moreWhen the police officer visits the house to check who lives there he states that "Albert Jonnart is a special street for me" so I believe that is the name of the street. (less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.40  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,334 ratings  ·  510 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of Nowhere Boy
Flemingj
Aug 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow! I am just floored by this book. I read a lot about refugees and teach a unit on the current crisis to my middleschoolers, but this book is something wholly different. In the first half, I was so absorbed by the beautiful story of Max and his budding friendship with Ahmed. In the second half, I was wiping away tears and trying not to rush too fast to find out what happens to not just them, but their friends and families as well.

This book also brings the other side of the refugee crisis to li
...more
Skip
May 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: refugees
Ahmed is a 14-year old Syrian boy on a boat with his father, fleeing Aleppo following the bombing of their home, killing the rest of his family. As the sea gets rough, his father and two others try to swim the boat ashore, drowning in the process. On the precipice of being separated from the Syrian family caring for him in Belgium, he is robbed and abandoned by smugglers. Miraculously, he finds his way into the basement of an American ex-pat family, where he hides until he is discovered by the t ...more
Andrew Guan
Nov 22, 2019 rated it it was ok
The story nowhere boy is kind of like ALWTW. I say this because both stories start off with 2 individual stories, but later on, they merge together to help each other's life. I think this book is also very emotional because, on one side, it talks about the hardships and struggles of being an immigrant, and especially a Muslim immigrant in Europe and on the other side, it talks about the struggles leaving your school and friends to go to school in a foreign place, while speaking a new language.

[E
...more
Karma
Aug 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
OUTSTANDING!! I want every person, young and old, to read this book. I will definitely share it with my seventh-grade students and my son. I hope others will too.
Maddy C
Jan 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The book was really good and well written. She split the two peoples lives into chapters so every chapter you either read about Ahmed’s point of view and the next chapter would be Max’s, I thought that was really cool. And I definitely love how she combined her part of her life into the book and how it’s like different parts of non-fiction and fiction. I definitely recommend this book if people like thrilling stories of two peoples lives both sad and thrilling.
Stephanie
May 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of the most empathy-building books I’ve read in a long time, “Nowhere Boy” needs to be read today. Marsh weaves a true story of WW2 heroism into a fictitious account of an American expatriate living in Brussels. Max Howard hates his new school and his new life away from friends in the states. Learning to be a foreigner is difficult, but Max realizes just how difficult it is to be a foreigner when he meets Ahmed, who lives in his wine cellar unbeknownst to his parents.
This book doesn’t simpl
...more
Calypso
Sep 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent! Exciting! Laughter and crying and social issues. Great read for anyone 6th grade and up. I am sure this book will get many awards.
Linda
I read many wonderful books, yet it has been a while that one book brought me to tears. Perhaps it's because the children, two boys, then another boy and a girl are all middle-school age kids, the same ages that I taught. All the years I taught, I grew to know how capable they were, how much they could do. More than once, I felt they were not given the chance to do great things. In this story of 14-year-old Ahmed who's stuck in a city that doesn't want him and Max, a 13-year-old American boy wh ...more
Becky R.
Mar 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In the novel Nowhere Boy, we meet Ahmed, a young teen escaping Syria with his father. Having lost most of his family, he and his father left by boat to try to reach Greece, where his father dies in the sea. Over and over again, Ahmed meets great tragedy and ends up alone, without his father, in Belgium. Knowing he is not welcome and easily duped by smugglers, he finds his way to the home of an American family living in Belgium. He hides out in their basement, evading detection in every way possi ...more
Sandra
Jun 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-readers
When you read what feels like historical fiction but is really realistic fiction because it is set in contemporary times, it humbles you. This story is about the plight of refugees that is not “long ago” or too “far away.” Told in alternating point of views, this narrative is set in 2015 in Belgium. Max is a 13yo whose family moves from DC to Brussels for one year, and he faces learning a new language when he was already having academic difficulties in the States. Ahmed is a 14yo Syrian refugee ...more
DaNae
I think I'm a sucker for stories where kids manage to pull the wool over their adult's eyes. The stakes in this are higher than the Alden children living in the forest, and perhaps just as unrealistic. But I liked both boys quite a lot and rooted for their schemes.
Barbara
It is surely hoped that readers of this novel will develop compassion and empathy for those Syrian refugees they read and hear about. On the face of things, the two boys at the heart of this book would seem to have nothing in common and their paths were not likely to cross. Fourteen-year-old Ahmed is stuck in Brussels, Belgium, with no money, no phone, and nowhere to go after being tricked by a smuggler. Not only has he lost three family members during a bombing in Aleppo, Syria, but he also saw ...more
Julie Suzanne
I usually tolerate and appreciate middle grade books. I respect what they do, understand that I am not the intended audience, and try to imagine I'm a kid when I read them so that I don't roll my eyes too much. This book surprised me and made me worry, hate, love and cry and I didn't have to remind myself that this book is not actually written for me. I recommend Nowhere Boy to all middle school students.

Compassion, hope, prejudice, friendship, the refugee experience, following conscience over
...more
Fiona Daley
Jan 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
I thought this book was a very good book. The storyline and struggles are very real to right now in the world, which makes it a great book to read. I think that if people read this book, it could change people's judgemental opinions of refugees and other people from different places in the world. This was overall a very good book, and I enjoyed it very much.
Kassidy
May 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I thought this book gave a important message to all readers.
That you can never judge someone simply because of where they came from or what their people have done. Simply helping them get through could make you a good person, despite breaking laws.
Beth Honeycutt
Jun 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a powerful book! Max and Ahmed are characters that a reader can’t help but root for. I learned a little about Brussels (both now and during World War II) and found another inspiring, sad story about Syrian refugees.
Katie Proctor
Aug 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I LOVED THIS SO MUCH. The end.
Laura Janette
Mar 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another beautifully written story highlighting the plight of Syrian refugees....a topic that cannot be shared enough.
Also, there are historically accurate events woven in that I loved.
Clare Lund
Aug 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I could not have loved this book more!! Max and Ahmed’s unlikely friendship was so compelling, and their increasingly daring plans kept me on the edge of my seat. Highly highly recommend for ages 10 and up.
Chloe Heckman
Dec 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was really touching. It was about two boys who were both going through a lot and then they find each other. They become fast friends and risk their lives for each other. I recommend this book to everyone.
Riley Berger
May 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I wish I was still reading it, that's how good it is.
Sandy Brehl
Oct 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I know that when someone has a book published, they are often asked, “How’s your book dong?” And that really means, how is it selling.
I think the primary goal for any writer is to have people READ the book. Next, to have readers want to talk about the book-the story, the characters, the voice, the setting... all of it! Finally, I suspect the goal of someone writing a book like this is to have readers LEARN something without feeling they are being taught or are reading propaganda. On all counts,
...more
Emily
Just stop what you are doing and read this right now. If you loved The Book Thief or if you can’t stand how the world has abandoned Syrian refugees because of fear or if your heart hurts over the behavior of the United States at its southern border, just read this. If none of this sickens you, then you really need to read this.

What a wonderful story of friendship and love over fear. And about hope.
Patrick
Sep 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful. Powerful. Full of hope. Max and Ahmed. Ahmed and Max. Two boys from two different worlds. Come together and are changed forever!
Inês
Jul 29, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
even in the darkest times and places there were always good people.

while i'm so happy this book is getting such wonderful reviews, i just don't think i'm the target audience for it anymore.

the nowhere boy tells us the story of a friendship between a syrian refugee and an american boy whose family is living in belgium for a year.

i would like to start off by saying that i had no idea this book was a children's book until i was about halfway through it, and it immediately made me try to adapt
...more
Terry Maguire
Katherine Marsh’s Nowhere Boy depicts the beautiful friendship that forms between 14-yr-old Syrian refugee Ahmed and 13-yr-old Max, an American who’s moved to Belgium for the year with his family. After fleeing a corrupt smuggler, Ahmed has been hiding in the basement of Max’s house, unbeknownst to the entire family, until the day when Max discovers him there. Max, who’s had great difficulty adjusting to his new Belgian school and to learning French, has also been feeling like an outsider. The t ...more
Lynn
Apr 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Moving story about a Syrian boy, Ahmed, flees his country with his father to Europe. They travel across the Mediterranean Sea in a rubber dingy. Overcrowded, Ahmed's father must exit the boat with others who can swim and hang on to ropes on the side. A tragedy endangers the swimmers and Ahmed's father disappears. An Iraqi man who also swam on the side adopts Ahmed and takes him into his family. Ahmed who speaks English was hoping to go to America or another English speaking country. Ibrahim's fa ...more
R
Mar 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In the novel Nowhere Boy, we meet Ahmed, a young teen escaping Syria with his father. Having lost most of his family, he and his father left by boat to try to reach Greece, where his father dies in the sea. Over and over again, Ahmed meets great tragedy and ends up alone, without his father, in Belgium. Knowing he is not welcome and easily duped by smugglers, he finds his way to the home of an American family living in Belgium. He hides out in their basement, evading detection in every way possi ...more
Marla Thrall
Nov 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Nowhere Boy ⁣⁣⁣
⁣⁣⁣
Anyone else love middle grade books?! Nowhere Boy is a timely, beautiful story of family, loss, and friendship between a young Syrian refugee and an American boy living in Brussels. Ahmed left life in a war zone with his father in hopes of a better life. Along the way, his father is lost at sea and Ahmed is left with absolutely no one. Meanwhile, Max is living in a new country with his family- struggling to learn the language and make friends. When the two find each other, thei
...more
Kiersten
Feb 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book about an American boy living in Belgium who encounters a Syrian refugee hiding in his wine cellar. He wants to help and discovers more about himself in the process. Lots of good exposure to the refugee crisis in Europe, terrorism fears, and how in many ways there are similarities to WWII. Unfortunately it’s going to be a hard one for most 5th graders to get through due to lack of background knowledge and lots of words in other languages (French, German) sprinkled throughout. But I ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Speechless
  • Twelve Days in May: Freedom Ride 1961
  • Stormy Seas: Stories of Young Boat Refugees
  • Junior Ninja Champion: The Competition Begins
  • A Good Kind of Trouble
  • Drum Roll, Please
  • The Only Road (The Only Road #1)
  • Me, Frida, and the Secret of the Peacock Ring
  • Spirit Hunters
  • Becoming Kareem: Growing Up On and Off the Court
  • Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster
  • Resistance
  • The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl
  • Marcus Vega Doesn't Speak Spanish
  • The Parker Inheritance
  • The Season of Styx Malone
  • Amal Unbound
  • Front Desk (Front Desk, #1)
See similar books…

News & Interviews

Hispanic Heritage Month is the perfect time to relish the latest works from beloved Hispanic and Latinx authors like Isabel Allende, Natalia...
90 likes · 79 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“Even in the darkest times and places there were always good people. People who would help others out of the kindness of their hearts.” 1 likes
More quotes…