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Nowhere Boy

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4.42  ·  Rating details ·  1,529 ratings  ·  359 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
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Published June 12th 2018 by Listening Library
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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)

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Average rating 4.42  · 
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 ·  1,529 ratings  ·  359 reviews


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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
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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.

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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 ...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
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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.
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 ...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.
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 ...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.
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.
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
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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,
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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
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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 ...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 ...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, their
...more
Braxton Burton
Feb 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was so good!!! Before you pick this book up I would recommend reading “A Land of Permanent Goodbyes” by Atia Abawi. This book began about where that book left off! They were both Syrian refugees who fled to Greece. So good!!! Definitely should read this book!!! I learned a whole bunch about how people treat refugees! I learned about how many people are misinterpreted as terrorists when they are actually fleeing terrorism!!! Such a great book!!!
Rachel
Jan 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a beautifully written, well developed, and very timely story of friendship, resilience and hope. Max is inspired by the lessons of the Holocaust and it is HIAS that comes to Ahmed's aid in the end. Max and Ahmed both learn that “even in the darkest times and places, there were always good people, people who would help others out of the kindness of their hearts.” (p.309) and that “no one could be a hero alone.” (p.349) A perfect companion for Refugee by Alan Gratz - highly recommended!
Beth
May 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is so very timely and well-written - it brought up many important current issues about the way immigrants are portrayed and treated. It is also a beautiful story about two boys maturing and finding deep friendship. My 11-year-old son and I read it together and we loved it equally.
Anita Routh
The story of two boys in Belgium, Max, an American living abroad and Ahmed, a Syrian refugee, and how their lives come crashing together, combines recent history, heart-racing adventure and weighty social issues without being preachy. Many different types of readers will be drawn to this very timely, important, entertaining, edge-of-your-seat book.
Nadine
a great read as it brings the idea of refugees closer to home and how it could be actionable on a personal level.
Nice characterisation of the boys and the adults in their lives with their insecurities and fears.
Jenna Melberg
Jan 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An excellent novel about a Syrian refugee and an American boy living in Belgium. The characters were fully developed and the plot kept me guessing.
Ashleigh Rose
Apr 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
A wonderful story for today. Hand this to any kid who loved REFUGEE by Alan Gratz!
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“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
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