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The Homeward Bounders

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  3,723 Ratings  ·  177 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
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224 pages
Published 1990 by Mammoth (first published 1981)
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Jessica
Feb 08, 2008 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.
Siv30
""אומרים שהתקווה היא עוגן!" יילל הנווד. "אמת הדבר. תקווה היא מעמסה, והיא כבולה אליך כאבן ריחיים על צווארך. ואני אומר, הַשְׁלִיכֶהָ מעליך! השלך מעליך את התקווה!""

ספר פנטזיה טוב מאוד לנוער ולמבוגרים.

ג'יימי בן ה- 12 הוא בן למשפחה ענייה. הוא נער סקרן מאוד וכשהוא מגלה בית נטוש, הוא חייב לגלות מה מסתתר מאחורי הדלתות, שם הוא מגלה שני אנשים מוזרים ללא פנים שמתעסקים במכשיר שלא מוכר לו. כשהאנשים הללו רואים אותו, הם מנהלים שיחה מוזרה במהלכה הם מחליטים שלא להרוג אותו אלא להשליך אותו. לפני השלכתו הם מוסרים
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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
Lyn
May 27, 2014 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.

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Emily Collins
Dec 07, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: uk-authors
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.
BUT YOU GUYS I CRIED SO HARD BECAUSE OF THIS BOOK.
AND I KNEW I WAS GOING TO CRY.
ALL THE WAY THROUGH THE BOOK I COULD SEE IT COMING, STRAIGHT FROM PAGE ONE.
BUT IT HAPPENED. AND I DID.
I MIGHT BE CRYING AGA
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Mely
Mar 29, 2011 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
...more
Elizabeth Boatman
Jun 04, 2013 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
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Mathew
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
Lara Mi


“You wouldn't believe how lonely it gets.”

The Homeward Bounders is definitely unique and takes place in a world that is very typical for Daina Wynne Jones. She does seem to love her universes having multiple worlds, often based on or around ours. When it comes to world variety, it seems very similar to the Chrestomanci series, only that unlike there, the characters in this book have no choice but to travel from world to world.

I loved how the plot came to a nice circle by the end of the book
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Tam G
Jan 13, 2017 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
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 ☆Ruth☆
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
Alex Ankarr
Reading this book may hurt you. It's that beautiful, and that sad. But it's worth it.
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
...more
Serena W. Sorrell
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.
Amiad
Nov 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: started
ג׳יימי מפריע ל„ההם”, ישויות רב ממדיות בעלות עוצמה רבה, וכעונש נזרק מהעולם שלו ונאלץ לנדוד בין עולמות מקבילים שונים.

דיאנה ון ג׳ונס מפליאה כרגיל ליצור עולם שלם ומרתק בספר נוער קצר בעוד סופרים אחרים לא מצליחים לבנות עולם אפילו בטרילוגיה עבת כרס. הסוף בעיני פחות מעניין.
Felicity
Aug 13, 2014 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
martha
Jun 06, 2008 rated it liked it
[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.
Claire
May 19, 2012 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.
William Leight
May 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
“The Homeward Bounders” is one of Diana Wynne Jones’s best novels, which means that it’s really really good. One of its strongest aspects, and something that Jones generally does very well in her books, is the way that the story is constructed. I don’t just mean the plot here, though that is certainly part of it: it might be thought of as closer to worldbuilding, though not in the way that the term is usually used these days to refer to the careful construction of internally coherent worlds with ...more
Deborah Ideiosepius
This was a magical and enchanting children's book!

Twelve year old Jamie is a normal 1880's boy his family run a grocery, though his mother has aspirations for him to get enducated and be a doctor. Jamie likes to explore his city though, one day he goes over a wall into a private garden and finds people who are not really human doing things on machines he does not understand. To curious to leave it alone Jamie makes his was into Their house and discovers he has just become a random piece the gam
...more
starryeyednikki
Nov 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kim
Apr 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: borrowed
I am definitely enjoying Diana Wynne Jones' books, and I happened to come across these by chance!

In this book the story revolves around a young lad, Jamie, that discovers that our 'world' is basically a big boardgame for aliens - I'm thinking something like Risk (or at least how I understand that game is played) but because he discovers this he is cast out from his word and cursed to walk the Bounds (cross between the worlds) until he finds his Home again. The alternative worlds vary from one en
...more
Ellie
Jan 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy-books
A wonderful discovery. Jamie's disrespect for boundaries and nosiness get him to stumble into 'Them' and 'their game', thus being made a Discart and sent on a journey through hundreds of worlds as a 'Homeward Bounder', is only hope of escaping the endless circle being to find his way back home along the way. Jamie is a strong-minded, no-nonsense troublemaker - not the sort of hero we are used from Diana Wynne Jones, but one that makes perfect sense for this story. I loved him and liked the book, ...more
Ellen
Jan 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens, fantasy
a quick note: this is available on hoopla as an ebook, which is amazing given how generally difficult it is to find a great deal of DWJ's ouvre.

this is not my favorite DWJ- perhaps because it's kind of a bummer- but the concept is so well-executed and the magical conceit is -the answer to the riddle that hides in the center of the book - is explicable and interesting! it's probably more of a 3.5 star rating from me, but it's just so good at what it does.

sometimes I miss reading books in first pe
...more
Lylah
Jul 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I’m in shock at how good this book is, sprouted from such a simple idea—people bound as pawns in a tabletop war game, essentially. This has some staples of Jones’s usual writing: big twists, parallel worlds, a blend of mythology. But it’s also like nothing I’ve ever read of hers. She twists reality so far and conceives such an intricate premise for the basis of the characters’ world(s) that it completely blew my mind. The ending is perfect but dark, a pessimistic choice for a character who has b ...more
Anna Hepworth
Aug 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017, rated-five, reread
This is a book that I very much loved as a kid, and rereading as an adult, I still find the plot (and the twists), the shout-outs to mythology, and the twisty nature of reality as presented in this story to be completely gripping. The characters were a little less interesting than I remember, but there is certainly an identifiable amount of diversity, which is somewhat atypical of a kids book of the time. The plot is detailed, the world-building spectacular (as one would expect from Jones), and ...more
Claudia Piña
No sé porqué no había agregado éste libro si lo he leído varias veces y lo amo.

Es de los libros más melancólicos de la tía Diana miamor y cada vez que vuelvo a leerlo, de nuevo me parte el corazón.

Lo que de me hace curioso cada vez es cómo la añoranza por el hogar propio aumenta con el tiempo, así como la duda de qué es y dónde se encuentra realmente tu hogar. Ese tipo de cuestionamientos le da un matiz diferente a una historia que de por sí ya invita a pensar en el lugar al que perteneces.
Shae McDaniel
Whaaaaaa the heeeeeeeeck did I just read?! I mean, I loved it. I just was not prepared. I thought it was going to be a standard fantasy romp but wow. The story went from 0 to 60 in terms of dark and existential. There are some problematic elements just because it's old (no one who owns another person can be a good person, sorry not sorry), but the rest was A+. I'm going to be thinking about this one for a long while.
Terry
Jun 13, 2017 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.
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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
“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.”
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“There are no rules. Only principles and natural laws.” 7 likes
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