Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Boys Without Names” as Want to Read:
Boys Without Names
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Boys Without Names

by
3.93  ·  Rating details ·  2,351 ratings  ·  368 reviews
For eleven-year-old Gopal and his family, life in their rural Indian village is over: We stay, we starve, his baba has warned. So they must flee to the big city of Mumbai in hopes of finding work and a brighter future. Gopal is eager to help support his struggling family until school starts, so when a stranger approaches him with the promise of a factory job, he jumps at t ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published January 19th 2010 by Balzer + Bray (first published December 31st 2009)
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 Boys Without Names, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Adil I think so, Gopal also thinks without speech marks or italics etc.
Jacob Yes, They do I am not at the part yet but soon yes.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.93  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,351 ratings  ·  368 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of Boys Without Names
Andrew Munroe
Jan 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
I got this book a few years ago and didn't pick it up until now and wish I read it earlier. to be honest once i started I figured out what the ending would be like even without reading part of it. It was a fairly decent book and I want to read another book like it.
Adji
Sep 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a part of summer reading, this is one of the two books I read over summer. This is an A-MA-ZING book that I highly recommend reading. This book's protagonist, 11 year-old Gopal, really reminded me that even though you are in a bad position, there is always a way to persevere. I mean this boy was kidnapped for over 3 months, yet he somehow managed to escape which is amazing. Read this book people!! Seriously.. it'll teach you so many things.
Reader
Oct 27, 2010 rated it really liked it
My sole difficulty with this book was the fact that it may have caused me to grind me teeth into tiny nubs. Gopal has moved with his family from rural India to an unsanitary and rather packed area of Mumbai with a relative. Having lost his father along the way, Gopal is determined to set out and earn money for the family himself. Unfortunately his intrepid nature sets him up to be a perfect kidnapping object. Next thing he knows he's in a small attic with five other boys, forced to put beads on ...more
Mathis Bailey
Dec 10, 2014 rated it liked it
A simple fast read with a whole lot of heart. The premise is about a poor 13 year old Indian boy who gets kidnapped and sold into child labor making picture frames in India. The story is grim and heavy, but reads very quickly. The writing is vivid and tugs on the heart strings. I finished this novel in two sittings... very engaging. You can't help but to root for the protagonist to get out his dire situation. I would recommend this book if you enjoy books such as Room by Emma Donoghue. I'll give ...more
Tiffany
Jul 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
My 11yo son & I read this book as part of his 6th grade reading challenge list. We both liked it very much. Dealing with the very real issue of child labor in countries like India, but in a way that is age appropriate, this book is well-written and enjoyable as middle grade literature. Slight spoiler on the ending: it ends in a "happy ending" as much as the subject matter can, and while as an adult it's not quite satisfying and seems a bit canned, for 6th graders it seems age appropriate, like j ...more
Sandra Stiles
Nov 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
Living in the United States we often forget about the atrocities that go on around the world, such as child labor. Gopal and his family must sneak off in the middle of the night from their tiny village and go to Mumbai. The family has borrowed money and the interest is keeping them in debt. Gopal’s uncle has left them traveling money. On the way the family realizes they don’t have enough money. The father leaves them on the street alone while he tries to reach his brother’s house. He gets lost. ...more
Alexeena
Sep 22, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The subject matter of this novel had great potential. It tells the story of Gopal's family who are forced to flee their village and try to find work in Mumbai, to avoid usurious moneylenders. Whilst the protagonist is likeable, plot action is slow: the first eighty pages, for example, comprises only their trip to the city. Soon after their arrival Gopal is tricked into working in a sweatshop, which highlights the horrendous conditions experienced by children in this situation. At the end, a numb ...more
Madeline Lara
Apr 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It was a pageturner especially for those who like realistic fiction about our current world problems.
Tami
Mar 20, 2012 rated it liked it
Author Jacqueline Woodson described this book as “not a heartbreaking story, even if there are moments that break the heart.” This is absolutely true and one of the reasons I would consider this as a read-aloud selection in 3rd or 4th grade.

It tells the story of an 11yr old boy in India whose family has lost their farm and travels to Mumbai looking for jobs that will help sustain them as well as provide education for their children.

Gopal, thinking he has found a job to earn money for his famil
...more
Julie
Feb 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kidlit
Sometimes I buy books specifically to fit a curricular need. There's a local assignment that requires 5th or 6th grade students to read about contemporary children growing up in a foreign culture. When this ARC arrived in the mail, I pegged it as one to recommend for that assignment.

Fortunately, the book also happens to make compelling reading. I had to know what happened to Gopal, an optimistic, storyteller of a boy whose family is forced by a debt collector from their Indian farming village in
...more
Debbie McNeil
Dec 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This haunting and relevant tale sheds light on children of poverty in the third world. The characters come so alive that when their story is resolved (albeit a a bit too quickly), I find myself still thinking about the boys and wondering about their future.
Sunshinecoast
Nov 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
At first the story was something where I wasn't sure how all of a sudden he was going to end up as a slave in a factory, when he was with his family for a majority of the book. But it took a turn about half way in and I believe that it was one of the best books that I have ever read.
Maria
Nov 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
***********************SPOILER ALERT***********************************
Have you ever thought what tomorrow could be like? Gopal didn't think his life would change completely in just one day. The genre of this book is Realistic Fiction because the events that happens in the book might actually be happening around the world. I thought the novel Boys Without Names was a great book it tells you information about what might be happening to someone around the world, while its making the reader actual
...more
JumbleofJargon
3.5 stars

Aloha fellow reader, just thought I'd save you time in case you're looking for a summary of this enrapturing own-voices novel; you will not find a summary here.

Initially I felt, the writing style didn't seem to match the unknown youthful age of the protagonist, Gopal. However, as the story progressed, the tone and style of Gopal's voice seemed to suit him more. The writing style didn't change. I think I just got to know him better.

In hindsight, I think his tone felt older than it actua
...more
Zak
Sep 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was very interesting and introduced you into the lives of six boys who live in India who were beaten and worked without pay, forced to stay in a small building making beaded frames for their boss who kept them there away from their families after kidnapping them. The book is fiction but is based on all the children who are being labored around the world in harsh environments rather then growing up and being with their families. The book took place over a few months from when the main c ...more
Ali
Mar 05, 2019 rated it it was ok
Okay, let me start on a good note. It's readable at best and fast-paced. It also has an amazing and happy ending. It also shows the value of friendship and teamwork. And it shows that child labor is a problem.

Now onto the bad. Gopal is such an idiot and he is so gullible. We read this book as a class assignment and the teacher asked us "What would you do if you were in Gopal's situation at the sweatshop" and I told my friends that I wouldn't be stupid enough to be in Gopal's situation. Even as a
...more
Rodrigo Sanchez Martinez
May 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book has so much potential, it is a big history.The boy Gopal a boy who has been written as a real character really impress me, the way he meet the boys and make that pact remind me about friend ship, a part that the kids are different from each other you can sense like if they really brothers.
Some parts of the book are little dark for a book I tough would be for kids, but apart from that, the book really trap you in it it makes the times go faster, some of the chapters move really slow but
...more
Joy Kirr
Dec 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Oh, did I want Scar to be punished more than any other character I've ever read about... Gopal's family needs to leave their town without paying their debt, so they flee to Mumbai. While there, they get separated from his father, and so Gopal tries to find work. He gets stolen, instead, and becomes Scar's slave, with five other young boys who won't say a word to each other...
Sarah
Jan 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Sarah by: Joann Pluckebaum
This book features a boy named Gopal in India as his family suffers the hardships of moving to the city for a better life. Gopal tries to help his family as best as he can through this difficult time and ends up in a even worse situation for himself.


This book has so much emotion in it as you read of this poor boy going through so much, it really makes your value what an easy life we have here. I am more aware of India's poverty situations and their child labor. This is a book everyone should re
...more
Sovotchka
Something I like about Kashmira Sheth is that she can convey a different culture and a complex topic in a way that is understandable for children and enjoyable for older readers.

She uses the words that children in her country, India, use - 'Aai' for 'mother', 'Baba' for 'father', 'kahani' for 'story' -, and even though there is a list at the end of the book, you don't really need it, because the narrating child, Gopal, manages to tell us the meaning of words without lecturing.
Gopal also shows u
...more
nithi
Sep 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Realistic and captivating. Some scenes feel unneeded, such as the long intro, but other than that will have you thinking the entire time. Where Gopal lacks depth in character, the other boys make up for it entirely. Overall, a great read whilst being entertaining & informing. ...more
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
Gopal and his family move from his village to the city of Mumbai to avoid the neverending cycle of debt his father has been drawn into. However, once in Mumbai, his father disappears while trying to find the way to his brother's house, leaving the rest of the family alone with very little money. After waiting a few days, they make it to Uncle Jama's house, but their father isn't there. Worried about money, Gopal decides to look for a job. What he finds is a world of child labor in an unhealthy, ...more
Luke
Nov 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Unfortunately for eleven-year-old Gopal and his family, his life in their poor Indian village is over. Gobal's family includes his Aai, Baba, and his twin brother and sister Naren and Sitta. They flee to the great city of Mumbai because of their poverty and great debt. They will stay with Gopal's uncle Jama. But on the way, they are faced with many problems. These include losing their beloved Baba and not enough money to travel all the way to Mumbai. Gopal, eager to find work to help Jama pay fo ...more
Alan Kussainov
Apr 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-just-right
I have just finished reading this book and I truly loved it. I liked the plot because it had many twists to it, and made everything seem easy while it really wasn't, characters were a little bit shady, which was great because that made me wonder and think a lot about those people really were, whether Gopal should trust them or avoid them, where they came from, how did they possibly ended up working on the factory with Gopal and etc. The ending was simply awesome, when the police arrived and save ...more
Sarah
Nov 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
I have found value in reading books that deal with the customs and culture of otber countries. As Americans, I think we generally fal to realize how luxurious our lives are compared to most other countries. This book is a great introduction for a late elementary reader of the harsh realities of child labor in India. There are some serious subjects for discussion, including extreme poverty, kidnapping, and physical abuse, but I believe this could be a good introductory book for 9+ year olds to le ...more
Heather
Jul 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The story of a young boy who goes to Mumbai with his family to seek a better life but gets kidnapped into slavery instead. Through his story he is able to make a connection with the other boys, but how can they ever get free?

I found this book to be so powerful and beautiful. You explore the new sights and sounds as Gopal is introduced to Mumbai and you feel his excitement at being able to help his family. When he realizes he has been kidnapped your heart breaks with him and you continue to feel
...more
Donalyn
When Gopal's family is forced to leave their rural village and move to Mumbai for work, he is tricked, kidnapped, and forced to work in a sweatshop making picture frames. Locked into a dark room at night with the other nameless boys, he tells stories. At first, these are the fictional tales he told to entertain his brother and sister, but eventually, Gopal and the other boys share the stories of their lives and how they wound up in the sweatshop.
Kunal
Sep 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comfort, childhood
It was a good book with a good concept. The story was brilliant and it was very emotional and heart gripping at times. The writing style was also very good. The only thing I disliked about it was the lack of time presence (as the author kept hopping back from the present to the past/future). I didn't expect the ending and it was something that I found was really interesting of how a small thing was used for such an important cause (the flashlight)
Vardhaman Lodha
Oct 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
I think that boys without names is an excellent book and even though it is slightly Long, the pace never slows down and it keeps on getting more and more mysterious and interesting. The middle is probably my favourite part because it shows us true friendship between these 6 children, despite the circumstances. Even though the ending is kind of predictable, on the whole it's a really good book.
Beth Baryon
Jul 01, 2012 rated it it was ok
This was a super depressing book about Indian boys enslaved as child laborers. They tell each other stories to keep their spirits up and there's a lot of neat information about India, but it was hard to keep reading.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Did you like this book? 2 12 Jan 19, 2015 09:19PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Bamboo People
  • Courage for Beginners
  • The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg
  • Sophia's War: A Tale of the Revolution
  • Escape from Aleppo
  • Amal Unbound
  • The Breadwinner (The Breadwinner, #1)
  • The Only Road (The Only Road #1)
  • Squint
  • Shooting Kabul
  • Strange Birds: A Field Guide to Ruffling Feathers
  • Show Me a Sign
  • Shine!
  • The Bone Knife (Dauntless Path, #1.5)
  • Harbor Me
  • Ghosts (Magic Tree House Research Guide, #20)
  • Treasury of Greek Mythology
  • The Witch Who Was Afraid of Witches
See similar books…
73 followers
Kashmira Sheth grew up in Bhavangar, Gujarat, for eight years, when she was three she joined Montessori school. She lived with her grandparents, because her parents lived in Mumbai three hundred miles away from Bhavangar.
At eight years Sheth, left Bhavangar, for Mumbai.
She did her studying there until she was seventeen. She left Mumbai, to go to college, in Ames Iowa to do her BS at Iowa State Un
...more

News & Interviews

Myths and mayhem, the fantastical and the scientifically plausible, these are readers’ most popular sci-fi and fantasy novels published in the ...
69 likes · 12 comments
“My name is Sahil,” he says as he looks up. “Someone told me it means leader.” 1 likes
More quotes…