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The Door of No Return

4.49  ·  Rating details ·  319 ratings  ·  92 reviews
Dreams are today’s answers for tomorrow’s questions.
11-year-old Kofi Offin dreams of water. Its mysterious, immersive quality. The rich, earthy scent of the current. The clearness, its urgent whisper that beckons with promises and secrets…
Kofi has heard the call on the banks of Upper Kwanta, in the village where he lives. He loves these things above all else: his family,
Hardcover, 432 pages
Published September 27th 2022 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
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Average rating 4.49  · 
Rating details
 ·  319 ratings  ·  92 reviews

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Sep 22, 2022 rated it really liked it
Shelves: verse, middle-grade
This new series could be the "Roots" for the 21st century. I have enjoyed many of Kwame Alexander's other titles, especially the sports-theme books for middle grade. As a Gen Xer, I am not the intended audience for this book. If I had not already experienced "Roots" in print and on TV as a mini-series, this might have gotten 5 stars. I read this in print, but would expect this title to be especially meaningful on audio.

Thank you to Little, Brown Books for Young Readers and Edelweiss+ for a DRC i
I’ve loved every book I have read by Alexander, but this one is my favorite. And to know there are two more to come in this trilogy makes me think about what I’ve just read even more. Wow!
Kwame has given young readers so many relatable books. This one was the first from him that I have read that really gave history behind the characters. Based in Africa, Alexander dug deeply into what the culture holds. As a white woman, I probably don’t understand it all, but I strive to.
This story is not jus
A powerfully, moving middle grade story about a young African boy who gets stolen and sold into slavery. Perfect for fans of the show Roots or Lawrence Hill's Book of negroes and great on audio read by the author! I'm excited that this is the first in a trilogy and can't wait to see where the series goes next!! Much thanks to Librofm for an ALC of this great new book! ...more
Toya (the reading chemist)
Sep 23, 2022 rated it really liked it
The Door of No Return is incredibly gripping and harrowing story of 11 year old Kofi Offin who is stolen from his village of Upper Kwanta and sold into slavery.

It’s so hard not to fall in love with Kofi and as his innocence as he navigates school life much like any other child and even has a crush along the way.

This story really dives into love, loss, and betrayal. It also shows how insidious slavery is.

Definitely a quick must read, and with that ending, I need to know what’s next for Kofi.

Oct 01, 2022 rated it really liked it
Poetic and lyrical writing that really sucked me into Kofi's world. ...more
Ms. Yingling
Jul 17, 2022 rated it it was amazing
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Powerful historical novel in verse, set in Ghana in the 19th century. Young Kofi goes to a school where the teacher is cruelly insistent they use "the Queen's English" instead of Twi. He has an interest in Ama, a girl he knows who is forced to work at her uncle's house because of her family's poverty, and has big dreams for his future. These are shattered when his older brother accidentally kills another boy in a wrestling match during a festival, and when slave t
Jul 08, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: juvenile-books
Whoa. I have never read anything quite like this. Powerfully moving. This one comes out in September and I already can't wait for book 2. Thank you, Kwame Alexander, for bringing this powerful story to life for young readers and adults alike. ...more
Pain of Chattel Slavery never dulls. Kwame Alexander's story is a must read. ...more
Mocha Drop
Sep 27, 2022 rated it liked it
A young adult, Kofi Offn, is a typical boy on the cusp of adulthood - he has a crush on a girl, admires his older brother, and is adored and coddled by his mother. He’s smart, inquisitive and studious (he secretly enjoys reading Shakespeare) and is a great swimmer. At the onset, Kofi’s world in Upper Kwanta is ordered, safe, and besides a few romps with bullies (a rite of passage for most children), he is happy, secure and looks forward to upcoming festivals and ceremonies that take him closer t ...more
Glenda Nelms
Sep 29, 2022 rated it it was amazing
The door of no return is the first Kwame Alexander book that I have read. It's a middle grade historical fiction novel in verse. The story takes place in pre-colonial (1850s/1860s) Ghana. Kofi, a twelve year old boy who loves to swim, loves a girl named Ana and loves his family. Kofi’s life is turned upside down in a blink of an eye, and he’s left reeling from the consequences of one fateful event. The book is based on real life historical events: when African men and women were sold into slaver ...more
Sep 11, 2022 rated it it was amazing
I picked this up without refreshing myself on the synopsis and I recommend you do that too! I read this in one day and now I'm sitting with this book and these words in a heavy, yet beautiful place in my heart.

It's 1860 in what is today Ghana. We meet Kofi who is part of the Asante Kingdom. He is 11 and loves his family, has a small crush on a girl and loves to swim. We learn about what life is for him as a young boy and what direction he will go as he grows older, but life doesn't always turn
Brandie Shanae Bridges
Sep 28, 2022 rated it it was amazing
This book brought me to tears. The door of no return is a middle grade historical fiction where we are located in the Asante Kingdom, which is now known as Ghana in the year of 1860. In the Upper Kingdom of Kwanta we are following a boy named Kofi who values and loves his family dearly and above all he is a really good swimmer. As we get to know Kofi, we also get glimpses of his teacher who is trying to educated him on Queen Victoria and her reign, but Kofi always has a question in the back of h ...more
Jennifer Guyor Jowett
Kwame Alexander deftly crafts an experience, an emotional journey, a story of love, loss, betrayal, and survival. I felt as if I were gathering threads from an unraveling world across every page and within every word. Eleven-year-old Kofi will pull at your heart. His friendship with Ama will tug there too. His world is one of love. Until it isn't. Kwame's words are a destination. They are an arrival and a letting go. ...more
Sep 24, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: yabc-reviews
THE DOOR OF NO RETURN is a powerful and sweeping middle grade read written in verse. Using the lyrical form, the reader is transported to the life of the 11-year-old Kofi, who loves to swim and has a crush on a girl named Ama. He attends school where his teacher insists they learn "The Queen's English" and who has harsh punishments for their mistakes. Kofi does not mind when he has to read Shakespeare though, and it has made an impression on him.

Life changes when a wrestling match at a festival
Karen Siddall
Sep 26, 2022 rated it it was amazing
A story that hits so many emotions and offers a wealth of opportunities for discussion and further reading.

In The Door of No Return, author Kwame Alexander tells the heartbreaking story of Kofi, a boy on the threshold of adulthood, and his close-knit and loving family. Readers get to know this curious and charming boy and will connect with his adolescent thoughts, feelings, and desires for the future. Young readers will undoubtedly be drawn in and quickly relate to him.

There is joy in the story
Ashley Gulyas
Sep 29, 2022 rated it it was amazing
The Door of No Return by Kwame Alexander is a new middle grade historical novel in verse that’s going to stay with me for a long time. (Thankfully, it’s the first book in a trilogy, so I know there will be more in the years to come.)

The Door of No Return takes us to pre-colonial (1850s/1860s) Ghana. It begins as a coming-of-age story about 12-year-old Kofi, and then we are taken on the journey as his world is turned upside down.

As Alexander has said about the book, “I wanted to speak the truth
Sep 29, 2022 rated it really liked it
Check out my full video review:

In this we follow 11 year old Koffi living his life and chilling! When one day his brother is challenged to represent their kingdom in a brawling match.. the end result has dire consequenses. It is also set in 1860, in a kingdom which now is current Ghana.

This is a beautiful and unique book, written in stunning verse that captures your heart and attention. I was so invested in this story and the pages passed me by. However, I was not a
The Page Ladies
Sep 29, 2022 rated it really liked it
The Door of No Return is a powerful middle grade historical fiction book! It was hard not to like Kofi as he navigates the ups and downs. I loved the references to Shakespeare! It's a story about love, betrayal, loss, and survival. It's a fast read especially since it's hard to put down once you start reading it. The writing is beautiful! I can't wait for the next book! Thank you Tbr and Beyond Tours and Kwame Alexander for sharing this wonderful book with me!
I got an audiobook copy from and while I really liked the narration and story, I think I need to go back and reread the print version. I think much is lost in the audiobook version and I love Alexander's books so I don't want to give a star review until I reread it.

Shauna Yusko
Oct 02, 2022 rated it really liked it
J fiction written in verse. First in a trilogy.
Jul 14, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Unbelievably well done. The storytelling in this book is just fantastic.
David Hankerson
Aug 19, 2022 rated it it was amazing
I was dreading starting this book. I was not in a mood to start something that would illustrate the worst of the human condition. It has been rough year. However, this book is beautifully crafted in verse. It brought all the emotions and yet, left me with a glimpse of how the human spirit can be stronger than our circumstances.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 17, 2022 rated it it was amazing
This was a beautiful and lyrical middle grade book. It was heartbreaking and beautiful. So many emotions while listening to this. The audiobook was fantastic.

I was provided an ALC by which has not affected my review.
Alexander's new novel-in-verse is perfection. This is the story of eleven-year-old Kofi Offin living in West Africa’s Asante Kingdom in 1860. Kofi loves the river, the storytelling Nana Mosi, his grandfather and the village storyteller, and he's surrounded by family love and legacy until he is abruptly snatched from all he has known. Heartbreaking and important and the opener to a trilogy, everyone should read it.
I listened to the audio via's free educator account and after finishing, I
Sep 20, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Aug 10, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Kwame Alexander is one of the gold ticket authors that I could hand to any of my middle school students and reliably know they'd have a solid reading experience, whether or not they were typically interested in that subject matter. He's written so many excellent novels-in-verse for middle graders and young adults, and each and every time, I'm impressed. His words bound off the page, both in their lyricism and their physical representation on the page, and just beg to be read aloud. Kids and adul ...more
Susan  Dunn
This is so well written, but I didn't actually enjoy reading it... It's SO dark and sad and disturbing that I won't be able to get it out of my head for a long time. 11-year-old Kofi lives in a small village on the banks of a river. His life is a good one - he has a wonderful family and friends, and a girl that he is sweet on. But at the annual meeting between his village and the lower one, his brother is selected to compete in a wrestling match that doesn't end well. Angry and wanting revenge, ...more
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Kwame Alexander is a poet, educator, and New York Times Bestselling author of 21 books, including The Crossover, which received the 2015 John Newbery Medal for the Most Distinguished Contribution to American literature for Children, the Coretta Scott King Author Award Honor, The NCTE Charlotte Huck Honor, the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, and the Passaic Poetry Prize. Kwame writes for children ...more

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