Out of Nowhere

Out of Nowhere

4.05 (907 ratings by Goodreads)
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Winner of the Maine Literary Award Called "rich and multidimensional" by School Library Journal in a starred review, Out of Nowhere follows Tom Bouchard: captain and star of the Enniston High School soccer team; boyfriend to one of the prettiest, most popular girls; and third in his class, likely to have his pick of any college (if he ever bothers filling out his applications). But life in his idyllic small Maine town quickly gets turned upside down after the events of 9/11. Enniston has become a "secondary migration" location for Somali refugees seeking a better life after their country is destroyed by war. Tom hasn't thought much about his Somali classmates until four of them join the soccer team, including Saeed. He comes out of nowhere on the field to make impossible shots, and suddenly the team is winning, dominating even. But when Saeed's eligibility is questioned and Tom screws up in a big way, he's left to grapple with a culture he doesn't understand and take responsibility for his actions. The refugees came out of nowhere and vanish just as quickly. And Tom may find himself going nowhere, too, if he doesn't start trying to get somewhere.
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Product details

  • 12-17
  • Hardback | 337 pages
  • 145 x 211 x 30mm | 454g
  • New York, NY, United States
  • English
  • 0375865802
  • 9780375865800
  • 1,642,544

Review quote

Starred Review, The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, March 2013:
"With complex national issues solidly grounded in a thoroughly credible plot, this could be an outstanding vehicle for classroom and book club discussions." Starred Review, School Library Journal, March 2013:
"To classify Out of Nowhere as a sports story sells it short... the novel is rich and multidimensional, addressing the Muslim experience in America, addiction, and romance." New York Times Book Review, February 10, 2013:
"[Padian] offers plenty of story in Out of Nowhere romantic rivalries, class tensions, family pressures. She has a firm sense of plot, and the circumstances her characters grapple with - cyberbullying, the burden of a burnout friend, the pain of growing and changing - will resonate with young readers." Booklist, February 15, 2013:
"Padian has written a sensitive, sympathetic, and insightful portrayal of the plight of new immigrants attempting to acculturate while being forced to deal with casual bigotry. A timely and thought-provoking examination of a continuing dynamic in American communities." SLJ.com, March 5, 2013:
"Fast-paced descriptions of Tom and Saeed's athletic prowess will easily draw in sports fans and Padian brings that same sense of urgency and energy to scenes that take place off the field, from tense, racially charged moments to Tom's budding romance with a girl he meets at the center...This rich and nuanced title will spark plenty of discussion beyond soccer, and teens primarily attracted to the novel for the sports angle will come away with a greater understanding of issues such as racism and social justice."
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About Maria Padian

MARIA PADIAN is the author of Jersey Tomatoes Are the Best and Brett McCarthy: Work in Progress, which was an ALA-YALSA Best Book for Young Adults. A graduate of Middlebury College and the University of Virginia, she has also attended Oxford University and the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference. Born in New York but raised in New Jersey, she now lives in Maine with her family and their Australian shepherd, and was inspired by the events in her community to write Out of Nowhere.
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Rating details

907 ratings
4.05 out of 5 stars
5 34% (307)
4 43% (392)
3 19% (168)
2 3% (27)
1 1% (13)

Our customer reviews

(Source: review request by publisher - Random House Children's Books via Netgalley. Thanks to Random House Children's Books, and Netgalley.) Tom plays soccer, and likes to ignore his college applications instead of filling them in. The small town where Tom lives has a large Somali immigrant population, and not everyone is happy about it. Race doesn't matter to Tom though, and he is happy to help a boy called Saeed make it onto the soccer team. After a practical joke gone wrong, Tom find himself landed with 100 hours of community service, and joins a programme that helps Somali kids get their homework done. Whilst helping out, Tom makes friends with Somali kids, and takes his community service further than expected of him when he starts to help kids with things other than school work. Tom encounters racism towards the Somali people, and tries to smooth things over, but is annoyed when the mayor then takes a stand by writing a piece in the paper saying that they don't want any more Somali immigrants coming to the town because they can't afford them. Are the Somali's really that bad? Do they deserve to be treated this way? And who will stand up for them? I received an invitation to read this book on Netgalley, and I'll admit that I wasn't sure if I wanted to read it or not. I can't really say that I found the blurb all that interesting. This book had two themes - the racism, and soccer/football, although the two were also intermingled. I liked how Tom was so open, and didn't really see people as different colours. To him Saeed was a good football player first, and a Somali second. He didn't see why people had a problem with Saeed being Somali rather than American, and he always defended the Somali's when it was needed. I understood the mayors arguments - I can see why people might be annoyed if they felt that people were coming into the town and taking things that they hadn't earned - such as homes and benefits, whilst the people who had lived in the town all their lives were not given the same treatment. But at the same time the Somali people needed somewhere to live, and bullying on a one-to-one level was not going to solve the immigration problems. There were some discussions with regard to religion and religious beliefs, and also about ages and green cards, and other issues the Somali kids had, as well as some romantic issues for Tom. The storyline wasn't obvious, and I wasn't able to guess what would happen at the end. Overall; not really my kind of thing, but has a solid storyline, and covers quite a lot of difficult issues. 6 out of 10.show more
by Sarah Elizabeth
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