Friday, 15 February 2013

Out of Nowhere by Maria Padian

Out of Nowhere
Blurb (from Goodreads):
At Maquoit High School, Tom Bouchard has it made: captain and star of the 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, who are seeking a better life after their country was destroyed by war—they can no longer go home. 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. Saeed and his family 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.

Out of Nowhere by Maria Padian

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Out of Nowhere(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.

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  1. This probably wouldn't be something I'd go looking for, but it sounds pretty educational in a good way, maybe something I can recommend to one of my nephews. We had what sounds like much of the same insanity in our town with two separate large immigrating groups.

    Great review!

  2. I can honestly say this wouldn't be something I would pick up on my own, but I am sure it has some compelling arguements that I would be interested to read. Thanks for the review. Have a wonderful weekend, Sarah!

  3. Tom seems to be a very likeable character. I guess deep down we all want to help out one another but when resources are limited, our choice of action could change. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us, Sarah!

  4. This isn't something I would usually read either, but glad that it had a strong storyline, and Tom sounds like a decent narrator.
    Brandi @ Blkosiner’s Book Blog

  5. The blurb was pretty boring. I don't think it's my kind of thing either.

  6. Thanks for your review Sarah. I'll probably pass on this one.

  7. Hmm...this looks pike one that would just depress me. I understand why you wouldn't pick it up for awhile...

  8. WOW, this book actually sounds like one I might like. I will have to check it out. I also like that you said the storyline wasn't obvious. Thanks for sharing it, I added it to my TBR list