Out of Nowhere

Performing community service for pulling a stupid prank against a rival high school, soccer star Tom tutors a Somali refugee with soccer dreams of his own.

One thought on “Out of Nowhere

  1. Marilyn & Holly says:

    Out of Nowhere is another book with many layers of issues that will give readers rich opportunities for discussion and expanding their knowledge. It is certainly a topical book with the recent attacks by Shabaab in Nairobi and the threat to Somali refugees in Kenya. The story focuses a high school senior, Tom, who is the captain of the soccer team. His town in Maine has become a migration location for Somali refugees. When four Somali boys join the soccer team it becomes a contender for the state championship. Tom learns about the Somalian culture through his new teammates and also through volunteering at a community center that helps the refugees. The author skillfully integrates issues about how the large influx of refugees impacts the small community. The story shows the difficulties the Somali immigrants encounter as they try to navigate the new culture. I would like to booktalk this title to teens. I think the sports part of the story, the romance and the ways Tom learns about himself through his encounters with the new immigrants would be hooks that would intrigue teens and encourage them to read the book. The part that has to do with bullying through Facebook would be another way to hook teens on reading the book. When I started reading this book I thought it was going to be a sports story and I gave it half my attention. However, by page six, the story had my full attention because the author has already gotten Tom involved with the Somali soccer players. What do you think Holly?
    I enjoyed reading the book, too, Marilyn, for all the reasons you gave. While reading I was thinking about how ambitious the author was to tackle so many issues in one book, but then I began to think about adolescents’ lives, and well, they are tackling a lot of the issues Tom is addressing throughout the text. As adults I think we sometimes forget that the world is so big and there is SO much going on, especially if we decide to limit our focus to just a few issues. This book shows that aware teens often really ARE scrambling to know what’s right or not in so many aspects of their lives.
    I also liked the serendipity of Tom’s life. Good kid, has a good head on his shoulders, and then does something stupid. Gets in trouble, but then the consequences opens up more of the world of which he was just on the periphery, and by stepping up becomes more enlightened (as does the reader). Silver lining and all that for the community, I would think! Tom represents so many young adults who want to do the right thing, but also want to stay in touch with those around them, even as those friends become less and less appealing. What other thoughts came to mind about this book, Marilyn?
    One thing that I found very positive with this book was the portrayal of Tom’s parents and family as well as his coach. Each of these characters was a strong, caring adult who thoughtfully guided the teens they were engaged with. I have read so many Young Adult novels lately where both parents and teachers are depicted in a negative way. I was glad to see how Tom and his friends were given support and advice by adults that helped them meet their challenges. Another aspect about the book was the way Donnie, Tom’s friend, was given support by the community even after he had made a very bad choice that resulted in a car crash. I don’t want to spoil the ending of the book however, it is important to note that the town successfully grapples with the challenges of new immigrants in their midst.
    Yes, this book shows a caring community filled with adult role models that allow for the small community to accept their new citizens. I want to think more about the representation of the immigrant community, especially Saeed and his sister. I want to look at the issues of power in this novel and The Milk of Birds. Furthermore, I want to take a closer look at language and how the U.S. is depicted in the story. There is a lot here to ponder.

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