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Out of Nowhere by Maria Padian

Out of Nowhere

by Maria Padian

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Tom is soccer-star extraordinaire, close to the top of the class, and slick with the ladies. And then his world blows up when he actually realizes that there are other people in the world. If this reaches other people, then all the better but it felt a little after-school-special to me. ( )
  Brainannex | Apr 7, 2013 |
This book takes a really good look at a teen boy's attempt to make sense of the community he lives in, which is rapidly changing due to immigration. Although not called such, it's clearly based on Lewiston, Maine, home to Bates College. A wonderful book about class and race in Maine. ( )
  scote23 | Apr 5, 2013 |
Wow. If they ever turn this book into a movie I'd watch it along with the entire horde of my football soccer loving friends.

Review to come. ( )
  shayanasha | Apr 5, 2013 |
Wow. Just...wow. This book takes a fairly common character/plot combination (high school senior who seems to have everything, yet has zero motivation for college/life after high school due to general ambivalence about...well, his entire life) and adds an interesting twist--the addition of hundreds of Somalian refugees to his small Maine hometown.

Tom Bouchard appears to have a pretty easy life at the start of the book. He's captain of the soccer team--which has a decent record, though not great--and one of the most popular girls at school is his girlfriend. His parents are supportive of him, and the largest source of conflict in his life is the fact that his aunt and uncle (his mother's brother and sister) disagree on just about everything. Oh, and the fact that he can't seem to motivate himself to fill out any college applications--but he's just shoving that fact deep into denial land. Making big decisions can happen later. Right now his life is just fine as is.

But it's after 9/11, and suddenly Somalian refugees are pouring into his small town as part of a secondary migration. Tom's fairly easy going about that too--helping out the odd lost student in the hall when his conscience tells him he should, and asking a new student who wears a genuine Manchester United jersey to school if he wants to join the soccer team. Things start to get a bit more intense for Tom after that. He makes a questionable choice or two, and suddenly he's thrust right into the middle of--well, everything. He befriends the new star of the soccer team, but Saeed's English has major limitations, and Tom doesn't really understand either his Muslim religion or culture, though he does eventually begin to make a real effort to do so. Just as things seem to have leveled off, though, Saeed himself becomes the center of one controversy and a larger problem erupts in the town itself, one which pits neighbor against neighbor and prompts a white supremacist group to target their once small-and-sleepy town.

I liked this book because it had realistic characters in true-to-life situations, dealing with real problems in today's world. It had a good message without being preachy, and makes readers--along with Tom--question their responsibility for and place in society without beating them over the head with it. I could definitely see this book as an excellent springboard to talking to teens about many of the larger issues facing us all in today's world, and am very interested in seeing what Maria Padian comes up with next. ( )
  beckymmoe | Apr 2, 2013 |
Tom Bouchard is the epitome of the All-American youth. He is third in his class while captaining the soccer team; he is white, Catholic, of Franco-Canadian ancestry; and he lives in small-town Maine, as he points out, the whitest and (almost) coldest state in the union. When a group of Somali Muslim refugees arrive in his town, it splits the populace between those who support their arrival and those who feel they are all potential terrorists who should all go back to Africa.

Tom doesn't care one way or the other - he just wants to play soccer. However, when several Somali youths join the team, he soon finds himself first admiring their mad soccer skills and then becoming friends with them. When he and a friend get caught attempting a silly practical joke against an opposing school, he has to perform community service at a drop-in centre for young Somalis, Tom realizes he isn't immune from the fight. When he makes mistakes towards his new friends because he can't understand the cultural differences, he feels ashamed especially as it has caused real problems for a young Somali girl and her family.

But then a white supremacist group announces its intention to come to the 'aid' of the white population in this small town and fence-sitting is no longer an option, not only for Tom but for the entire town. Everyone has to pick a side and the differences could splinter this tight-knit little town irrevocably.

Out of Nowhere takes on many of the issues facing young people today - immigration, racism, cyberbullying, religious differences and tolerance - and it does it with a great deal of empathy and sensitivity. Although the story clearly has a liberal slant, even the conservative character (white, middle-aged, working class male) is depicted sympathetically - he may not like the idea of all these black Muslims coming to town but he is also a man who will come to the aid and defence of the town's young screw-up and, when push comes to shove, he will do what he knows is right.

To be honest, I'm not sure why I decided to read this book. My knowledge and understanding of soccer can be summed up in one syllable - huh, I may be the only person on the planet without a Facebook page, and I was fortunate enough to grow up in a time when jobs were plentiful and the transistor radio was the tech choice of disaffected youth. But the book was available and looked interesting and so I took a chance - and I am so glad I did. Although aimed at a YA audience 13 and up, this is definitely a book even adults can enjoy. Author Maria Padian based it on real stories after interviewing young people who had experienced the issues dealt with in the book giving the story a real sense of authenticity. This is a well-written, engrossing coming-of-age tale and, although it deals with some of the most weighty issues facing youth today, it never loses sight of the fact that the purpose of a novel is, first and foremost, to entertain, and Out of Nowhere does this extremely well. One word of caution though, there is a fair bit of swearing in the book so it may not be appropriate for the younger reader or for those who are easily offended by four-letter words. ( )
  lostinalibrary | Mar 13, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375865802, Hardcover)

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.  

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:55:26 -0400)

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.

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