About the book
Out of Nowhere is a young adult book by Maria Padian. The book was published on 12th February 2013 (10th February 2015 in the UK) and is 352 pages long. I received an ebook for review through NetGalley.
Tom Bouchard thinks he has the perfect life; he’s captain of the soccer team, has a gorgeous and popular girlfriend and is third in his class which means he will probably have the pick of any college he wants. In a small town in Maine that can mean everything but Tom’s life quickly gets turned around when Enniston becomes a “secondary migration” location for Somali refugees.
For the people trying to get a better life after their home was destroyed by war, Enniston is not perfect but it is the best they have. Tom never really paid any attention to the Somali students at his school, much like everyone else but things change when a few of them join the soccer team. One classmate, Saeed, is lightning on the field and even make it so the team finally wins some games. But, Saeed’s eligibility to play is questioned, Tom messes up big time with a culture he doesn’t understand and people unlike himself.
What I thought
Maria Padian is an author I had never heard of before requesting this book from NetGalley. I only did so because the synopsis made the book sound so different from anything I had ever read before and I was in the mood for different at the time.
Set in Enniston, Maine, Tom Bouchard is one of the most popular guys in school… unlike the Somali refugees who don’t even get a second look most days. Some of the Somali students barely know any English which makes getting to class hard enough, let alone having to sit through them without a clue about what is going on. I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed the idea for this book and it is one that I don’t think has been written about nearly enough.
A large theme throughout this book is racism and how the Somali people are treated by everyone, not just other students at the school. Tom, however, was not racist at all and didn’t care about colour of someone’s skin. When Saeed joins the soccer team, Tom welcomes him to the team with open arms. It was so nice to see Tom stand up for Saeed when people would put him down for being Somali. There were a lot of mean comments and actions towards Saeed and his friends so it was good to see that not everyone was racist.
What I liked most about this book was seeing the struggle that the Somali refugees went through. Not because I’m heartless and mean but because it was interesting to see what people had to deal with when moving to a completely new place and country and what it could be like for someone who barely speaks the language. I know I would struggle if I were put in the same kind of position.
Padian not only tackles the subject from a teenage point of view but also on a larger scale. The whole town has a divided view on what is going on and how Somali refugees should be treated. It was quite appalling to see people with such power be so ignorant and insensitive to other people’s situations. It would be nice to think that racism, especially in educated adults, didn’t exist anymore but it does, which is a massive shame.
Out of Nowhere is a compelling but challenging read and I enjoyed every single page.