"A resistance novel for our time." - The New York Times
"A hopeful story about recovery, empathy, and the bravery of young people." - Booklist
"This well-crafted and suspenseful novel touches on the topics of refugees and immigrant integration, terrorism, Islam, Islamophobia, and the Syrian war with sensitivity and grace." - Kirkus, Starred Review
Fourteen-year-old Ahmed is stuck in a city that wants nothing to do with him. Newly arrived in Brussels, Belgium, Ahmed fled a life of uncertainty and suffering in Aleppo, Syria, only to lose his father on the perilous journey to the shores of Europe. Now Ahmed’s struggling to get by on his own, but with no one left to trust and nowhere to go, he’s starting to lose hope.
Then he meets Max, a thirteen-year-old American boy from Washington, D.C. Lonely and homesick, Max is struggling at his new school and just can’t seem to do anything right. But with one startling discovery, Max and Ahmed’s lives collide and a friendship begins to grow. Together, Max and Ahmed will defy the odds, learning from each other what it means to be brave and how hope can change your destiny.
Set against the backdrop of the Syrian refugee crisis, award-winning author of Jepp, Who Defied the Stars Katherine Marsh delivers a gripping, heartwarming story of resilience, friendship and everyday heroes. Barbara O'Connor, author of Wish and Wonderland, says "Move Nowhere Boy to the top of your to-be-read pile immediately."
Uprooted from their homelands through vastly different circumstances, two teenage boys form an unusual friendship in present-day Brussels. After a bomb kills Ahmed's mother and sisters, he and his father undertake a treacherous journey from Syria to Greece, but Ahmed arrives alone, his father lost at sea and presumed dead. Once in Belgium, desperate to avoid yet another "reception center... human pens where refugees were crowded together, given expired food, and hollered at by impatient guards," he flees, sneaking into the basement of a house on Avenue Albert Jonnart, named after a man who hid a Jewish teenager during WWII. Max, a misfit American teen who has just arrived at this house with his family, is grudgingly repeating sixth grade at the nearby "School of Misery." Alternate chapters share each boy's perspective with humor and pathos, capturing their sense of profound isolation and fear until they meet each other. Soon Max feels inspired to follow Jonnart's example. Through the boys' deepening friendship, Marsh (The Night Tourist) offers a timely and entertaining tale of suspense and intrigue while eloquently conveying the courage necessary to trust another person in a climate rife with fear, suspicion, and ethical dilemmas. Ages 10 14.