Out of Nowhere

Maria Padian, Author
Maria Padian. Knopf, $16.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-375-86580-0
Open Ebook - 188 pages - 978-0-375-89610-1
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-0-375-86562-6
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-299-06409-6
Library Binding - 337 pages - 978-0-375-96580-7
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The influx of Somali refugees into a small Maine town proves eye-opening for senior soccer captain Tom Bouchard. Between the language barriers and unfamiliar Muslim traditions and customs, this “secondary migration” has brought tension, uneasiness, and confusion to his high school and community. Meanwhile, Tom’s friend Donnie persuades him to deface a wealthy rival soccer team’s property; when caught, Tom is sentenced to community service: tutoring Somalis. There, he develops a crush on a college girl and receives an education about Somali culture, which gives him a new perspective on both his history and his future. Padian (Jersey Tomatoes Are the Best) impressively handles many plot threads at once: Tom befriends Somali soccer player Saeed, questions his loyalty to Donnie and his relationship with his girlfriend, and frets over the approaching state soccer tournament. The author gracefully explores the intersections between culture and religion, as well as suspicion and prejudice in a post-9/11 world. Her well-formed characters and realistic circumstances make for a large and powerful story about re-evaluating one’s beliefs. Ages 12–up. Agent: Edite Kroll, Edite Kroll Literary Agency. (Feb.)
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