From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-Tom Bouchard's small Maine hometown has become a key secondary migration location for Somali immigrants, and the local high school is overwhelmed with helping these students adjust to their new surroundings. As captain of the soccer team, Tom follows his instincts and recruits a Somali player, cashing in on Saeed's talents and unique playing style. In the wake of a racially charged incident on their home turf, the team goes on to beat their crosstown rival, sparking racist reactions both from the opposition and local authorities. To classify Out of Nowhere as a sports story sells it short. Soccer is certainly an element, with a fair amount of play-by-play action (and standard locker-room language), but the novel is rich and multidimensional, addressing the Muslim experience in America, addiction, and romance. Tom is an authentic narrator who deals out life-changing empathy.-Leah Krippner, Harlem High School, Machesney Park, IL α(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
“Grades, sports, and girls have always come easy to me,” muses Tom Bouchard, captain of his high-school soccer team. What happens when, out of nowhere, a phenomenally talented soccer player named Saeed joins the team? Quite a lot, actually. Saeed is part of a new community of Somali immigrants who have arrived in Tom’s small Maine hometown and created quite a stir. Not everyone welcomes them, and though Tom and Saeed become friends, there are those who would like to see Saeed removed from the team. Meanwhile, Tom has fallen for a slightly older girl who is a volunteer at the neighborhood center where he is performing community service. The two befriend Saeed’s sister, and when Tom performs an ill-conceived gesture of sympathy, the futures of both Saeed and his sister are put in jeopardy. Padian has written a sensitive, sympathetic, and insightful portrayal of the plight of new immigrants attempting to acculturate while being forced to deal with casual bigotry. A timely and thought-provoking examination of a continuing dynamic in American communities. Grades 9-12, --Michael Cart