NO NOI'm a title. Click here to edit me NO NO PLACE NO PLACE
Pub Date -- January 28, 2014I
SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL
No Place. Gr 7-10–High school senior Dan Halprin is the star pitcher on the baseball team, has been offered a scholarship to Rice University, and is dating wealthy Talia. When his parents lose their jobs as a stockbroker and youth athletics coach, and then their home, the family is forced to move into Dignityville, a tent community in the center of town. Humiliated and angry, Dan struggles to maintain his self-confidence, relationships, and aspirations. When townspeople complain about providing land and services for the homeless, Dignityville becomes a target for threats and violence. Just as Dan begins to understand the attitudes and dreams of other Dignityville residents, he learns that his despondent father has been coerced by Talia’s father, a local real-estate magnate, into helping destroy the tent community. In the end, forgiveness, an upturn in work opportunities, and the generosity of neighbors help the Halprins get back on their feet. This compelling social commentary challenges stereotypes about homeless people and offers a look at homelessness from the perspective of a middle-class teen. Diverse characters, easy dialogue, realistic school and community settings, believable tension, and references to John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath fuel Strasser’s well-paced, engaging narrative. Coping with their personal financial catastrophe, wanting to stay in their familiar town, finding work, accepting charity, and maintaining self-respect are issues that weigh heavily on Dan and his parents. Readers will be drawn into this contemporary story.
Stalwart scribe Strasser returns with this strong contemporary effort, a low-key slow-burner about a topic alarmingly underrepresented in modern YA: poverty. Dan, 18, is a promising pitcher with hopes of being drafted early into the big leagues, but the ongoing financial woes of his family suddenly begin to snowball. They lose their home, their car, and their unemployment checks and must move to “Dignityville,” a shantytown erected near town hall to provide the homeless with a safe place to live. If it weren’t bad enough seeing his dad diving through trash, Dan’s situation rots away at his social life as well. His friends behave awkwardly, his girlfriend is embarrassed, and Dan is too tired to do the kind of practice his sport requires. There is a mystery—someone is plotting against Dignityville to turn public opinion against it—and plenty of convincing parallels to The Grapes of Wrath. Behind it all, however, is a simple, sensitive, realistic portrayal of a teen breakup, which more than makes up for occasional purposeful passages. Timely and important material.--Booklist, November 2013
Strasser tackles unexpected homelessness among the middle class in this affecting novel about Dan, a high school senior and promising baseball pitcher whose family suffers a slow slide from a comfortable life to being taken in by relatives and eventually coming to reside in their town’s tent city. Overcome by embarrassment, anger, and compassion for his fellow homeless citizens, Dan—who is almost too thoughtful and well-behaved (he only once allows anger to overtake him, and stops short of doing actual harm)—sustains credibility as he gives voice to the disbelief and disorientation felt by many in this situation. Strasser (Fallout) endows other characters, including Dan’s parents, with multidimensional responses, and elements of romance and suspense keep up the pace. Opposing points of view about economic balance (including a few didactic passages) help readers understand that there are no black-and-white answers to the questions Strasser poses. Clearly meant to inspire discussion about morality in the face of today’s social and economic problems, the book also delivers an authentic look at contemporary high-school society.
University Bookstore, Seattle: (Highly Recommended)
Gifted pitcher and high school senior Dan has a full scholarship to Rice, but when his college educated parents lose their jobs he finds himself in a situation he never thought possible. "We were supposed to be the ones volunteering to help them." p82 ARC "Then you slowly figure out there's no such thing as "supposed to be" anymore." p. 180 ARC I read Todd Strasser's brilliant and timely No Place in one sitting. An incredibly moving and a much needed book for the current landscape in "the land of plenty." I will be highly recommending Todd Strasser's No Place to teens, librarians and teachers. Thank you Mr. Strasser for writing this book.