No Place

// July 3rd, 2014 // Book Reviews

Title: No Place

Author: Todd Strasser


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.

My Book Review:

Have you ever felt horrible for somebody, even though you had nothing to do with it? That’s what I felt for Dan, the main character in the book No Place.

Dan was a middle class teenager in his town of Meridian. He had everything a teen would want; he was popular, he dated the hottest girl in school, etc. But when his family loses their home, they have to live in Dignityville. Dignityville is a town of tents. Dan sees his life rapidly change. But Dan has a much bigger problem. He soon realizes that someone is trying to get rid of Dignityville; and hurting innocent people in the process.

The book gives a lot of detail of what Dan’s life is like being poor. It changes his relationships with his friends. Dan learns that money buys more than stuff, but friendships as well. Most people would be depressed and give up, but instead, Dan stayed true to himself. It is admirable that he tries to be strong and doesn’t give up. I did feel really bad for Dan, though, and for all the other people living in Dignityville. It gave me a new look on poor people.

Dignityville is described in great detail.  People there are hard-working, and want to expand and improve Dignityville. It surprised me that the people living in Dignityville are actually happy. Dan thinks that they are happier than wealthy people. It surprised me because they have no money, so shouldn’t they be sadder? But then I realized that people are happier in Dignityville because they are more free, and don’t have as much to worry about. That’s an interesting idea.

I thought the ending of the book was good, and the book was wrapped up with a nice little bow. It had a real ending. Even though it ended well, it still made me want to read more. There was still more of the story, I guess. It made me feel prepped for a sequel. I think a sequel would be cool because I really want to know what happened to Dan and his family. Do they stay poor? Or do they get money somehow? For some reason I think Dan would be OK either way.

The last book I read written by Todd Strasser was called Fallout. For any historical fiction lovers, like me, READ THAT TOO! It has a really cool plot twist. But, anyway, I was surprised how different Fallout and No Place were. No Place has the same writing style as Fallout, but the premise, the plot, the characters, etc., are completely different.

I rate this book 10 out of 10 stars. I wanted to keep turning the pages, because it was mysterious and cool. I said at the beginning of this review that I felt horrible for Dan. At the end of the book, I still felt pretty horrible for Dan, but not as much as I felt at the beginning of the book. I guess Dan got used to Dignityville, and so did I.

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