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Outside Nowhere by Adam Borba 

A surprise-filled and unique coming-of-age story that is both whimsical and wonderful.

Parker Kelbrook is looking forward to spending a lazy summer with his best friend, Kevin, on a sunny beach in the Outer Banks. However, his father and Ms. Birdseye, a family friend and father’s employer, have other ideas for him: working as a junior lifeguard at the local recreation center. But when Parker manages to foil the dreaded summer job, even before his first shift starts, he thinks he’s home free and headed for the beach. Instead, his father sends him across country on a train to a farm in the middle of nowhere to help grow radishes. 

Parker is the last of the five summer boys to arrive at the farm, and none of the others are particularly enamored of his humor or charm. In fact, Walter, the largest of the group, is downright hostile. It turns out Ms. Birdseye is his aunt, and Walter has already had his fill of Parker just from listening to his aunt sing his praises. Slowly, Parker starts to get the hang of things at the farm, and despite his initial misgivings and a couple of mishaps, he settles in and becomes part of the group there. 

As summer hurries by, Parker and the other boys notice strange, impossible things happening around the farm. How did Martha the cow end up on the roof of the barn? And when Parker breaks one of the farmer’s few rules, he learns the hard lesson that sometimes actions have unexpected and unthinkable consequences. 

Outside Nowhere is a warm and whimsical story of a boy’s magical summer on an unusual farm in the Midwest. Parker had lost his mother, and it was just him and his father and their friend and father’s employer, Ms. Birdseye. A bright child, Parker has lost his way since his mother died, and his actions have become thoughtless and somewhat out of control. The adults in his life have tried nudging him in a more promising direction, but his costly prank at the recreation center swimming pool proves the need for stronger tactics, hence, the farm stay. 

Parker’s voice is both precocious and witty, and the deadpan dialogue throughout the book had me laughing out loud. Readers of all ages will be surprised by what is revealed about the farm, and the scenes of discovery will delight everyone. However, there are lessons for Parker to learn, and there are moments when harsh reality shows its face. 

I recommend OUTSIDE NOWHERE for middle-grade readers, and with its wit and charm, whimsy and magic, even reluctant readers will be tempted by this new chapter book. 

I voluntarily reviewed this after receiving an Advanced Review Copy from the author or publisher through NetGalley and TBR and Beyond Book Tours.

 

Book Info: Outside Nowhere by Adam Borba, Genre: Middle Grade Contemporary, Length: 272 pages, Publishing Date: October 18, 2022

 

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