Nowhere boys by Elise McCredie

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Hardie Grant Egmont, 2014. ISBN 9781760120160.
Recommended for middle years readers. Nowhere boys, which has been serialised for television, tells the story of four very different boys in Year 10 who become friends in difficult circumstances. Felix is a punk songwriter, Andy an Asian science nerd, Jake a bully with a disadvantaged background and Sam the all-round popular sports hero. When the four are thrust together on a school excursion it seems unlikely that there will be a productive outcome. However, Felix, who feels responsible for his brother's paralysis and hopes to invoke the help of supernatural powers to reverse the past, manipulates the situation so that he can make contact with forces in the forest. The boys become lost and do attract the attention of otherworldly powers. When they make their way home they find that they are 'nowhere'. They either do not exist or have been replaced. Their parents do not recognise them, their homes have changed, even their girlfriends have moved on. Tired, hungry and unhappy they are forced to look after themselves, while trying to find out exactly what has happened. When Felix borrows a spell from Phoebe, the owner of the local magic shop, their troubles worsen when the supernatural powers are antagonised even more. The boys are attacked by swarms of bees, then crows and finally dogs. Specific humans seem to respond to them manically, and it becomes clear that a demon has become disturbed and is attempting to destroy them. Felix realizes that a talisman borrowed from Phoebe can protect them if all four are present. Each of the four represents either earth, fire, water or air, and all four elements are needed. The boys realise that, despite their differences, they do need each other, and they develop a grudging respect for all their different talents. They are restored to their former lives with the help of the talisman, but there are clearly more adventures to follow as the temporarily defeated demon reappears in a new form on the last page. The story is quite simply written though the plot has a number of complexities. The characters are believable, even though each of the boys represents a 'type' and the minor characters are also stereotypes. It is recommended for middle years readers.
Jenny Hamilton