Twelve-year-old Robert Jacklin comes face-to-face with bigotry, racism, and brutality when he is uprooted from England and moves to Zimbabwe with his family.
Robert's father accepts a job at the British Embassy in Zimbabwe, and Robert is enrolled in one of the country's most elite boys' boarding schools. Newly integrated, the school is a microcosm of the horrible problems faced by the struggling new country in the wake of a bloody civil war. The white boys want their old country back; they torment the black Africans and wreak havoc among themselves. Robert must make careful alliances. Joining the hostile white boys will protect him from the worst brutality, but it will also make him complicit in their crimes. Robert's decision to join the ranks of the more powerful has a devastating effect on his conscience and emerging manhood.
I have not read a book that has disturbed me this much in a long time. It pulls no punches, refuses to romanticize a very complicated time and place, and lays unfathomable questions at the reader's feet. The fact that Out of Shadows is built on the foundation of debut author Jason Wallace's own experiences in a post-war Zimbabwe boarding school makes the book all the more disturbing. And this is a good thing. A great thing. Because Jason Wallace has created a powerful and important story here. (Reviewed by Tamara Smith).
The story’s climax is over the top, but the fast-paced school drama, with issues about guilt, survival, and responsibility, will pull older teens, and adults, too
Starred review. In its portrayal of race relations in a wounded country as well as of the ugly power dynamics of a community of adolescent boys, this novel excels... Ages 14+.
School Library Journal
Starred Review. This thought-provoking narrative offers teens a window into a distinctive time and place in history that is likely to be unfamiliar to most of them.
Even for an age group that prizes bleakness, this is a harrowing read, with no punches pulled on excessive profanity or shocking violence. This is certainly not a book for younger readers, but even with its rough edges, it's a powerful, devastating read for older teens.
Markus Zusak, author of The Book Thief
Honest, brave, and devastating - more than just memorable. It's impossible to look away.
All About Jason Wallace
Here is a short story about perseverance: Out of Shadows was rejected by agents and editors one hundred times before Jason Wallace's current publishing house bought it. One hundred times. And it just won the very prestigious Costa Children's Book of the Year Award (formerly the Whitbread Award). Thank goodness Jason didn't give up trying... or give up hope.
Born in Cheltenham, England in 1969, Jason Wallace is related to J. R. R. Tolkien and is a descendant of one of the first International English cricketers and also of a famous Victorian circus owner named "Lord" George Sanger. Jason lived in south-west London during the early years of his childhood with his mother, but at age 12, when his mother remarried, he emigrated to Zimbabwe. He lived at a boarding school there, which became the foundation of memories he used for his novel, and it...
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