BookBrowse Reviews No Safe Place by Deborah Ellis

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

No Safe Place

by Deborah Ellis

No Safe Place by Deborah Ellis
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Aug 2010, 224 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2011, 208 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Tamara Smith

Buy This Book

About this Book

Reviews

BookBrowse:


Three teenage refugees make a perilous journey across the English Channel in a young adult novel from the author of The Breadwinner Trilogy

No Safe Place is my favorite kind of book: one that brings seemingly different characters together and shows that, lo and behold, they are not so different after all. One that illuminates the connections that the characters have, and that, ultimately, we all have.

Deborah Ellis primarily tells the story from Abdul's point of view. Using vibrant details, she follows his journey from war-torn Iraq where he watched his entire family die, to Calais, France where he is a migrant among many, and now on his way to freedom in England. Ellis balances these difficult details with spare prose, giving readers a deep sense of Abdul's experiences while inviting them fill in the spaces with empathy.

The whole novel unfolds in a few short days, and in a small space. This heightens the intensity, and creates a realistic situation in which it makes sense to witness so much emotion and relive the characters' circumstances. The three central characters - Abdul, Rosalia and Cheslav - each explain their history in turn. These flashbacks are carefully placed within the text, after seeing the characters interact in the present, and after feeling the full depth of their present emotions. Because of this, and the multiple points-of-view, the reader is able to draw parallels between the very different situations that led up to this one moment.

The detail, the spare prose style, the compressed time, and the flashbacks in multiple perspectives combine to create a perfectly crafted book. It's an utterly breathtaking read that sheds light on issues that the children of the world face - children in our world and in our time.

Deborah Ellis says of her work, "We have created a world where most children live in some form of war, and I write about them to try to do honour to their strength and courage. I have learned that there is no such thing as 'other people's children.' The world's children are a blessing to all of us. They are also our responsibility."

No Safe Place is a fascinating story that urges us to remember that unless we are all safe, none of us really can be.

Reviewed by Tamara Smith

This review was originally published in November 2010, and has been updated for the September 2011 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.



This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  Deborah Ellis

One-Month Free Membership

Discover your next great read here

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Good Me Bad Me
    Good Me Bad Me
    by Ali Land
    Is a psychopath born or made? This is the terrifying question that author Ali Land explores in her ...
  • Book Jacket: Five-Carat Soul
    Five-Carat Soul
    by James McBride
    In the short story "Sonny's Blues," from the 1965 collection Going to Meet the Man, African-...
  • Book Jacket: This Blessed Earth
    This Blessed Earth
    by Ted Genoways
    For the Hammonds, a farming family in Nebraska, the 2014 harvest season started with a perfect storm...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood

"A powerful, provocative debut ... Intelligent, honest, and unsentimental." - Kirkus, starred review

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Seven Days of Us
    by Francesca Hornak

    A warm, wry debut novel about a family forced to spend a week together over the holidays.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Wisdom of Sundays

The Wisdom of Sundays
by Oprah Winfrey

Life-changing insights from super soul conversations.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

A Good M I H T F

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.