Summary and book reviews of Out of Shadows by Jason Wallace

Out of Shadows

by Jason Wallace

Out of Shadows
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Apr 2011, 282 pages
    Paperback:
    Dec 2011, 282 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Tamara Smith

Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

A compelling, thought-provoking novel about race, bullying and the need to belong, set in Africa.

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.

Zimbabwe
1983
ONE

Go ahead, shoot, I thought, because I was thirteen and desperate and anything, absolutely anything, was better than the fate to which my parents were leading me.

The policeman sat astride his growling motorbike, one hand on his holster, anonymous behind shades. He was one of the outriders for the new prime minister’s motorcade, signaling for cars to get off the road. If drivers didn’t stop quickly enough he was entitled to shoot. If they didn’t move right off the tarmac, he could shoot. If they did stop but the policeman thought the passengers inside looked shifty or saw them messing around, he’d shoot. He was nothing like the policemen back home.

Home, I thought. An old ache swelled in my stomach. England. Britain. So far away. For me, this Africa was another world, and as we sat there watching the rider watch us, Britain felt farther away than ever.

I sighed.

My father completely misinterpreted it and tutted as he showed me his...

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!
  • award image

    Costa Book Awards
    2010

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

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).

Full Review Members Only (532 words).

Media Reviews

Booklist

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

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.

Kirkus Reviews

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+.

The Guardian

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.

Author Blurb Markus Zusak, author of The Book Thief
Honest, brave, and devastating - more than just memorable. It's impossible to look away.

Reader Reviews

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

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.

Jason Wallace 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 ...

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!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked Out of Shadows, try these:

  • Threatened jacket

    Threatened

    by Eliot Schrefer

    Published 2015

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    The story of a boy fleeing his present, a man fleeing his past, and a trio of chimpanzees who are struggling not to flee at all.

  • Tiny Sunbirds, Far Away jacket

    Tiny Sunbirds, Far Away

    by Christie Watson

    Published 2011

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    Set in the Niger Delta, Tiny Sunbirds, Far Away is the witty and beautifully written story of one family’s attempt to survive a new life they could never have imagined, struggling to find a deeper sense of identity along the way.

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member


Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
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!

One-Month Free Membership

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: I Contain Multitudes
    I Contain Multitudes
    by Ed Yong
    If a stranger were to accost you on the street and tell you that, from birth, you have never been ...
  • Book Jacket: Night of the Animals
    Night of the Animals
    by Bill Broun
    Debut novelist Bill Broun is a gentle, exquisite literary surgeon. His protagonist, 90-year-old ...
  • Book Jacket: My Name Is Leon
    My Name Is Leon
    by Kit De Waal
    Kit de Waal's striking debut, My Name is Leon, has inspired this big, long, complicated question: ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Tea Planter's Wife
    by Dinah Jefferies

    An utterly engrossing, compulsive page-turner set in 1920s Ceylon.

    Read Member Reviews

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
Circling the Sun
by Paula McLain

An intoxicatingly vivid portrait of colonial Kenya and its privileged inhabitants.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Blood at the Root

Blood at the Root

"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

D C Y C Before T A H

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.

 
X

Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!



Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.