The nowhere boy ISBN: 9780552546478
Published by Corgi, 1999
The great strength of this story lies in the fact that it is told from the point of view of the daughter of a family that regularly fosters children. Mandy is empathetic, full of compassion, even for the difficult children. She hurts when they leave, particularly when little Rose goes. Rose has been almost a sister, but when the Joneses try to adopt her, social services gives priority to her erratic grandmother instead. As Mandy is working towards her GCSEs, her parents have promised no more foster children for the time being. Then J'hon arrives. For reasons she herself doesn't understand, Mandy accepts J'hon, who looks and acts like an alien, cannot speak, but has some spectacular talents. The book is a tightly written, well-controlled adventure. Mandy and J'hon communicate through their minds, and Mandy comes to understand how his world has come to grief through the same sorts of problems our world is developing. J'hon really is an alien, but his extraordinary capabilities are explained away to everyone's satisfaction except Mandy's. In saving Rose from kidnappers, Mandy learns of the great importance of empathizing and that feeling for others is the only way of saving our world. Very strong on Mandy's (and her mum's) ability to cope with the damaged foster children. J'hon must go back to his world, but Mandy will not forget. Powerful and very moving.