November 24

‘No Safe Place’ by Deborah Ellis

No safe placeThe novel titled “No Safe Place” is about a teenager named Abdul. He grew up in a country filled with war. At a young age Abdul lost both of his parents in war in his home country of Iraq. As Abdul attempts to travel to a new country he meets new friends along the way. He also meets people that are not so good. His goal is to get to England. As he travels to England he goes through a lot of difficult situations, such as trying to keep an ill child alive as his uncle attempted to kill him.

This story has messages that are relatable to the real world, such as the struggle of leaving war torn countries to be able to start a new life in a country that doesn’t have such issues. The story is also relatable to people that are in their teen years, because it shows people with characteristics such as having bravery and also having the courage to lead others to a safer place. These characteristics are important and appealing to people in their teenage years because as they grow older they might be called upon to be a school leader.

I would recommend this book to people who are teenagers or people who are in their early twenties because this book contains helpful insights to life and teaches these people about important characteristics that might come into play later in their lives. I would rate this book a 3/5. It was not a book that I personally enjoyed, however you may enjoy the book yourself so try it out for yourself.

Harrison H, Year 9


No Safe Place is a book written by Deborah Ellis. A 15-year-old boy Abdul goes on a long and dangerous journey to England in hope of a new place where he hopes to find a job and live. However he must take many risks in the process.

Does this sound like the kind of book you love to read? If you like action and adventure then this is the book for you.

Abdul is from a small war-torn town near Baghdad. If he can get to England things will change for him. He sets out on a smuggler’s boat in hope of reaching a nice new city of Liverpool where he can then restart his life.

On his way to England Abdul meets new people at first who he does not trust or like. However gets stuck at sea with them so he has to work and trust them in order to succeed.

Abdul is a 15-year-old boy who is confident and has a lot of hope. Abdul has very little trust in people and takes a lot of risks. Cheslav is a 16-year-old Russian boy and is the more heroic leader kind of guy. He too is in hope of reaching England to restart over. Rosalia is a 16-year-old girl. She is the wisest one out of them all. She does not trust or care about any of the others. Jonah is an 8-year-old boy. He is the youngest. He is the smuggler’s nephew, who is afraid and uncertain about things.

I liked this book so much because it ticks all the boxes. I loved the plot of the story and how interesting it all was and how it never bored me. I recommend this book for both teenager and adults and anyone who enjoys an adventurous story.

Michael. B   Year 9


Have you ever felt stranded and isolated? How would you cope? This is the story of Abdul, a young man given a task: to survive. Deborah Ellis perfectly describes each detail of this captivating novel. She emphases on the small but intense question… “What is it like to be a refugee?”

The events that occur within this novel are certainly shape your outlook towards the character and it certainly creates a unique bond between you and the numerous main characters that are fighting for a chance for survival.

The situations he is placed in by the author immerse you in the action and make you feel as if you are within the same situation as the main characters. Near the beginning of the narrative the story starts to give a moral to the story. Through controversy comes friendship.

The book in itself is a very easy read, aimed at ages 12-16 plus. It uses basic and easily understandable vocabulary, and describes scenes in a very complex but easy manner by the addition of some bigger words. In addition to the creative narrative writing the way the story is interpreted through the reader was clearly a key focus to the author so that a sense of immersion could be established.

Overall the story is definitely worth a read. It has a great story that will instantly draw you into the narrative and it is also a relatable read for most ages. In my opinion the book does drag on a bit but right towards the end of the novel the story is resolved and it turns out that through all of the hardship and work by the main characters, and all the stress, the characters finally pull through all the controversy and all of their work finally pays off.

Hunter S: Year 9


Have you ever wanted to know what type of hardship and struggle a refugee goes through to get to a foreign country? Have you ever wondered how much one person can lose in a lifetime? No Safe Place, a short novel by Deborah Ellis published in 2011, illustrated this superbly. This novel has taken me on an emotional rollercoaster causing me to never want to put it down.

This is the life story of the true events of Abdul, Rosalia, Cheslav and Jonah, all originating from completely different backgrounds who converge together as refugees on a boat bound for England. ­­­­But in the end it becomes a lot more than just that. The characters go on a journey of a lifetime together.

This book has all of the intense challenges that life can throw at it. These events entice the reader to create a bond with these real people, in real life situations. Ellis has such a simple and easy vocabulary, her books are appealing to teenage readers, but this ability doesn’t lessen the story or the mental images that she can create in the environment of an immigrant. An example of this is how she describes a brutal storm.

This is a survival story with adventure and struggle, following the life of four teenagers who have gone through it all to get to their ‘promised land’.

I would recommend this book to lovers of The Hunger Games series as it has many similarities and there isn’t too much genre difference. The link between these two books is through the survival aspect of the story and how they have to overcome insurmountable odds to survive.

In a supposedly harmonious world that we know, this book demonstrates that not everyone is living such a peaceful life and that elsewhere people experience extreme hardships and struggle to survive on a daily basis. The way that Deborah Ellis has described and designed the story line, in my opinion she has made this a written masterpiece.

I can assure you that I will miss these characters.

Jaiden, Year 9

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Posted November 24, 2015 by marjk in category Adventure stories, Girls Read, Guys Read, Realistic fiction, Student Reviews

About the Author

Teacher-librarian at Aquinas College, Southport, Gold Coast, Australia

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