The Door of No Return by Kwame Alexander

Disclaimer: I received this e-arc from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Book: The Door of No Return

Author: Kwame Alexander

Book Series: Standalone

Rating: 4.5/5

Diversity: Black MC and characters

Recommended For…: middle grade readers, prose, poetry, historical fiction, 1860s Africa, slavery

Publication Date: September 27, 2022

Genre: MG Historical Fiction Poetry

Age Relevance: 12+ (violence, gore, death, vague reference to sexual assault, religion, suicide shown, slight romance, slavery)

Explanation of Above: There is some violence and blood gore in this book. There is death shown and mentioned in this book briefly. There is one very vague reference to sexual assault and a character decides to take their life by throwing themselves over the ship. There are some mentions of religion throughout the book. There is a slight romance where the MC has a crush on a character. There are mentions and showings of slavery.

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Pages: 432

Synopsis: 11-year-old Kofi Offin dreams of water. Its mysterious, immersive quality. The rich, earthy scent of the current. The clearness, its urgent whisper that beckons with promises and secrets…

Kofi has heard the call on the banks of Upper Kwanta, in the village where he lives. He loves these things above all else: his family, the fireside tales of his father’s father, a girl named Ama, and, of course, swimming. Some say he moves like a minnow, not just an ordinary boy so he’s hoping to finally prove himself in front of Ama and his friends in a swimming contest against his older, stronger cousin.

But before this can take place, a festival comes to the villages of Upper and Lower Kwanta and Kofi’s brother is chosen to represent Upper Kwanta in the wrestling contest. Encircled by cheering spectators and sounding drums, the two wrestlers from different villages kneel, ready to fight.

You are only fine, until you are not.

The match is over before it has barely begun, when the unthinkable–a sudden death–occurs…

The river does not care how grown you are.

As his world turns upside down, Kofi soon ends up in a fight for his life. What happens next will send him on a harrowing journey across land and sea, and away from everything he loves.

Review: I am not one for prose for the most part but this book was so compelling that I couldn’t put it down! I loved reading this book and I thought the book had a Roots feeling to it. The book is sad, but hopeful in the end and the book is very historical. It does great to keep the events that happened factual, but written in the ways that a middle grade reader would be able to understand and comprehend. The world building was great and the character development was as well.

The only issue I had with the book is that sometimes it did a back and forth narrative that was a bit confusing, but overall I loved it so much.

Verdict: It was good! Highly recommend!

Book Info:

The Door of No Return by Kwame Alexander

Genre: Middle Grade Novel-in-Verse Historical Fiction

Publishing Date: September 27, 2022

Synopsis:

Dreams are today’s answers for tomorrow’s questions.

11-year-old Kofi Offin dreams of water. Its mysterious, immersive quality. The rich, earthy scent of the current. The clearness, its urgent whisper that beckons with promises and secrets…

Kofi has heard the call on the banks of Upper Kwanta, in the village where he lives. He loves these things above all else: his family, the fireside tales of his father’s father, a girl named Ama, and, of course, swimming. Some say he moves like a minnow, not just an ordinary boy so he’s hoping to finally prove himself in front of Ama and his friends in a swimming contest against his older, stronger cousin.

But before this can take place, a festival comes to the villages of Upper and Lower Kwanta and Kofi’s brother is chosen to represent Upper Kwanta in the wrestling contest. Encircled by cheering spectators and sounding drums, the two wrestlers from different villages kneel, ready to fight. 

You are only fine, until you are not.

The match is over before it has barely begun, when the unthinkable–a sudden death–occurs…

The river does not care how grown you are. 

As his world turns upside down, Kofi soon ends up in a fight for his life. What happens next will send him on a harrowing journey across land and sea, and away from everything he loves.

Content Warning: slavery

Book Links:

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/60021207-the-door-of-no-return

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0316441864/

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-door-of-no-return-kwame-alexander/1140830600

Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Door-No-Return-Kwame-Alexander/9780316441865

Indigo: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/the-door-of-no-return/9780316441865-item.html

IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780316441865

About the Author:

Kwame Alexander is a poet, educator, publisher, and New York Times Bestselling author of 36 books, including SWING, BECOMING MUHAMMAD ALI, co-authored with James Patterson, REBOUND, which was shortlisted for prestigious UK Carnegie Medal, The Caldecott Medal and Newbery Honor-winning picture book, THE UNDEFEATED, illustrated by Kadir Nelson, and his NEWBERY medal-winning middle grade novel, THE CROSSOVER. A regular contributor to NPR’s Morning Edition, Kwame is the recipient of numerous awards, including The Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, The Coretta Scott King Author Honor, Three NAACP Image Award Nominations, and the 2017 Inaugural Pat Conroy Legacy Award. In 2018, he opened the Barbara E. Alexander Memorial Library and Health Clinic in Ghana, as a part of LEAP for Ghana, an international literacy program he co-founded. He is the writer and executive producer of THE CROSSOVER TV series on Disney+. The fall of 2022 will see the release of book one of a new trilogy, THE DOOR OF NO RETURN.

Author Links:

Website: https://www.kwamealexander.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kwamealexander

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kwamealexander/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/326609.Kwame_Alexander

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KwameAlexanderBooks/

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