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No Turning Back: A Novel of South Africa

by Beverley Naidoo

Published by U.S. edition: HarperCollins, 1997
189 pages
ISBN: 0-06-027505-7

Ages 11 - 14

Early one morning, Sipho takes a few coins from his mother's purse and slips silently into the darkness outside his family's shack. He is headed for Johannesburg, where he has heard that boys his age are able to survive on their own, living in the streets. He feels he has no choice: running away is the only way he can escape his stepfather's frequent beatings. The gang of street children Sipho joins offers camaraderie and the hard wisdom they have gained on the streets. They show him how to earn some money pushing grocery carts for shoppers and helping people find parking places. They share the cardboard slabs they use as beds, as well as the glue they sniff to dull the cold and the pain so they can sleep. Naidoo's compelling novel provides a stark portrait of post-apartheid South Africa, where life is still cruel and, for street children like Sipho, dangerous. Amidst the violence at home and the violence on the streets, Sipho must figure out whom he can trust as he tries to build a new life for himself in a new South Africa. CCBC categories: Fiction for Teenagers; Historical People, Places and Events.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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