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The Door of No Return

Kwame Alexander

Andersen Press (12+) 9781839133244 (Paperback)

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Kofi Offin and his family live in West Africa in the 19th century. The first half of the book is simply told and there’s an everyday quality to the story with childhood rivalries, friendship, practising for swimming contests and love. It details the lives, loves and daily experiences of Upper and Lower Kwanta in West Africa. Kofi’s abduction signals a slow journey away from the familiar which makes it all the more shocking and empathic. Themes of war and peace, hate and love, alongside hope and despair are deeply rooted through this heart-wrenching story.

Gorgeous, rhythmic language is used throughout with beautiful and effective imagery. Moments of humour and lightness punctuate the story with hope. The book offers a detailed and emotional rite of passage story as Kofi becomes a man, alongside insights into Asante culture. Mature themes and concepts are portrayed in a sensitive way that can be understood by young readers. The verse format feels highly appropriate to the story which builds upon traditions of African storytelling and legends.  This is not a passive read; it is tough and, in places, harrowing but is always purposeful in its content.  There’s varied use of rhythm which helps to establish mood and pace. Descriptions are at once fulsome and yet are not overbearing. Kofi has a magnetic pull. This is a hard-hitting, intelligent and fresh verse novel. 

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Kwame Alexander

Kwame Alexander is a poet, educator, publisher, and New York Times Bestselling author. His books include REBOUND, which was shortlisted for prestigious UK Carnegie Medal, The Caldecott Medal and Newberry 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+.

Shadowers' reviews and artwork

The Door of No Return was a depressing read, although realistic. The struggles Kofi Offin faces are terrible; like his brother being tortured and killed, and the friends he made after capture dying. Towards the end of the book, it became really sad and devastating. I feel the book would have worked better as a regular story, without poems as I often felt I was reading it without the breaks and couldn't find the rhythm a poem needs. It also got a little confusing when the poem titles were part of the actual poem, and it didn't make full sense if you didn't read it as the start of the sentence. Overall, it captures the life of Kofi Offin well, starting off light, and then moving onto deeper things, and I enjoyed it thoroughly

Aashaz

Ermysted’s

I thought the door of no return was a fascinating book, however It didn't get me all the way, as at the start it took me longer that what it did for the other books and I hate cliffhangers! Also the plot got off track at times, but overall I thought it was a well written book, with a powerful message behind it. The character ideas were brilliant and I loved most of them, for example, Kofi, a charming and relatable character.

Oliver S

Ermysted’s

The story of Kofi Offin takes us on a journey back in time, describing the slave trade and the lack of freedom for many of colour. This book was a very interesting read and I'm conflicted on whether I liked it or not. I feel like the prose style of writing just made the already confusing story, even more confusing! To me, it seemed like an excuse to write in shorter lines as the sections that were in paragraphs at the start of chapters to me made more sense than the rest of the book. However, this book was hard to put down as there were many cliffhangers and lots of action within the story. Additionally, I was disappointed with the ending of the story as I don't think leaving it for the reader to imagine what happens next was a good idea as I would have liked to know whether he survived or not. This disappointing ending made me quite annoyed as although the rest of the book wasn't amazing it was quite gripping but it didn't come to any conclusion. However the vivid descriptions and mild gore were very gripping and made the book more interesting. I think it had a strong idea, but it was quite confusing to read and could have been made clearer without the prose style. Overall, I would rate this book a 5/10 and I think it is suitable for 11+ due to some of the gore in the book.

Lola

PGHS Shadowers

I found that the poem-like style helped with keeping the flow of the story throughout the book. This made the many plot twists add to the story rather than take the reader away from it. Overall, I found this book an enjoyable read, and I especially liked the tribal traditions that added context and backstory to a book that moved quickly.

Stanley D

Ermysted’s

I rate this book 8/10 and is easy reading. I thought Nanamosi Says poem was inspiring. Overall, the poems at the start of the book were Happy and upbeat, the poems towards the end made me feel gloomy and uninspired.

Connor R

Ermysted’s

Mixed feelings about this book: some of the themes were very dark but felt that being told through verse made it more accessible for younger readers. The contrast of the first part of the story to the second was stark. Kwame Alexander portrayed Kofi as a happy-go-lucky young boy at the beginning of the story, who had hopes and dreams for his future. This made the second part of the story even more heart breaking and the scene has been set for the next part of Kofi's and his cousin's journey. We can only guess at the horrors that will lie ahead if they manage to survive but I think I will want to read on to find out more in Book 2.

Mrs C

PGHS Shadowers

I found this book rather strange as it was a book about Kofi Offin and a normal sort of life - but then his brother accidentally kills a prince. Then Kofi Offin is practising his swimming for a competition and then all of a sudden is being held prisoner. This was confusing as it doesn't give a reason for him being captured. Then he sees his brother's life being taken by the order of the king of the country whose prince was killed. Do they not understand that his mother would feel the same way they did when their son/the prince was killed? Then Kofi is walking, I do not find any reason for that until later in the book - which was confusing at the time - and then escaped but is pretty much immediately captured again. He continues walking (and you still have no idea why) until they are handed over to another authority. he is then taken to a dungeon and then a boat. The boat starts sinking about 20 days later. He sees his cousin in the water and then it is the end of the book - What happens to Kofi Offin? What happens to his cousin? Do their families know what's happened to them? I feel that there are not very many answers in this book where I would like answers and it feels like the book ends half way through. I just find this confusing and wrong; there is what I feel, half a book of unnecessary normal life and then not enough of his later ordeal at the end of the book. A good book will leave you with questions but I feel there are too many in this instance.

Edward M

Ermysted’s

This book did take I while to get used to the way it was written and how to know when others were speaking but once you have got use to all of that it is a very good book. Once you get locked into the book it moves quite quickly and it has a very noticeable moral. One thing which I didn't like is that it felt very sudden at the end with alot of death and it didnt really make much sense at the end. 7/10 :D

Eleanor

High Storrs Carnegie Shadowing Group

Incredibly powerful book, in both parts enchanting and effective. I've never come across a prose-written book before but this was gorgeous, and Kofi has an almost charming and relatable aura about him and his passion for his world. I hate cliffhangers and the plot could get slightly convoluted at times (for example the build-up to the wrestling tourney) but is, once again, an incredibly good book with a very unique cultural setting.

Lara

PGHS Shadowers

I really loved "The Door of No Return". The fact that it was written in verse conveyed emotions very well and emphasised important words or phrases. This unique style gives a very special rhythm to the story, almost like breathing with the characters. As I was reading, I just could not stop. I even cried at some points!

Arthur

EJM Carnegie Crew

The Door of No Return, by Kwame Alexander, is a heartbreaking yet beautiful verse novel. It is about a boy, Kofi, who lives in the Asante Kingdom in Africa. He has a nice life, until everything starts to go wrong. I love how Alexander made the verse so intriguing, and how he explored the characters’ emotions, thoughts and feelings so well. I also like how Alexander fuses history, fiction and poetry together, perfectly. Overall, it is a great book, it is very interesting, and I absolutely loved it. I am sure you will too!

Zachary

MTS Northwood

The Door of No Return was a very hard-hitting book, easily taking my top spot so far. One of the various reasons it impressed me, was the way the emotion was conveyed as it really got me thinking about what I would do in that situation. Another reason would be the poem-like structure throughout the book, which further developed its already strong base. In addition to this, the book teaches the kind of black history that you generally don't learn in schools and the use of Adinkra symbols was probably one of the cleverest implements I have ever seen as they are kept hidden until the end when you can re-read the book and will understand it more with the added foresights. The ending of this book matched perfectly with the lead up as it was clearly going to be an open ending but I did not expect it to be at that time and it made so much sense after I had read it. Though the complexity woven into the verses may be too much for some, I found it was just right for me. One thing I did not approve of in this book was the main character as his viewpoints did not match to mine so I became confused at some of the decisions made. Though Kofi was not my favourite, Nana Mosi (the subtle and clever grandfather) was an important character in the story, being seen as the wise mentor for Kofi and he fit the role perfectly. Overall, I find that this novel is well written and well kept to in its poem form whilst also maintaining a heavy plot. Score: Characters:17/20 Plot:17/20 Inspiration:19/20 Total:53/60

Sevan

Ermysted’s

I liked this book, as the characters were very realistic, and it seemed to explain some the issues that were around in that time in Africa. However, I did not like the fact that it was written in poetry, so I would rate this book 6/10.

Dylan

TBGS Readers

I really enjoyed this book, especially the first half about Kofi, Ebo, Kwasi, Ama and Kofi (cousin), It helped me learn about a new culture of Upper Kwanta, the second half was also very good, but very sad and a bit confusing, with the thoughts being more meaningful at the end of the book. The book was written in poetry form but I felt it'd have worked nearly as well as a normal story. Overall, it was a good book which you can't put down until you've read it all.

Aidan M

Ermysted’s

I really liked this book because its very engaging; when you start reading you just can't stop.

warda

Eltham Hill Book Club

nevermind this book makes me want to cry myself to sleep as i dream horrible nightmares about doors you can’t get through and women eating coconut for some reason? i shall be returning this book, and although i was promised gore, i was not greeted with gore in the 10 pages i have laid my suffering eyes upon.. but overall the cover looks pretty decent kudos to the artist for that i suppose. (pls don’t cancel me for this review it’s my honest opinion)

Jasper

Sir Harry’s Shadowers

I liked the format of the book. The vivid style of writing made it enthralling- I struggled to put it down! My one complaint is that I disliked the ending of the novel because no conclusions were drawn so it was not very satisfying.

Verity

Norwich High School Bookworms

The Door Of No Return is a wonderful book written by Kwame Alexander. It not only displays his love for a different culture but it also displays his amazing writing skills and his ability to hook readers in using a verse novel format. The novel is a brilliant coming of age story and sheds light on the terror and horrific events of the North Atlantic Slave Trade through the eyes of the slightly naïve 11-year-old, Kofi Offin. It contains sections about family love, childish crushes, family feud and some historical events about black people. It has everything for everyone and is a nice way to show the world the true story of black culture and history.

Michelle

Brooke Weston Book Busters

The Door of No Return was a very hard-hitting book, easily taking my top spot so far. One of the various reasons it impressed me, was the way the emotion was conveyed as it really got me thinking about what I would do in that situation. Another reason would be the poem-like structure throughout the book, which further developed its already strong base. In addition to this, the book teaches the kind of black history that you generally don't learn in schools and the use of Adinkra symbols was probably one of the cleverest implements I have ever seen as they are kept hidden until the end when you can re-read the book and will understand it more with the added foresights. The ending of this book matched perfectly with the lead up as it was clearly going to be an open ending but I did not expect it to be at that time and it made so much sense after I had read it. Though the complexity woven into the verses may be too much for some, I found it was just right for me. One thing I did not approve of in this book was the main character as his viewpoints did not match to mine so I became confused at some of the decisions made. Though Kofi was not my favourite, Nana Mosi (the subtle and clever grandfather) was an important character in the story, being seen as the wise mentor for Kofi and he fit the role perfectly. Overall, I find that this is a beautifully written book with a strong, unique style and a powerful impact. Score: Characters:16/20 Plot:18/20 Inspiration:19/20 Total:53/60

Sevan

Ermysted’s

It was a really interesting read and was amazingly written. Whilst i already loved verse books, this was exeptional. A lot of different emotions were explored and in all honesty I was sobbing throughout the second half but I would definitely read it again and reccomend it to others.

Emily

St Kaths

I think the book was very exciting, I particularly enjoyed the contrast from the first half of the book to the second and I thought the ending was perfect for the genre of the book. Only thing was the writing layout which threw me off a bit at the start but got used to it after a while. Overall I think the book portrayed the meaning very well and I would definitely recommend it to others. 8/10

harrison

Kingdown 24

The Door of No Returns The Door of No Returns is a book written by Kwame Alexander, the book has been nominated for the Yoto Carnegie award and I think it deserves this award. The book is written in simple, easy to understand language alongside being written in prose (poetry form). This makes it an easy quick read. The subject on the other hand contrasts this. The book covers topics such as young love, coming of age and the slave trade. This book is set in the year 1860. The main character of the story is Kofi, and the book is written from his perspective. The story starts off and loosely focuses on his love for a girl (Ama), but his cousin is also going after her. Later, the boy gets captured and tortured, first by people of a tribe/ kingdom other than his own and later on traded for tobacco and cloths by the white slave traders. Along the way Kofi loses his brother and makes new friends. One of the main themes of the book is storytelling and how it can make the hardest, most difficult of times more appealing. How it can bring a sense of tranquillity to an otherwise dangerous setting. Kofi learns the art of storytelling from his grandfather who tells him stories. Overall, I really enjoyed this book, the idea of it being written as poetry gives it a good flow but also makes the story sink in 10x deeper.

Misia

Abbey Park Readers

This book shows us the reality of how horrible the world was and how and still can be. We follow the story of a 11 year old boy being torn from his life and see his grief for what has been lost. It captures the history behind it drawing you into the book itself.

Amelia

Reepham Readers

I really enjoyed this book. The verse structure had an interesting effect on the voice of Kofi and let the writing be more free. The historical setting was great and I learnt more about that time. It included lots of backstory at the end, teaching Twi words and symbols. The plot had lots of depth and, as the author said at the end, it showed Black history which was nice to hear more about.

Lily

Fortismere

The Door Of No Return is a captivating book. I read it in the space of one evening. The way the story is written and formatted gives it more emotion and power than if it were in a typical novel form. when words were scattered across the page, or in different fonts, or different sizes, that really gave a stronger feeling to the words. The characters within the book have such intriguing stories to tell, which are all very human. The characters can be easily empathised with and related too, which is incredibly important when telling a story. It has a strong narrative, and is brave. It has also helped me understand the actual lives of the Asante people, rather than just the slave trade, and the statistics we're taught. This story shows the background information that is not really provided within history lessons. I love how, at the back of the book, there is a section on the Adinkra symbols, and how these symbols foreshadowed what was to come. that was really clever.

Zoë

High Storrs Carnegie Shadowing Group

The door of no return book review This is a story about 11 year old Kofi who lives Upper Kwanta Africa and loves water Although, in the day the water is fun and playful at night demons whisper from down below. This remains a mystery to Kofi throughout the book. After the civil war between Upper and Lower Kwanta, they only meet once a year for a festival where young men and women are chosen to fight against one another to signify power over the other. When someone close to Kofi is chosen the family expect this will bring riches and reward. However, this is not the case and brings a river of bad luck over Kofi and his loved ones. Reasons why I liked this book: I liked this book because it was very interesting to read about another culture, their celebrations and everyday life. It was exciting to find out what happened next as I didn’t know what to expect. Reasons why I didn’t like this book: I found I couldn’t really connect with the characters in this book as there was only one point of view. This made it difficult to imagine how the other characters felt about the situations. It was also a bit difficult to focus on the story as it was written in verse and some information couldn’t be inferred. Also, some of the content in this book, I found, was a bit gory at times and wasn’t, in my opinion, the things I wanted to read about. Overall, I feel like this book pushed me out of my comfort zone, as it was an entirely different genre and if there was more of the story, I may of been able to get into it, but I don’t think this was the book for me. I rate this book 4/10.

Holly

The Fitzharrys Shadows

The Door Of No Return is an excellent book written by Kwame Alexander. I enjoyed reading this story, it has opened my eyes to some awful things that have happened in the world. The book is based in West Africa, it is set in 1860. The story focuses on slavery, there are some really dark parts that made me think about people in Africa and how their lives may have been. Kofi Offin is the main character in the story, he is an 11 year old boy who has dreams and likes to take risks and enjoys adventures.His character is followed throughout the entire story, the author made me feel like I needed to know what was happening and wondering if Kofi was safe. The story is written in a verse poem style which are like short chapters, you get through them very quickly. I don’t find it easy to read large texts, this book definitely kept me interested and I was proud to reach the end of book 1, there are going to be 3 stories about Kofi. I hope he survives throughout the series. The author uses powerful descriptive language that gave me a really clear picture inside my head and made me feel like I was there alongside Kofi. The end of the book was a little confusing for me, so I had to reread the section a couple of times, however once I reread and understood what was happening everything came together. I hope to find out what happens for Kofi next. The entire book fascinating and at times upsetting. It made me really think about how lucky we are to live in a safe place. This is a book I would definitely read again and a story I will recommend to others, it has lots of cliffhangers that will make you want to read on!

Aimee

The Fitzharrys Shadows

This is another amazing book by Kwame Alexander. This book is spectacular, there are threats death and mysteries about what really is going on. When Kofta's brother dies after killing a lower Kawanta prince, Kofta is kidnapped and taken hostage. Can he escape and survive?

Mahiba

The Reading Queens

The Door of No Return is a book about a boy living in the Astante Kingdom named Kofi Offin. It begins as a book about normal childhood things: rivalries, competitions and lots of swimming, when a person dies at a festival and Kofi finds himself in a fight for his life. The unfortunate thing that I have found in this book is the verse writing. I found this the case because I feel that it seemed a little pointless. Aside from this one problem I found it to be a beautifully written book that tells an important story from a perspective that we don't normally see. Overall I would give this book 9/10.

Simon

The Fitzharrys Shadows

I really like how the book is written in verses because it makes the book feel more tense and helps with the mood.I really like how it has all the Ghanaian slang in which helps build the wonderful picture Kwame Alexander created. One of the best books I ever read. 4.75/5 stars.

Ethan

High Storrs Carnegie Shadowing Group

The story There was even a time in Upper Kwanta, a young boy named Kofi lived a happy life. He had friends, he had family he had annoying teachers, who made him speak English. He was told to stay away from the woods at night which he did, until he went with his brother but found himself alone, brutally forced past, the door of no return. In the book The story was gripping with an intriguing plot, it explored real past events, but without too much detail. It helped me understand more of a different culture and language and the past. I wanted to keep reading, and though there were tense and sad scenes, it was very enjoyable, however, I found the start was slow, and I was confused about who was who. It was not clear that there was a glossary so at the start, I didn’t know what a lot of the words meant. Reviewed I would recommend this book to fans of suspense and foreign, past cultures. Ages for this book would be 11-16 yr. olds I would compare this book with ‘Journey to the river sea’ by Eva Ibbotson because they both have an element of rivers and boats and dreaming. I would rate this book Eight out of ten I didn’t like it at first, but I enjoyed it thoroughly by the end.

Flo

The Fitzharrys Shadows

This was very good but I found it quite hard to keep a track of what is happening because of how it is a new section of the story every page pretty much. I don't think this is my winner.

eve

Beckfoot Oakbank Carnegies

This is a perspective expanding book. After reading through it's seat gripping story I found my self stunned by a new view on the cultures we lost during the colonization of the Americas. The main character Kofi starts out at arms with his other cousin. Paired with his brother and his friend Ebo he takes him on. Despite his grandfathers words of warning. But Kwame makes you believe this is going to be a story of family ties but in a turn of events. After the festival wrestling match leads to the king's son dying. he captures Kofi and his friends and sells them as slaves. After which I was Shocked and bemused but genuinely ecstatic about the turning of the tables.

Theo U

VISTA Academy

I found this book really good. I liked the fact it was written in poems. I liked the moral lessons behind it about following your dreams and family.

Jorja

Wolfpack

Test

SP

SPS Shadowers

A gripping story that sheds a light onto the mistreatment of indigenous peoples living in west Africa by colonial powers. Very well written and the use of words being spread around the page really engages the reader and makes them part of the book. Very much an enjoyable read.

Sam S

Ermysted’s

The door of no return is a heart-wrenching book that brings attention to black history. when swimming obsessed Kofi is captured by a rival village and sold to slave traders, he finds himself realising the value of family ties. I think that this is a wonderful book and I love the various metaphors and similes in it, my favourite is "gold became the god of these outsiders". because this metaphor shows that the outsiders wanted more and more of it. My favourite character is Ebo because I like how he boasts about Kofi's abilities and also believes that berries make you grow taller. I think that writing this book in verse was a really good choice because it made the plot go a lot quicker while still adding description.

Caiden o

VISTA Academy

Kwame Alexander's "The Door of No Return" delves deeply into the themes of identity, heritage, and the enduring legacy of slavery. Through evocative language, and haunting imagery, Alexander takes readers on a poignant journey to Ghana's Cape Coast Castle, where countless Africans were forcibly enslaved. I highly recommend this book as it pushes readers to face the past and embrace the power of resilience.

Yusra

KEVICHG

“The Door Of No Return” is a great novel it is written in verse which is something i rarely see done in books. At first the format of the book confused me , but then i really got into the story. Kofi’s thrilling adventures are enough to keep anyone turning the pages, even if, like me, this sort of book isn’t normally what you tend to lean towards. Alexander and this book are really pushing the boundaries of literature with not only the format of the book but also the occasional foreign word for a touch of authenticity. This is a great book, if not confusing at times, and I recommend it.

Jess

Fiction Addiction

The Door to No Return is a book about a boy named Kofi Offin that lives in Upper Kwanta. He dreams of the water and the river near to where he lives but that all changes when a festival between two rival kingdoms rolls around... I enjoyed the creative layout of the book and the the references to real historical events. I love that emotions are shown and playful nature with siblings. I didn't like that the book was sometimes hard to follow along and the ending was a little confusing so I had to take a minute to think about it. Overall, I liked the book however in my opinion there is room for improvement.

Daisy W

VISTA Academy

The Door of No Return is very well written, as whereas other writers would have probably lost the story or not managed to keep up the poetry style, this book does it perfectly, keeping the beautiful writing style without losing the reader. I thought that the dreams were a bit confusing, and felt a bit detached from the story though. It starts off quite light, but gets brutal in some parts, so I wouldn't recommend it as much for younger readers, but I feel this is really needed and greatly improves the impact of the story. The culture is beautiful, and the writer clearly has a passion for it. Overall, I think this is a incredibly well written book!

Edward L

Ermysted’s

I think this was a good book because it has goor and horror in it also it is a verse book. However, it takes a while to start and could get boring if you aren't a big reader.

James

Sir Harry’s Shadowers

I’ve read five pages and so far i don’t like the way it’s been written out, as the shorter lines don’t make any sense to me. But maybe it will be better if i read more.

Jasper

Sir Harry’s Shadowers

It's a really good book, with a gruesome bit in the middle. The little boy has to watch his big Brother die at a very young age. At the end they swim home and live a happy life, I really like this book.

Libby

Sir Harry’s Shadowers

The Door of No Return is a wonderful and captivating story. Kofi Offin, a young boy who lives in Upper Kwanta, West Africa is surrounded by family friends and cultural traditions. He enjoys swimming, stories and festivals that happen yearly. Suddenly, a dark twist in the story changes Kofi’s life for ever. Can he fight his way back to what used to be his life? I really enjoyed this book, normally I do not like books in verse but this has inspired me to read more! My favourite character in this book was Kwasi, the brother of Kofi. Throughout the book Kwasi was a brave loyal sibling and I really admired this about him. As a result, I think this showed me what all siblings are and should be. Additionally, I think this book highlights the importance of cultural identity and how other people shouldn’t try and change it and shape you into what they want you to be. Overall, I think this is a beautiful, enchanting story and has made me want to read more books in different styles. I would say anybody from 8+ could read this book, but may not understand the morals of some of the stories. I would rate this book 9/10.

Orla

The Fitzharrys Shadows

A masterpiece. I don't like verse poems but this book changed that, with its descriptive writing, it felt as I was there. I love the way this book was based on true events but it is still fiction. Excellent choice by Carnegies.

Mathew

Killy Krew

A perfect mix of light humor, mature themes and storytelling 4 1/2 stars

Artie

Macaulay Book Club

This book is set in Africa and follows a boy’s story through the slave trade era. When Kofi challenges his cousin ,when his brother joins the wrestling tournament and when the wonderfuls find him, everything goes wrong…

Saul

Ermysted’s

The poem-like format enhances reading for younger readers while still not losing its adult concepts. The ending is simple but still takes the reader by surprise and promotes contemplating after reading the book, allowing the reader to contemplate the ideas shown in the book. A truly great book for young readers whilst conveying adult concepts and information on foreign cultures, Kwame Alexander really shows his passions in this book and is brilliant because of it, amazing.

Max

Reepham Readers

the poem-like format enhances reading for younger readers while still not losing its adult concepts. The ending is simple but still takes the reader by surprise and promotes contemplating after reading the book, allowing the reader to contemplate the ideas shown in the book. A truly great book for young readers whilst conveying adult concepts and information on foreign cultures, Kwame Alexander really shows his passions in this book and is brilliant because of it, amazing.

Max

Reepham Readers

I have read and enjoyed Kwame Alexander's books before, so I had big expectations "The Door of No Return"- I am very happy to tell that this book exceeded my expectations! It was written in verse which was not new because it is used in modern literature nowadays, but I thought it was too short which meant that it didn't stay in my mind for long. However the messages were bold and the plot and settings were top-notch, but the story ended on a cliffhanger which was quite sad. A thrilling book exceeding its set benchmarks.

Yuvan

CRGS Book Society

The Door of No Return has a brilliant story and I really liked the setting of it. The only problem I had with the book was that the layout of the book was quite annoying as it only took up half of the page and I felt like there were too many sub-headings on each page.

Jayden

Sharples Shadows

I didn't quite like this book. It was quite complicated with two people having the same name and how some words weren't your typical English words. When Kofi's brother (the main character) killed someone everyone got very mad and said he shouldn't get off with a slap on the wrist. Now Kofi has all the pressure on him. I would rate this a 5/10 and recommend it to 14 years old and above.

Baasit

Ermysted’s

'The Door of No Return' was a fascinating read that really enveloped me in the story. The way the writing was structured was a different experience than what I’m used to seeing, but a nice change at that. I personally love historical fiction, and I believe Kwame Alexander did an excellent job capturing the brutality, suddenness, and misery these people experienced. I loved reading about young Kofi Offin’s daily life, banters, and struggles as he fits into his world. I do wish that we could’ve seen the outcome of the race, have Kofi get that success right before his life is plunged upside down. The chapters with Kofi in the water I especially liked. As a swimmer myself, I can relate to the feeling of peace, of fluidity, that occurs when I swim. Overall, I loved this book and had there been a sequel, I would’ve done anything to get that.

Abbey

ICS London’s Literary Lounge Crew

I found this book unique from any of the other books I have read so far. This is because the story was set in Africa at the time of the slave trade. It showed much of the culture ,stories and history of the people who were there. Also it seemed like the boy (Kofi) was only having to worry about everyday things and his cousin until his brother kills his opponent in the festival which ultimately ends in him being kidnapped.7/10.

Ben P

Ermysted’s

At first I did not understand the plot of this book but as I read more I found it quite interesting. I quite liked how the you don't actually know how the book ends. Another thing that I liked was the shift from normal book to a darker perspective.

hasan i

Ermysted’s

The Door of No Return starts out as a coming-of-age story. Told in verse, the reader gets a sense of the life and community where Kofi, the narrator, lives. He is an adolescent, on the cusp of taking part in an initiation ceremony where he will become an 'adult'. However, events take a dark turn, which lead Kofi to have to grow up quicker than he ever imagined. Kwame Alexander evokes strong images with few words - a testament to his storytelling. This is the first book of a trilogy, and it left me wanting to read more.

Mrs Grundy

Greenford High CSG

I thought this book was really good. The way it was written made it a quick read and the poems were easy to understand. I really liked the characters and the way they interacted. Ebo was one of my favourites and I felt bad when Kwasi died. Overall, a very good book.

Laura

The St. Bede’s Literary Critics

I really liked the door of no return. It was a big book but it read fast as it is written in verse. I love the images at the start which gave a real insight into how they lived in Africa at that time. The description really flowed and I especially love the conversation territory between Amma and Kofi. I did however think that maybe the story went too quickly from a nice time to immediate death and destruction and although this is hard in poetry I would have liked more description. But I did really really like how it all fitted together and the beautiful images that were insinuated by the writer. Overall I really liked The Door of No Return. I would give it 7 out of 10.

Seb

The St. Bede’s Literary Critics

Really great book, I enjoyed it the whole way through. I really love how it shows what could actually happened, while also making it interesting using fiction. I would definitely recommend it!

Jairaj

Ermysted’s

I like this book because the book shows that your dream can also be the key to all your problems like in this book Kofi followed his dreams and it gave him freedom i rate this book a 7/10

baasim

Ermysted’s

I should have been more prepared for the outcome of this book, which is the first in a trilogy, given that I knew it was set in Africa during the time of the slave trade. The first part introduced me to a part of the world and a part of history that I had barely any knowledge or understanding of, and though it starts brutally with a zealous teacher punishing Kofi Offin for not using the Queen's English, I was easily caught up in the beautifully lyrical descriptions of life in Kofi Offin's Ghanaian home. His love of learning, love for his family, his friendships and rivalries and blossoming feelings for a friend, all lull you into believing that life is beautiful, free and only slightly overshadowed by the complicated tribal history of the area. Even when Kofi's brother is involved in a terrible accidental misfortune, even then I laboured under the belief that ancient treaties and years of shared struggle would mean a swift and friendly resolution to the tensions that arise mid-way through the story. So when I say I was unprepared for what happened next, I felt as if this was in fact the point. This book made me realise that it is wrong that I don't know more about, not just the slave trade, but also the rich history of places like Ghana. I should know and I should read this history from the mouths of the people who carry the tales from generation to generation. This book does have some horrible content, but it is necessary content and I look forward to reading the rest of the trilogy and hopefully to seeing this book used in schools. I do love Kwame Alexander's writing and am a fan of verse novels so this was absolutely up my street.

Mrs McCarthy

St. Joe’s – The Book Was Better

The story was good in detail and imagination and I liked that it was based on history. The poems didn’t really use structure as well as they could have, however it was still a decent book.

Aaron

Ermysted’s