Why Join?

  • Add New Books

  • Write a Review

  • Backpack Reading Lists

  • Monthly Newsletter

Join Now

No Turning Back

No Turning Back

Author(s): Beverley Naidoo

Location(s): Johannesburg

Genre(s): Fiction, Young Adult

Era(s): 1990s



Grade 4-8. Sipho’s idyllic country life ends when his nurturing grandmother dies and he returns to his mother’s shack. Shocked to discover he now has a stepfather who is brutal and abusive, Sipho lasts for six months before running away to the mean streets of Johannesburg. He is taken in by a rather tame gang and taught the ropes of survival by the good-natured Jabu. Money for food and arcade games is almost painlessly earned by helping to carry groceries. Joseph, Jabu’s opposite, tries to steer Sipho to ruin by offering him iglue (glue) to sniff. After a traumatic episode with a vigilante group, he is rescued from the harsh streets by a white shop owner who grudgingly gives him shelter in response to the pleas of his daughter. Unfortunately, the man’s malevolent son chases the boy away. Sipho finds Jabu and salvation at a shelter that seems too good to be true. An understanding nun takes him home to visit his mother and new baby sister. With the stepfather conveniently offstage (looking for a job), it appears that all will be well for this family. Reed Business Information

Review this Book

To review this book, please

Log in

Book Reviews

Lead Review

In a starred review, PW called this powerful novel “a rare and moving glimpse” into the life of a homeless boy in the suburbs of Johannesburg. Ages 8-12. Reed Business Information, Inc.

Read review