Nowhere Special (Hardcover)

Nowhere Special By Matt Wallace Cover Image

Nowhere Special (Hardcover)


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Author Matt Wallace delivers a deeply moving story exploring that first formative friendship, navigating challenging family circumstances, and finding hope and strength in a forgotten desert town. Perfect for fans of Ernesto Cisneros and Julie Murphy.

The isolation and bullying Stan suffers at school are nothing compared to the war at home. After he tries and fails to defend his mom by standing up to his abusive father, Stan decides there is only one solution to finding a new self-confidence: he must learn how to fight.

Tragic events have split the two sides of Elpidia’s family into fighting factions. Every day she finds herself outnumbered by her cousins on the schoolyard. After the latest beatdown, her grandmother decides Elpidia must learn how to defend herself.

Stan and Elpidia seem like total opposites, but when they both wind up with the same reclusive trainer, they find an unexpected friendship as they work together to overcome their bullies. But when Stan gains the attention of a powerful gang leader, it threatens to pull him away from his new best friend. Will their dreams for the future be enough to get them out of this small town?

Matt Wallace is the Hugo Award–winning author of Rencor: Life in Grudge City, the Sin du Jour series, and Savage Legion. He’s also penned over one hundred short stories in addition to writing for film and television. In his youth he traveled the world as a professional wrestler and unarmed combat and self-defense instructor before retiring to write full-time. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Nikki. You can visit him at
Product Details ISBN: 9780063254008
ISBN-10: 006325400X
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: October 24th, 2023
Pages: 256
Language: English

“Elpidia and Stan’s affectionate and steadfast relationship, as well as their conversations surrounding wide-eyed dreams for their imagined future together, grants this viscerally told story both levity and hope.”  — Publishers Weekly

“Elpidia’s abuela is one of several memorable members in a diverse and richly drawn cast, and the tale is shaped as much by cultural conflicts and identity as by the personal qualities, situations, and close bonds of its two main characters. Heavy going but strongly characterized and hopeful at the end.”  — Kirkus Reviews

PRAISE FOR SUPERVILLAIN’S GUIDE TO BEING A FAT KID: “If self-confidence, friendship, and the never ending question of ‘who are the good guys’ were ingredients, then this book would be an amazing cake. This book also features an amazing cake.”  — Mur Lafferty, author of Solo: A Star Wars Story and Minecraft: The Lost Journals

"An exciting romp full of good advice and featuring a fun protagonist." — Kirkus Reviews

"Confronting the assumption that physical appearance correlates to morality or worth and reinforcing the idea that individual choices and actions show a person’s true self, Wallace writes a triumphant arc of self-acceptance that extends to developing personal ethics and boundaries." — Publishers Weekly

“A funny and heartfelt underdog tale that I couldn’t put down!" — Julie Murphy, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Dumplin’

“Matt Wallace has created a frank, fresh, funny, and FAT take on what it means to stand up for yourself and claim your own power. It is truly original and deeply needed and I can’t wait for every kid to read it.” — Angie Manfredi, editor of The (Other) F Word: A Celebration of the Fat and Fierce 

“A hilarious, playful, and refreshingly relatable take on the superhero genre that teaches the non-caped among us how to discover the hero hidden inside.” — John David Anderson, acclaimed author of Posted and Ms. Bixby’s Last Day

“I wish I had this book when I was a kid, but I’m glad kids have it now. Smart, funny, and sweet.” — Chuck Wendig, New York Times bestselling author of Dust & Grim and Star Wars: Aftermath

Praise for Bump: “My favorite books have two things: A world I’ve never seen before and a great character to experience it with. Bump delivers both in a heartfelt, powerful way. I loved stepping into the world of small-time professional wrestling with M.J. I winced every time she took a hit inside the ring and out, and I cheered every time she got up. What a great middle-grade debut. I truly cannot wait to see what Matt Wallace does next.”  — Greg van Eekhout, author of Voyage of the Dogs and Cog

"The characters and events are rendered with all the beautifully unambiguous melodrama of a wrestling angle: loathsome bad guys, dramatic promos, and undeniably exciting action. Young fans will cherish gaining a deeper understanding of “sports entertainment”—and of the Mexican-wrestling tradition of lucha libre—and newcomers, too, will find in MJ a baby face worth cheering for." — Booklist

"Adult fantasy writer Wallace draws on his own wrestling background to make MJ’s every physically punishing step forward a visceral experience for sports-story enthusiasts, and her steady movement toward independence and the acceptance of her father’s death will gratify middle grades domestic drama readers." — Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

"This book did a pile drive on my heart. I was so quickly captivated by MJ as she navigated grief and excitement, fear and joy. Reading Bump is having ringside seats to a touching, hilarious story that the world so desperately needs right now." — Mark Oshiro, author of Anger Is a Gift and Each of Us a Desert

“I love kids with big dreams, and MJ is a heroine to root for. Bump introduces readers to the world of professional wrestling while also telling a story about grief, friends that become family, and finding your voice. An entertaining and heartwarming read!” — Janae Marks, author of From the Desk of Zoe Washington 

"Matt Wallace makes every pro-wrestling fan's dream come true in Bump. Not only does he know his way around a wrestling ring, but he knows how to tell a story. Middle-school gymnast turned wrestler MJ isn't just trying to find herself, but the courage to be herself, in a world where cliques, cruelty, unfairness, and grief beat you down. But you don't stay down: Bump teaches you that, in both life and Lucha, there's always a surprise move that can save you from defeat and pin your opponent—and your fears—down for the three-count." — Carlos Hernandez, Pura Belpré Award-winning author of the Sal and Gabi series