Neither Out Far Nor In Deep

Young Adult - Social Issues
167 Pages
Reviewed on 05/22/2022
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Author Biography

Leah T. Williams was born and raised in St. Kitts, a beautiful island in the West Indies. With her family, she resides in Central Florida where she teaches Language Arts to her sometimes wonderful middle schoolers. Neither Out Far Nor In Deep is her first novel.

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Neither Out Far Nor In Deep is a work of fiction in the interpersonal drama, cultural issues, and coming-of-age subgenres. It is intended for the young adult reading audience and was penned by author Leah T Williams. We find ourselves exploring the fascinating relationship between the Caribbean and American cultures in this invigorating novel, which focuses on seventeen-year-old protagonist Kadeem. After getting into increasing levels of trouble in school, Kadeem’s mother sends him to stay with her father on the island of St. Kitts, where the distractions of city living seem like a far-off fantasy. Here, Kadeem’s attitude to life begins to change as he starts to understand his mother’s heritage and how it relates to who he is, and who he can become.

These kinds of cross-cultural exploration books are essential reading for schools and youngsters everywhere in an ever more divided world, and I applaud author Leah T Williams for crafting such a sensitive and fascinating portrayal. I was highly impressed with Kadeem as a central character, whose personality is in flux, but realistically so for a young man coming of age, and I appreciated seeing first-hand the influences and experiences which shape him into his adulthood. I also found the descriptive quality gorgeous, highlighting so much of the atmosphere and stunning visuals that St. Kitts has to offer in a very cinematically described fashion. Overall, Neither Out Far Nor In Deep is a highly recommended read, filled with high-quality emotional drama, on-the-button sociocultural issues, and a central character you’re sure to adore.

Pikasho Deka

Neither Out Far Nor In Deep is a young adult coming-of-age tale by Leah T. Williams. After embroiling himself in yet another fight in school, seventeen-year-old Kadeem Johnson once again finds himself suspended, much to the chagrin of his mother, Gwendolyn. Tired of her son's antics, Gwendolyn books a flight out of Orlando and, with Kadeem, travels to her ancestral island of St. Kitts. Much to Kadeem's displeasure, she leaves him with her father, a no-nonsense old-school islander with a distinct accent who takes it upon himself to teach young Kadeem the ways to adulthood. Initially angry at his mother for leaving him in another country and reluctant to pay attention to his grandfather's words, Kadeem slowly learns to assume responsibility for his actions and sees a whole new world outside video games and junk food.

Full of humor and heart, Neither Out Far Nor In Deep is a charming coming-of-age story that puts a smile on your face. Author Leah T. Williams' young adult novel follows a young man's foray into the land of his ancestors as he learns to outgrow his past mistakes under the tutelage of his eccentric grandfather. The characters are believable and grounded, making them all the more relatable. Kadeem's evolution from a naive city brat to a young man who embraces the island life feels authentic and organic. His relationship with his grandfather was one of my favorite aspects of the book. If you're looking for a well-written coming-of-age tale, this is the book for you.

Michaela Gordoni

Neither Out Far Nor In Deep by Leah T. Williams is a story about a spoiled 17-year-old who is sent off to live with his grandad in St. Kitts. Kadeem has been getting into fights at school. His single mother is at her wit's end. Without warning, she packs Kadeem’s bags and takes him to the airport. When he gets to his grandad’s house, Kadeem and his grandad are equally surprised to see each other. Upon Kadeem's mom’s tearful request, his grandad takes him in and enrolls him at the local high school. Kadeem doesn’t know how he can fit in with the heat, his grandad’s strange ways, and the island way of life. But a beautiful girl named Tess helps make it seem not so bad after all. Being in St. Kitts gives Kadeem the tools he needs to grow up.

I thought that Leah T. Williams did a great job of getting into the head of a teenage boy and expressing his thoughts. Not just what he thought, but how thought. Neither Out Far Nor In Deep is a brief and entertaining read. I think it will interest teens to read it as many will be able to relate to Kadeem, including my teenage self. It is one of those books that, through the protagonist's development, help the American reader lose some of their own perspectives in order to learn about and understand things about other countries and cultures. Neither Out Far Nor In Deep is a young adult book that is sure to appeal to many.