The Nowhere Thief

The Nowhere Thief

By Author / Illustrator

Alice M. Ross


Science Fiction

Age range(s)



Nosy Crow Ltd




Paperback / softback




A mind-bending multiverse adventure about theft, family, and finding your home.

12-year-old Elsbeth has an extraordinary power: she can travel to parallel worlds and bring objects back with her. But as freak weather events become more frequent and a strange boy, Idris, starts to turn up everywhere she travels, she has to ask herself: does her gift come with a price?  Fans of Christopher Edge, Ross Welford and Jessica Townsend will love this fast-paced story and mind-blowing plot! Perfect for readers aged 9 and up.



This is an exciting, colourful sci-fi adventure that whisks the reader into parallel multi-universes (called Spheres), through an incredible kaleidoscopic portal. 12-year-old Elsbeth has, astonishingly, found that she can step through these portals and she does so for the most important of reasons; being fast, sharp, clever and illusive means she can travel into these worlds, find unique,curious and valuable objects there and transport them home with her to be sold in her mother's failing antique shop. Keeping Mr Lennox , the miserly, vindictive landlord at bay has become increasingly difficult and tense. No one knows of this wondrous ability she has (so she thinks) and certainly no one else can perform this unimaginable feat of time and space. Or can they? Elsbeth is not as secretive and stealthy as she believes and between the Spheres, she meets Idris, when he saves her from capture. The two discover that they share this mutual, exciting skill. However, their movements are being noted by the Ministry and travelling through the kaleidoscope proves to be a daring quest, fraught with risk and danger for themselves and for the Spheres . The careful balance of the multi worlds is perilously destabilized by those who travel across them through the openings they make in time and space. In trying to save her family in her own world is Elsbeth, in fact, putting many other lives at terrible risk?

The Nowhere Thief is a carefully and cleverly constructed adventure. It is fast-paced, intriguing and highly inventive with the different Spheres made very real and distinguished from each other by the detail the author pays to each setting. The growth of the characters and the friendship they develop are the core of the story that remains constant. Elsbeth is strong and determined but as her powers grow, and she sees the potential effect they can have in the worlds, she becomes a more outward looking character - more aware of her responsibilities to others.

The fierce friendship and loyalty of Elsbeth and Idris is born of the help they promise each other in search of what is missing in their own original worlds. Idris longs to see his mothers again and make his powerful grandmother, Rancine, proud of him. Elsbeth wants to protect her own mother from the fear of losing their home. United in their missions to rebuild their own lives , the story takes on further twists as Idris's family background opens up a whole new world within Elsbeth's own past, present and future.

The female characters in the story are especially strong and excellently drawn. I liked that the story doesn't gravitate to a single 'villain' to defeat, but rather explores how we all have personal responsibilities and choices that reflect on ourselves and onto others, and how different the paths of our lives can be depending on the positivity of our decisions.

A pacey, fascinating contemporary fantasy story that really does grip the reader and sweep them on a curious and richly imagined adventure.

256 pages / Reviewed by Jennifer Caddick, teacher

Suggested Reading Age 9+


Elsbeth lives in the quiet seaside town of Lewesby with her mother. Their antique shop is failing and, with the landlord demanding rent money which they don't have, Elsbeth has started to use her extraordinary power to solve their problems. Elsbeth can travel to parallel worlds and has been bringing objects back to sell in the shop, but could this be attracting unwanted attention from a mysterious stranger? Then, when visiting another world, she meets Idris, a boy who confesses he has been following her, and the two find themselves in danger…

The Nowhere Thief is a compelling, fast-paced adventure, full of twists and peril, surprises and revelations, which, once started, is impossible to put down! Curious and resourceful, Elsbeth's close bond with her mother and her desire to help lead her to use her ability to explore the 'Somewheres' she is able to visit, an ability which she is unsure about and learning to use, allowing the reader to learn with her. She is also deeply loyal, something which becomes increasingly evident through her developing friendship with Idris. As the reader learns more about them, the contrast between the warmth of Elsbeth's relationship with her mother to that Idris shares with his intimidating and distant grandmother, Racine, makes the reader empathise with him.

This kaleidoscope of worlds is well developed with each having a very different feel, even when visited briefly, with small descriptive details adding much to the overall picture. The story races towards a satisfying conclusion with some final surprises to keep the reader engaged to the very end. It seems to me that there is the possibility of more from this world - and I hope there is!

256 pages / Reviewed by Sue Wilsher, teacher

Suggested Reading Age 9+


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