Help me ID this book!
April 1, 2010 4:32 PM   Subscribe

BookFilter: Please help me identify a YA sci-fi book I read as a teenager in the 1980s. Full description inside.

Plot: a group of boys in a foster home are sent by the (evil) people who run the home on a journey into a fantastic world. They have some kind of powerful vehicle to travel in. Eventually at least one of the boys gains psychic powers. The last part of the book is about the struggle between the boys and the people who sent them on the journey.

I think the author's name was Wallenstein or something very similar to that.

Thanks for your help. Although I read this over and over as a child, I'm beginning to think I dreamed this book up...
posted by halfguard to Media & Arts (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I don't know that book, but could it have been William Sleator? He wrote loads of awesome books about disenfranchised teens having fantastic (and scary!) adventures.
posted by moxiedoll at 5:20 PM on April 1, 2010

Response by poster: Hmmm...don't think so, moxiedoll. I looked at descriptions of all of Sleator's books and none of them fit.

Thanks for reminding me about Sleator, though. Interstellar Pig - I loved that book!

I remembered some more details about the book, though. It was very thick - probably 500-600 pages. Also, it would have been published before 1992. (I can pinpoint that year for personal reasons).
posted by halfguard at 6:16 PM on April 1, 2010

Alan Dean foster comes to mind, but I don't know of anything specific he has written that matches that description.

Douglas Hill is another possibility.

Can you give us any other details? How did they get to the world? Was it dark or light-hearted? More fantasy oriented or sf based? Rural or urban?
posted by thekiltedwonder at 6:42 PM on April 1, 2010

It sounds somewhat like David Lubar's Hidden Talents, but I don't recall a fantastical journey.

Could it be Alan Mendelsohn, the Boy from Mars by Daniel Pinkwater?

I'd be willing to bet it's not a book by Douglas Hill -- I bought most of them recently in a fit of nostalgia, and your description doesn't seem familiar.
posted by divide_by_cucumber at 7:43 PM on April 1, 2010

A few resources to check out in case this doesn't work



posted by edgeways at 8:31 PM on April 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

I haven't hung out there in a while but the folks on rec.arts.sf.written are scary good at identifying books from vague plot synopses.
posted by hattifattener at 11:33 PM on April 1, 2010

Best answer: Sort of a long-shot; I tried using the author's name as a jumping-off point. Maybe the author is James S. Wallerstein?

I'm having trouble finding much in the way of plot summaries, but No Traveller Returns came out in 1987, is 570 pages long, has a bunch of boys in a weird vehicle on the cover, and is filed under subject "juvenile delinquents," a term I have often seen in cohabitation with "foster-home kids" in YA fiction.
posted by alyxstarr at 11:55 AM on April 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Alyxstarr,

That's gotta be it! I don't know how ya did it, but thanks!
posted by halfguard at 4:55 AM on April 3, 2010

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