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Children's Fiction Dogs

Nobody's Dog

by (author) Ria Voros

Scholastic Canada Ltd
Initial publish date
Sep 2012
Dogs, Friendship
Recommended Age
9 to 12
Recommended Grade
4 to 7
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2012
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Sep 2012
    List Price

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A powerful debut novel about a boy who must face his past before finding a way to move forward.

For thirteen-year-old Jakob, the summer is looking pretty bleak. His only friend has moved away and no one else seems to have any time for him - except the girl who lives downstairs. But she's a little weird. Then again, so is Jakob. A few months ago, he was in a car accident that killed both his parents, and though he can't remember exactly what happened, he can't stop turning it over in his mind. No wonder people leave him alone.

Then out of nowhere, a stray dog befriends Jakob. Together they begin to roam the city streets by night, discovering an exhilarating secret world where they can both taste a new kind of freedom. But as their nocturnal adventures take Jakob farther and farther away from the safety of home, the truth of that awful night begins to emerge.

Will he be strong enough to face it - and who will be there for him when he does?

Exploring the heartbreaking loneliness of grief with sensitive assurance, Nobody's Dog is a powerful and uplifting tale about family, love and survival, and finding friendship in the most unexpected places.


About the author

Ria Voros is the author of middle grade and young adult novels that have been recognized by the White Pine Award, the Rocky Mountain Book Award and Best Books for Kids and Teens. She has an MFA in creative writing from the University of British Columbia.When she's not writing, teaching or baking sweet things, Ria can be found hiking to the tops of mountains with her family and two dogs. She believes in recycling, self-care and hot summer mornings. She lives on W̱SÁNÉC Traditional Territory in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

Ria Voros' profile page


  • Short-listed, Rocky Mountain Book Award (Alberta Children's Choice)
  • Short-listed, OLA Silver Birch Award, Fiction
  • Commended, Best Books for Kids and Teens, Canadian Children's Book Centre

Excerpt: Nobody's Dog (by (author) Ria Voros)

From Nobody's Dog:

We walk to the next intersection, which is a main road. A car whips past. Chilko stops at the edge of the sidewalk but I grab his collar anyway. Something's got me by the collar too. It's the twitchy-spine feeling, stronger now, making me want to leave and stay at the same time. I glance at the street sign: Keith Road and Lynnmouth Avenue. A car speeds past, sprays water from its windshield, even though it hasn't rained in weeks. Drops hit my face. As it drives away, I see the glass cleaner spray up, windshield wipers thudding back and forth. The sound is loud in my ears even though the car is long gone: the steady beat in the upside-down car, seatbelt holding in my breath.

My brain switches off, turns on again, and I'm there. Everything is wet and sticky and dark. Someone moans. I can't tell if it's me or not.

Something brushes my hand, something soft. Fur. A car honks, brakes squeal. I look up and I'm in the middle of the intersection. It's a dark, warm night, stuffy air in my throat. Chilko's beside me, waiting for my next move, but I can't seem to make my legs take a step.

"You need help, kid?" The driver of a blue truck has stopped behind us. He's a couple of metres away, headlights shining in my face.

I shake my head. My voice doesn't work.

"Then could you get out of the road?"

My hand finds Chilko's fur. He moves forward and somehow I follow. We make it to the other side and the cars drive on behind us.

I lean into a scraggly hedge that itches my neck. This is it. Was it. The accident happened here. It's just a street like the others. No one would ever know.My knees wobble under me. I thought I'd feel lighter, happier, finally able to breathe, but I just feel . . . more unsure. What happened here? J asks. Why did he crash the car? He always said keep it between the ditches, but he couldn't. Why not? From inside my head, a memory whispers, because of you.

Editorial Reviews

Praise for Nobody's Dog:

"Ria Voros has done a really good job of exploring grief in a very real way . . . there is tons here to think about, even as you're busy enjoying a darn good dog story . . . I would have loved this book when I was a kid." -CBC British Columbia

"Nanaimo resident Ria Voros tackles grief and loss through the eyes of a 13-year-old and his canine companion in her powerful debut novel, Nobody's Dog." -Nanaimo Daily News

"There are no drastic changes, no wise mentor figure appears to supply guidance or save the day . . . There is, however, a good deal of underlying affection between characters and several attempts towards friendship, healing, and communication, again, as in real life." -CM Magazine

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