Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Published: 1st March 2010
Number of Pages: 256
Book: Borrowed From the Library
Genre: Realistic-Fiction, Fiction, YA, YA-Adult Crossover
Recommended Age: 12+
Contains: Alcohol, Drug References, Mild Swearing
No Violence, Death
‘When I was with No, you could have drawn a circle round us, a circle I wasn’t excluded from, which enclosed us and for a few minutes protected us from the world.’
Lou Bertignac has an IQ of 160 and a good friend called Lucas who gets her through the school day. At home her father cries in secret and her mother hasn’t been out of the flat properly for years.
Then Lou meets and becomes friends with No, a teenage girl living on the streets, and asks her parents if No can come to live with them. No’s sudden presence within Lou’s fractured family has an explosive force that will change the lives of Lou – and her parents – for ever.
A brilliant challenging and thought-provoking novel about the true nature of home and homelessness.
Lou is very, very smart – perhaps too smart for her own good. Her family is broken, damaged beyond recognition by the death of Lou’s baby sister. So when Lou meets No, she finds a way to escape. No is homeless, and Lou is determined to help her. Can Lou help alcoholic No off of the streets? Or will No be the one to fix things?
I adored this book. It just, I don’t know, spoke to me. I could hear Lou’s voice – with a wonderful French accent, of course – as I read, could feel her spirit. The writing was incredible: simple, yet somehow detailed at the same time. I just sped through, unable to put it down, loving every moment. Truly, completely amazing.
Lou, our narrator, was such a brilliant character: so clever, yet so innocently ignorant at once. She was so old for her age, so mature, but was just so naive when it came to things such as boys. Lou liked to watch people, to figure them out, invent lives for them, a habit I admittedly have myself. She asked so many questions that made me wonder also, answered just as many and amazed me with her random little facts and experiments. She was just amazing, inspirational. She had to grow up so fast, and was so, so brave, loyal, trusting and sweet. I know she will stay with me for a long time.
Her best friend, Lucas, was her complete opposite: he couldn’t care less about school, was far older but was just so brilliant with Lou. His parents weren’t there, so he had to look after himself as well. He was so strong, just a generally great guy: smart, sweet and caring.
The third and final main character was No. She was rather strange, and hard to figure out. Sometimes I loved her: she, too, was good with Lou, and was an inspiring person. Others, I just wanted to shake her and yell: ‘how can you do this to yourself? How can you be so stupid?’ But, once all of her past had been revealed, I realised that the reason for my shaking-wish was because I truly cared about her. I wanted what was best for her, and my heart ached for her.
Quickly, I have to mention Lou’s parents. Her dad was just great: so caring, always looking after Lou, putting up with her odd experiments and always ready to help her answer the questions she had. I loved him. Her mother, on the other hand, wasn’t as easily likable. Yes, she’d had a hard time, losing her baby. But I think she forgot that she had another child, one who not only lost her sister, but also her mother. The family aspect was incredibly strong, and really did make me think more about family issues and dynamics.
Once again, I can’t tell you all how much I loved this book: I just couldn’t stop reading. It was incredible: moving, thought-provoking and challenging, I loved every single moment. I laughed, I cried, I smiled: it was beautiful. And the theme was just so powerful. How often do you think about the homeless people you pass in the streets? Do you think about why they’re there? Do you think about how you can help them? Lou was young, small, with family problems of her own, but she thought about all of this. I think we can learn a lot from Lou.
4¾ Out of 5
4¾ Out of 5
Read this book if you liked:
Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
The Double Life of Cassiel Roadnight by Jenny Valentine
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