Saturday, April 17, 2010
REVIEW: No & Me by Delphine De Vigan
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Publication Date: 1st March 2010
Advanced Readers Copy, Paperback.
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 in the bathroom and her mother hasn't been out of the house properly for years. But Lou is about to change her life - and that of her parents - for good, all because of a school project she decides to do about the homeless. Through the project Lou meets No, a teenage girl living on the streets. As their friendship grows, Lou cannot bear that No is still on the streets when she goes back home - even if it is to a home that is saddened and desolate. So she asks her parents if No can come to live with them. To her astonishment, her parents - eventually - agree. No's presence forces Lou and her parents to finally face the sadness that has enveloped them. But No has disruptive as well as positive effects. Can this shaky, newfound family continue to live together? A tense, brilliant novel tackling the true meaning of home and homelessness.
No and Me is the story of Lou Bertignac, a talented girl with a particularly high IQ of 160. This is why she is studying in a class full of students who are two years older than her. Her being a lot smaller and less (physically) matured than her classmates makes her seem a lot different from the others, especially how she consumes the humanity and appears to be strangely detached from the people around her.
Lou is a truly outstanding girl who likes to spend her time carrying out fascinating investigations and testing the never-ending supply of ready meals in their house. She tries to put a wide smile on her face and keep herself occupied, even though she knows that behind the closed doors of her home, her father secretly weeps his poor heart out, and her mother hardly ever speaks and very rarely leaves the house. Everything is slowly falling apart.
To flee from this isolated world that constantly surrounds her, Lou roams freely across the city, where she meets No, a homeless girl only a few years older than herself, and makes it her duty to let people now about the poverty on the streets, and decides to take No under her own wing, whilst risking the wrath of her parents.
The two girls connect, and despite the stubbornness of No, and the determination of Lou, they become close, their unusual friendship building.
The story explores the identities of Lou, No and Lucas and how they blend into the outside world. No and Me also works through current issues. It shows the reader how reality can really grasp us like we've never been grasped before, and teaches us about the situation of young homeless women, just like No. There is grief, loss and heartache, and shows us the barriers standing in our way.
I really enjoyed reading this book, the words were sincere and captivating. It showed me there was hope in this world and that we could do a lot more to prevent things becoming like this shady reality.
Thanks to Emma Bradshaw at Bloomsbury for this.