Hey bookish friends, how are you all? ❤️📚
I can’t believe it’s March! To be honest, each day, I always think this year started yesterday!
Today’s post is a review + blog tour post, for Louisa Onome’s Like Home.
Before I start the post, I want to say that the I wanted to post this review yesterday, my tour stop date. But couldn’t do so due to some unforeseeable personal issues. So I’m posting this today.
The story of sixteen year-old Nelo and her turmoiled life after the store run by best friend Kate’s family is vandalized, Like Home shines brightly on its arrival. A fresh and lovely story about friendship, neighbourhood unity, gentrification, displacement – Like Home is really wonderful in writing and storyline.
I really loved the strong and fun friendship of Nelo, Rafa, Kate and Bo. I am honestly excluding Maree from the group as she’s too selfish and way too much attention seeker – who remembered her former friends after the vandalism incident just to get media coverage and maximum video views. The quartet of friends have fun and tense moments in equal weightage in the book. The conversations between the four friends is full of banter and drama, and that lightens up the book, giving it a fresh and fun breadth. And to add more, these chats show the real personalities of each character. And every character – whether MCs or SCs (Secondary Characters). have an important role to play in the book.
And personally, I loved Rafa out of all characters.
Rafa is way too much cooler and has great sense of humor alongside being adorable and handsome. Well, so much handsome, Nelo almost kissed his photo in her class. He is also shown to be having an amazing mind, for he prevents Nelo from making mistakes that could ruin her relationships in Ginger East.
Next, you have Kate. Being of Asian heritage, Kate is shown to be deeply interested in making her career in music, for she makes remixes of well known songs. And Nelo loves her music. After the vandalism incident, Kate acts very differently. She cuts herself off from the outside world and ignores Nelo. I liked her, but couldn’t connect with her rude attitude. And add in it, her ignoring Nelo just for Bo – she almost drove Nelo to social isolation!
Bo – the irritating and kale-loving guy. Nelo and Bo didn’t enjoy each other’s presence at all, and Nelo wanted to drive away him away from Kate’s life completely. I didn’t find him amusing or interesting, apart from the fact that he liked kale and always skipped school after the vandalism incident.
Nelo – the MC of the story, Nelo is very bold, strong and slowly inching towards adulthood. Being sixteen year old, she sets out on a culprit finding mission after Kate’s store is vandalized. Enroute her journey, she comes across Rafa, Bo and Maree – her friends (except Maree) who had shifted to other locales after a violent incident that changed Ginger East for good. She loves Ginger East and Kate very much, and when Kate distances herself away from Nelo after the vandalism, Nelo wishes for things to magically go back normal, so that she won’t bear the pain of losing Kate.
Honestly, I did enjoy Nelo’s character arc, albeit partly. Out of all my questions for the book, most stand for Nelo. And, if you read the book, you’re surely bound to ask questions to Nelo after almost every page. To be honest, I wish Nelo could have been polished a bit more, for she is way too much rude and abusive for a sixteen year old girl. I totally liked her initially, but later on her arc got more shaped like a typical teenager – overburdens herself with all the problems in her neighbourhood, involving herself where she isn’t called, very emotional, getting possessed with Kate’s personal & social life, her uncalled interference in family matters of Kate – I wish the author removed these issues with her. I would have definitely rated her higher than Rafa if Nelo didn’t have these problems.
Another issue I had with this book is it is written in single POV. This book is written from Nelo’s voice only, and that has the book sound monotonous. I wish it had two or three more POVs – one of Kate, another of Rafa and maybe one of either Jake or Mr Brown. I honestly loved the clear portrayal of social issues in the book – gentrification, rising economic taxes, racism, social justice. The book really revolves around these issues, and never ever I found these issues to be chickened out for adding glamour in the name of Maree and her fame-minded antics.
The book is written in a really smooth and flowy manner. The honest and emotional writing made this an interesting read for me. And reading a #OwnVoices book for the first time, I enjoyed the book.
Like Home by Louisa Onome is a good read for every reader who wishes to start with diverse books. A fun and emotional journey of Nelo and Kate, having social issues and drama in equal amounts, the book deserves love for an honest and neat depiction of love, unity, compassion and power of media. Trust me, you’ll surely like it, for it is an amazing and an important read for all people.
Rating – 7/10 ❣️❣️
TITLE: Like Home
AUTHOR: Louisa Onomé
PUBLISHER: Delacorte Press
RELEASE DATE: February 23rd, 2021
GENRE(S): YOUNG ADULT FICTION–Contemporary
Fans of Netflix’s On My Block, In the Heights, and readers of Elizabeth Acevedo and Ibi Zoboi will love this debut novel about a girl whose life is turned upside down after one local act of vandalism throws her relationships and even her neighborhood into turmoil.
Chinelo, or Nelo as her best friend Kate calls her, is all about her neighborhood Ginger East. She loves its chill vibe, ride-or-die sense of community, and her memories of growing up there. Ginger East isn’t what it used to be, though. After a deadly incident at the local arcade, all her closest friends moved away, except for Kate. But as long as they have each other, Nelo’s good.
Only, Kate’s parents’ corner store is vandalized, leaving Nelo shaken to her core. The police and the media are quick to point fingers, and soon more of the outside world descends on Ginger East with promises to “fix” it. Suddenly, Nelo finds herself in the middle of a drama unfolding on a national scale.
Worse yet, Kate is acting strange. She’s pushing Nelo away at the exact moment they need each other most. Nelo’s entire world is morphing into something she hates, and she must figure out how to get things back on track or risk losing everything—and everyone—she loves.
About the Author
Louisa Onomé is a writer of books for teens. She holds a BA in professional writing from York University and is represented by Claire Friedman at InkWell Management.
A part of the Author Mentor Match round 3 cohort, she is also a writing mentor and all-around cheerleader for diverse works and writers. When she is not writing, her hobbies include picking up languages she may never use, trying to bake bread, and perfecting her skincare routine. She currently resides in the Toronto area.
*I thank team Turn the Pages Tours for giving a spot on this tour and giving me an opportunity to read this beautiful book.*