Tuesday 9 October 2018

5* BOOK REVIEW | 'No Fixed Address' by Susin Nielsen

Hey guys, and happy Tuesday! Today I am thrilled to be back with a book review - I am sorry I haven't blogged for absolutely ages, but since the last time I blogged I have moved to Oxford and started my new job - so it's been pretty hectic round here!

However, I have actually read a load of amazing books recently, so definitely be expecting a lot more book reviews coming your way...

Today I am so happy to reviewing a brilliant book I read recently, which happens to have been published last week, called No Fixed Address by Susin Nielsen. No Fixed Address is a moving story following twelve-year-old Felix and his mother Astrid, who through a series of circumstances, end up living in a camper van. Felix thinks it will only be for the summer. But when September rolls around and he has to go back to school, the van is still their home, and things begin to get tricky. After reconnecting with an old friend and making a new one, Felix finds himself having to lie, in case the truth of his situation lands him in the clutches of the Ministry of Children and Child Development. When Felix's favourite TV quiz show opens auditions for kids, Felix believes his luck will change. But will the truth catch him out before then?

I was kindly sent No Fixed Address by Andersen Press in exchange for an honest review :)

Intrigued? Check out the blurb here...

From beloved Governor General Literary Award--winning author Susin Nielsen comes a touching and funny middle-grade story about family, friendship and growing up when you're one step away from homelessness.

Felix Knuttson, twelve, is an endearing kid with an incredible brain for trivia. His mom Astrid is loving but unreliable; she can't hold onto a job, or a home. When they lose their apartment in Vancouver, they move into a camper van, just for August, till Astrid finds a job. September comes, they're still in the van; Felix must keep "home" a secret and give a fake address in order to enroll in school. Luckily, he finds true friends. As the weeks pass and life becomes grim, he struggles not to let anyone know how precarious his situation is. When he gets to compete on a national quiz show, Felix is determined to win -- the cash prize will bring them a home. Their luck is about to change! But what happens is not at all what Felix expected.

I had no idea what to expect going into this book, as I have never read any of Nielsen's books before. However, now that I've read No Fixed Address, I need to grab all her other books ASAP; I loved it so much. Right from the start I fell in love with Felix's voice, he is such a relatable, funny, smart protagonist and my heart honestly ached for him throughout the whole book. Nielsen's writing style is just so warm and sensitive and funny. The writing actually reminded me of The Unpredictability of Being Human by Linni Ingemundsen, which I similarly loved.

Nielsen portrays homelessness in a way that is thoughtful and compassionate, and also realistic. No Fixed Address made me consider things about homelessness that I hadn't thought about before, and also made me feel so grateful for the things I have, and how much I sometimes take for granted.

 I think Nielsen's characterisation was fantastic and I loved all of the characters and their quirks, particularly Felix and his friends Winnie and Dylan. I think that Astrid presented in an incredibly compassionate way. Astrid could have easily been stereotyped as 'the bad mum', but instead the way Nielsen wrote her showed all the different sides of her, how much she had been through, and how partly this was to blame for the situation her and Felix ended up in.

I also loved the quiz show element of the book; it was a very unique aspect that I haven't come across in a YA novel before. I was so happy with how the story turned out at the end, and it really made me think about what we and our government could do to solve the housing crisis, and to always act with kindess, understanding and compassion.

Check out Susin Nielsen here: https://susinnielsen.com

Until next time :)

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