Summary and book reviews of Like Home by Louisa Onome

Like Home

by Louisa Onome

Like Home by Louisa Onome X
Like Home by Louisa Onome
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  • First Published:
    Feb 2021, 416 pages
    Paperback:
    Feb 8, 2022, 416 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Althea Draper
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About this Book

Book Summary

Fans of Netflix's On My Block and readers of Elizabeth Acevedo and Angie Thomas will love this debut novel about a girl whose life is turned upside down after one local act of vandalism throws both her relationships and 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 the memories she has growing up there with her friends. Ginger East isn't what it used to be though. After a deadly incident at the local arcade, most of her friends' families moved away. Kate, whose family owns the local corner store, is still there and as long as that stays constant, Nelo's good.

When Kate's parent's store is vandalized and the vandal still at large, Nelo is shaken to her core. And then the police and the media get involved and more of the outside world descends upon Ginger East with promises to "fix the neighborhood." 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. Now 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.

Chapter One

My shoes scratch against the uneven pavement, and I know right away that they've been scuffed real bad. I immediately think of my mom—­I pretty much begged her to buy these shoes for me. "Take it out of my college fund or something," I told her, like an idiot, and she laughed in that stiff way she does whenever we talk about money. If she sees them scuffed up so early, I'll never hear the end of it. I'll never hear the end of the shoes, the same way I'll never hear the end of this—­this bra thing. I gotta tell Kate.

It is April, and Ginger East is quiet early in the morning, so my light footsteps sound like heavy boots as I run. The sun creeps over the top of the highest building on the main road, casting stale light on dusty storefronts and barely swept roads. A set of duplexes that used to be cash-­and-­carry outlets stares back at me as I reach the end of my street, Ginger Way. Mom used to buy fish and bedding from there. Two different ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Despite her fun and at times comedic approach, the author does not shy away from hard-hitting topics. At the forefront of the story is the focus on gentrification, population displacement and the economy, alongside racism and policing in North America. In the current political climate that we find ourselves in, books like these are more vital than ever for engaging young people in subjects that matter. However, at its heart, Onomé's novel is about change – not just the change in Nelo's neighborhood, but the change in her friendships, in her body, in her private life and, perhaps most importantly, in how she connects with her community...continued

Full Review Members Only (608 words).

(Reviewed by Althea Draper).

Media Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Onomé delves into the meaning of home and the negative impacts of redevelopment...this novel explains what gentrification can mean to existing communities, beneath its promises of prosperity.

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
The serious topics of gentrification, stereotyping, and inequality are ruthlessly examined without getting in the way of an engaging story of a young woman trying to find her place in a changing world. The effortless diversity of the cast—supporting characters are Black, Trinidadian, and Colombian—is a model for fiction. Light and serious, playful and real, this is a debut not to be missed.

School Library Journal (starred review)
A touching coming-of-age story, this is highly recommended for younger audiences who are looking for alternatives to more mature titles like Angie Thomas's The Hate U Give and Nic Stone's Dear Martin without losing the poignancy of the topics at hand. A must-have for middle school collections

Author Blurb Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé, author of Ace of Spades
A phenomenal coming-of-age story that centers on Black girlhood, the not-so-subtle violence of gentrification, and friendship. Louisa Onomé presents us with a compelling and beautifully written tale about love and loss.

Author Blurb Namina Forna, author of The Gilded Ones
A fierce main character, an enthralling mystery, and a cause to root for. Like Home is a stirring coming-of-age story set in the midst of gentrification and a community on edge.

Author Blurb Roseanne A. Brown, New York Times and Indie bestselling author of A Song of Wraiths and Ruin
Brimming with charm and heart, Like Home is a powerful commentary on gentrification, perfect for anyone who's ever loved a place so much it felt like family.

Reader Reviews

Courtney

Like home
This is such an amazing book! I would definitely recommend this to young adults. It kept me at the end of my seat, I just wanted to keep reading and reading. If you have not read it yet definitely put it in your list.

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Beyond the Book

Young Adult Novels That Address Gentrification

In Like Home by Louisa Onomé, Nelo fights the forces of gentrification and change in the neighborhood that she loves so dearly. Gentrification has become an increasingly popular topic in recent young adult novels, and there are now a variety of titles offering different points of view on the subject.

This Side of Home by Renée Watson cover This Side of Home by Renée Watson follows identical twins, Nikki and Maya, who have grown up sharing the same ideals, whether regarding boys, their family life or the historically Black college they are excited to get into. However, things begin to change when their neighborhood starts acquiring brand-spanking-new businesses and being considered an up-and-coming area. Nikki looks forward to seeing what this change will bring, but...

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