Sunday, February 27, 2011

No and Me by Delphine De Vigan

The international award-winning story of two girls from different backgrounds, united in friendship

Parisian teenager Lou has an IQ of 160, OCD tendencies, and a mother who has suffered from depression for years. But Lou is about to change her life—and that of her parents—all because of a school project about homeless teens. While doing research, Lou meets No, a teenage girl living on the streets. As their friendship grows, Lou bravely asks her parents if No can live with them, and is astonished when they agree. No’s presence forces Lou’s family to come to terms with a secret tragedy. But can this shaky, newfound family continue to live together when No’s own past comes back to haunt her?

Winner of the prestigious Booksellers’ Prize in France, No and Me is a timely and thought-provoking novel about homelessness that has far-reaching appeal.
 (from goodreads)

Ahhhh, this book is just CHARMING.

I had no idea what to expect or if No and Me would be my kind of read ~ I really didn't expect to LOVE it as much as I did. It's a really different read to most contemp YA's I've read lately ~ which could be because this is imported and translated from French. 

I think this is the kind of book that some people will ABSOLUTELY ADORE and soak up and fall in love with. It may also leave other people scratching their heads and 'just not getting it'

I am in the FALLEN IN LOVE category :)

It's very much a book for people who appreciate literary fiction, lyrical writing and just poetic and gorgeously funny sentiments. This is due to the CHARMING and unique narrator, Lou ~ who has leapt on to a list of protags I ADORE.

I'm not going to go much into the plot (you should discover it for yourself) but it centres around Lou (who's 13 ~ but skipped two years of school and is with the 15 year olds) and No ~ who's 18 and homeless. I wondered if it would be too MG for me (with a younger narrator) ~ but it's the opposite ~ it could easily slip into adult sales with it's intelligent and gorgeous protag and it's outstanding prose. It really is a cut above in terms of YA literary fiction ~ I was continually pausing to re-read sentences and paragraphs and just to make sure I was not missing out on even one perfectly placed word.

Alongside Lou and No, there's Lou going to school (and the usual coming of age school stuff ~ parties and a crush ~ there's always a guy, hey ~ and assignments) and also Lou's parents ~ who I loved as characters. Lou's mum was beautifully handled ~ there's some painful family history and some mental illness and it was achingly told.

The plot unravels at a steady pace, gradually revealing secrets and also moving forward to a conclusion that makes you feel like you just don't know what is going to happen. (I really didn't ~ it could have gone so many different ways)

But it's not the plot that had me enthralled (although I was invested in the story). It was the writing. I felt like I could keep pausing to jot down half the book into my journal of favourite quotes. I haven't crushed this hard on writing for a LONG time ~ it was perhaps reminiscent of Maggie O'Farrell and Sonya Hartnett for me ~ authors who make me gasp and think and just revel in words and ideas and sentiments. 

Overall ~ it's a hopeful book, it'll break your heart a little, it'll make you think. It's nostalgic of the teenage years and the hope and optimism that surrounds them. It celebrates wanting to change the world, believing you can while at the same time feeling completely swamped and disenchanted and wildly fluctuating between everything. It's about family and friendship and growing up. It's just lovelylovelylovely. Le sigh...

It's FRENCH YA (oooh, la la) from an award-winning novelist. It's gorgeously different and begging to be read.

Has anyone read this? Tell me you LOVED it :D

No and Me @ goodreads

And a few different covers, just because :) 
I'm loving the 'No & Ich one ~ gorgeous and evocative!


  1. I almost picked up the book in a bookstore, but put it back down. It was a mistake, it seems. I know I will enjoy thus book since you compared it to Maggie O'Farrell's books which I love. Thanks for the review, Nomes!

  2. I've been wanting to read this for ages! I didn't realise the protag was only 13, but since you said it could easily cross-over, I don't mind too much! Thanks for the review, I'll definitely be looking out for No&Me the next time I go book shopping :).

  3. Oh my gosh this was at my bookstore! I quite like our cover. Lovely review! It sounds wonderful :)

  4. Wow. This sounds really beautiful and powerful. What a lovely review.

  5. Wonderful review. I've never even heard of this book and it sounds exactly the kind of thing I would love - the Maggie O'Farrell reference bumped it up my TBB list :)

    I like the cover with the lampost best, lovely,

    Thanks for the review and I'm glad you found a book to adore - always a lovely feeling.

  6. I received this one for review last year, but didn't know much about it at all, so I put it on the reading backburner. After reading your lovely review, I'm going to bump it up the list!

  7. Nice :) This looks like an easy, happy read! Great review.

  8. I read this a couple of weeks ago and also reviewed it on my blog.

    I love contemporary YA that remains sophisticated with its use of language. This novel just oozed class. LOVED it!

  9. glad you loved it.

    definitely a favourite of mine. i love the language too (have ordered a french copy too so can compare)

    there's something about the french...

  10. YA French! Ohmygod. I'm french and never heard about this! I'm sure this book is hidden in the adult section, they often do this. Going to check this out! =X

  11. Love this review! You really make me want to run out and buy it. My favourite cover is the No & Ich one too!

  12. Glad you liked it!!! Thank you for letting me know!

  13. Great review! I almost bought this one a while ago, and now you're making me regret my decision. Will definitely get onto this eventually!

  14. Oh me! ME! Pick Me!!! I read it and its gorgeous!!! As is your review m'dear :)

    I love that you always track down all the different covers too, because they are so different and pretty, but then it makes me wish mine had some of those covers and not the one I have so....

    But GO YOU Nomes :)
    Tye xxxx

  15. I finished this the other day, and I agree with everything you said, Nomes. BOOK LOVE ALERT, definitely. So beautifully written.
    Great review :)
    -Rachel Star

  16. Aww this one sounds delightful Nomes. Thanks for spotlighting it, I do love a beautiful, lyrical read so this one's going on my wishlist!

  17. I just downloaded the Kindle sample and read it last night -- now I want it. I'm looking for books translated to English for a certain reading challenge this year, and this may be right up my alley. :)

  18. Another great book introduction. I can always count on you to get me interested in a book I have yet to hear anything about. I will look for this next time I shop. Thanks for a terrific review!

  19. left you a little love on my blog :)

  20. I read and reviewed this a few months ago when it was the Richard and Judy Book Club selection in the UK. Over here there are two different editions: the blue one with the house sillhouette in the teen section, and the lamppost on the adult shelves, which ended up in the Book Club.


Thanks for the commenty love :)