Monday 14 April 2014

Book Review - No and Me

No and Me
Author: Delphine de Vigan
Genres: Contemporary | Young Adult
Release Date: 23rd March 2012
Publishers: Bloomsbury
No. Pages: 256
Source: Borrowed
Buy From: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble | Waterstones
At thirteen-years-old, with an unusually high IQ and a knack for observing things about other people, Lou Bertignac is not only the youngest in her class at school; she is also the most unusual. Painfully shy, she has few friends, save for Lucas, whose company helps her get through each day. At home, Lou's life is also difficult: Her mother hasn't left the house in years and her father spends his days crying in the bathroom. Lou's world is dark and sad...
That is, until she meets No.

No is a teenage girl that Lou befriends for the purpose of her school project on homelessness. Despite the different worlds that these two girls come from, a friendship is soon forged between them. Unable to bear the thought of No not having a home or a family to keep her safe, Lou persuades her reluctant parents into letting her new friend stay with the Bertignac family. No's addition to the household forces Lou and her parents to face the sadness that has been enveloping them for so long — but not without some disruptions along the way.

Other than the first 11 pages, I read this book in one reading period, over three hours, in a single night, something I very rarely do. I admit, the only reasons I found it acceptable to do this was because I was on a break from college, so waking up wasn't really that big of a problem, however, I shan't be doing it again. Reading this book in one sitting has made it extremely difficult to grasp onto different sections of the book, and naturally, I would be able to split it into a start, a middle and an end, however, this review will end up being a little different, and shorter, because my speed reading.

I found the narration of the story to be close to perfect. I thought that Lou's voice was just naive and immature enough to be honest and truthful, while intelligent and wise enough to understand some of the natural and everyday problems that the society she lives in has. Homelessness is a serious issue, especially in todays society, where especially in the country I live in, the price of living has risen, unemployment is high among older teenagers who've left college and the price of rent is going through the roof. We have a minimum wage that isn't enough to live on alone, and there aren't enough places to help those without a home or who need help and support with young pregnancy and abandonment, while the places we do have don't do a good enough job, such as the child care services or the law. Lou's character covers in this is a way I'd never seen done before; de Vigan was able to get across some serious subjects that other authors would not dare to cover, but say it in such a fashion and way that they appeared natural and come across calm because she used a child's voice instead of a young adult or adult.

I personally found every characters development within this book do be wonderful and honestly developed; not one character seemed to change out of place or become something I hadn't expected and I think it's this feature that de Vigan wanted to focus on; how one small change in one persons life can affect so many people around them, and just how much it can affect them all. Little touches in this book; such as No giving Lou a piece of her life, showing her what kind of life she lived and how it changed her as a person made Lou appreciate the life she already has, and how sometimes there aren't always scientific answers to every question. If allowed Lou to learn that you can't change the world by yourself, or make a difference in somebody's life without it affected your own. You can't expect to change an epidemic just by holding our your hand to one person. Lou and No's relationship was portrayed so realistically and so raw that it had me emotional when I closed the last page. Lou's relationship with her parents is understandable, and her parents relationship with her was also a very honest portrayal of their connection, and finally, Lou's relationship with Lucas; he was the shoulder she needed in a world she didn't feel she fit in with, and she was his escapism, someone to make him smile and make everyday worth going through.

No brought light to the lives she touched, but she also had the capability to make darkness from that light. No proved that sometimes those people that constantly ask for your trust or remind themselves that they have yours are those most likely to abuse it. This book was proof that you can't always protect people from themselves, and that you must learn these lessons the hard way; sometimes, the ones we love run away and sometimes the ones we trust leave us broken, and sometimes people are taken from our lives, and sometimes they are thrust upon us when we least expect it. Everybody has met a No at some point in their lives, whether they be homeless, damaged or lost in their world, and we've all had our lives affected by that No.

No and Me is a book that you won't understand until you turn the last page, teaching you that you can't be everybody's hero. It covered subjects such as depression, stress, grief and loneliness; how you can't always let go of the past and who you were. This book demands to be read, and it demands to be experienced. I would recommend this to anyone.


  1. Wow this sounds like such a gorgeous read Amanda! I'm glad that this book left such a great impression with you, the characters sound fantastic. Its been such a long time since I read in one sitting and with the reading funk I've been in lately, this sounds like something that I would really like! Lovely review!

    1. It's very rare for a book to leave a very lasting impression on me that I remember so well, so this one is brilliant!
      I've started to read books in one sitting lately too, it can really help a reading funk :) Thank you hunny!

  2. Huh, interesting title! "...teaching you that you can't be everybody's hero. It covered subjects such as depression, stress, grief and loneliness; how you can't always let go of the past and who you were.." <--Love this! I really want to try this one now. I just love those books that you cling onto and still are in the world even though you've finished.

    Great review, Amanda! <33

    1. The title was intriguing to me too, thank you Mel! :)
      I'm so glad you like the sounds of this, it's such a beautifully heartbreaking book, definitely worth a shot.

  3. This sounds like such an amazing read. I have seen it in the library a lot, but I'd never been tempted to pick it up before. This sounds like a really wonderful, unique read. This sounds like the kind of book that will make me really emotional, and stay with me long after I have finished reading it. I need to hurry through my ridiculously large TBR pile so I can get to this. Thanks for the awesome review, I never would have considered this one otherwise.

    1. It's so heart-breakingly beautiful to read, I seriously think you should take it and read it. It'll stay with you for a long time, and I really think it's an understated book, which is a shame. I'm glad I put this on your radar!


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