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Like Home: 04/30/21

Like Home

Like Home by Louisa Onomé is a YA novel about a teenage girl trying to save her neighborhood. On the one hand it has been suffering a slow but steady death of attrition since the shooting death of a girl in an arcade. On the other hand, gentrification has come and the hold outs are being bought out.

Chinelo or Nelo to her friends has a daily routine that involves picking up her best friend Kate at her family's store. They grab a snack and then ride the bus to school. Except one morning all that changes when someone throws a brick through the window and the store is forced to close until the insurance can kick in.

The closing of the store in Ginger East brings the neighborhood to a breaking point. More families plan to move. A high school classmate and social media influencer decides to take advantage of the situation.

All of this is set in a fictional neighborhood in western Toronto and near Cooksville. While Nelo clearly loves Ginger East, it takes most of the novel to really ground her into a understandable sense of place. There would have been more of an emotional hit if Nelo's neighborhood was more of a character beyond the store and the bus stop.

Louisa Onomé's next novel is Model Minority with a release date sometime next year.

Four stars

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