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No Fixed Address

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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 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.


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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 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.

30 review for No Fixed Address

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore

    My thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Random House UK Children’s Publishers for a review copy of this one. This was such a wonderful wonderful read for me—heart-breaking, and cute, and making me smile a little all at the same time. The story is told in the voice of twelve-and-three-quarters-year-old Felix Knutsson, who lives with his single mother, Astrid (she insists he calls her by name) in a Westfalia van. They have seen a change in fortunes from a time when they were doing ok and had a home, to My thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Random House UK Children’s Publishers for a review copy of this one. This was such a wonderful wonderful read for me—heart-breaking, and cute, and making me smile a little all at the same time. The story is told in the voice of twelve-and-three-quarters-year-old Felix Knutsson, who lives with his single mother, Astrid (she insists he calls her by name) in a Westfalia van. They have seen a change in fortunes from a time when they were doing ok and had a home, to one where Astrid is more or less jobless, and almost penniless, and have to take the only option available to them, of living in a van. Felix had had to change schools and homes many times over the years as they moved around various parts of Vancouver but finds himself now back in school with one of the only friends he ever had, Dylan Brinkerhoff. Before long Winnie Wu, somewhat Hermione-Granger-like, and a bit over-enthusiastic about school joins their little group. But Felix has to navigate through all of this without ever letting slip his living arrangements as both Felix and his mother are terrified of falling into the ‘clutches’ of the Ministry of Children and Family Development, which they are convinced will place him in foster care, and apart from his mother. Alongside, he must also deal with his mother, who isn’t exactly a bad mother but not a particularly good one either, with many facets to her character (specifics might be a spoiler), that are far from perfect. His only hope lies in participating in his favourite game show Who, What, Where, When, which is having a junior edition, through which he might win some prize money that can help tide them over. I loved Felix—he was so sensible, mature for his age, able to face much more than anyone his age could and all without constantly whining or pitying himself. This is not to say that he doesn’t want life to get back to normal, or that he is a Pollyanna, but he takes things in his stride better than even a grown-up would. One can’t help but feel sorry for him having to not only present a brave face to the world but also to be the strong one in his family in some situations. Some of the situations they have to face are plain frightening at times, and others require Felix to accept things that he wouldn’t normally approve of (after all, he has to live). I also liked how the author conveyed so many things subtly capturing things in a way a child might perhaps see them, and not having to say things explicitly/directly all the time. Seeing Felix’s situation, one can’t help but think about people like him who have to live every day without the things we tend to take for granted—food to eat, a bed to sleep in, a toilet in one’s home—and realise the need to have more help at hand for people in such circumstances, and feel grateful in having those things, besides also realising, that a life with dignity which is a ‘basic’ human right remains a luxury for so many. At the same time, the book gives a positive and hopeful message about people themselves. I also liked that the book really reflected well how multicultural our world really is now. This may be classified as a YA book, but is one that can be appreciated by everyone, even adults (perhaps more so), and I highly recommend it. Simply wonderful read. (p.s. of course, I loved the little illustrations!!!!)

  2. 4 out of 5

    Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore

    My thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Random House UK Children’s Publishers for a review copy of this one. This was such a wonderful wonderful read for me—heart-breaking, and cute, and making me smile a little all at the same time. The story is told in the voice of twelve-and-three-quarters-year-old Felix Knutsson, who lives with his single mother, Astrid (she insists he calls her by name) in a Westfalia van. They have seen a change in fortunes from a time when they were doing ok and had a home, to My thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Random House UK Children’s Publishers for a review copy of this one. This was such a wonderful wonderful read for me—heart-breaking, and cute, and making me smile a little all at the same time. The story is told in the voice of twelve-and-three-quarters-year-old Felix Knutsson, who lives with his single mother, Astrid (she insists he calls her by name) in a Westfalia van. They have seen a change in fortunes from a time when they were doing ok and had a home, to one where Astrid is more or less jobless, and almost penniless, and have to take the only option available to them, of living in a van. Felix had had to change schools and homes many times over the years as they moved around various parts of Vancouver but finds himself now back in school with one of the only friends he ever had, Dylan Brinkerhoff. Before long Winnie Wu, somewhat Hermione-Granger-like, and a bit over-enthusiastic about school joins their little group. But Felix has to navigate through all of this without ever letting slip his living arrangements as both Felix and his mother are terrified of falling into the ‘clutches’ of the Ministry of Children and Family Development, which they are convinced will place him in foster care, and apart from his mother. Alongside, he must also deal with his mother, who isn’t exactly a bad mother but not a particularly good one either, with many facets to her character (specifics might be a spoiler), that are far from perfect. His only hope lies in participating in his favourite game show Who, What, Where, When, which is having a junior edition, through which he might win some prize money that can help tide them over. I loved Felix—he was so sensible, mature for his age, able to face much more than anyone his age could and all without constantly whining or pitying himself. This is not to say that he doesn’t want life to get back to normal, or that he is a Pollyanna, but he takes things in his stride better than even a grown-up would. One can’t help but feel sorry for him having to not only present a brave face to the world but also to be the strong one in his family in some situations. Some of the situations they have to face are plain frightening at times, and others require Felix to accept things that he wouldn’t normally approve of (after all, he has to live). I also liked how the author conveyed so many things subtly capturing things in a way a child might perhaps see them, and not having to say things explicitly/directly all the time. Seeing Felix’s situation, one can’t help but think about people like him who have to live every day without the things we tend to take for granted—food to eat, a bed to sleep in, a toilet in one’s home—and realise the need to have more help at hand for people in such circumstances, and feel grateful in having those things, besides also realising, that a life with dignity which is a ‘basic’ human right remains a luxury for so many. At the same time, the book gives a positive and hopeful message about people themselves. I also liked that the book really reflected well how multicultural our world really is now. This may be classified as a YA book, but is one that can be appreciated by everyone, even adults (perhaps more so), and I highly recommend it. Simply wonderful read. (p.s. of course, I loved the little illustrations!!!!)

  3. 5 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    E ARC from Netgalley.com Felix Knuttsen and his single mother Astrid move around a bit in Vancouver because Astrid finds it hard to keep a job after her career teaching art founders. After the death of her mother, Felix's Mormor, it's been hard for the two to maintain homes as well. When her latest boyfriend, Abelard, decides to go to India, Felix is glad to see him go, but it means that the only place he has to live is the Westfalia van after briefly landing with a friend, Soleil. Since it's Aug E ARC from Netgalley.com Felix Knuttsen and his single mother Astrid move around a bit in Vancouver because Astrid finds it hard to keep a job after her career teaching art founders. After the death of her mother, Felix's Mormor, it's been hard for the two to maintain homes as well. When her latest boyfriend, Abelard, decides to go to India, Felix is glad to see him go, but it means that the only place he has to live is the Westfalia van after briefly landing with a friend, Soleil. Since it's August, they take a little vacation, and then Astrid tells Felix he can go to any school he wants. Using a fair amount of subterfuge, she gets him into the French Immersion School. This is great, since Felix is half Swedish and one quarter Haitian and French, and since his former best friend Dylan goes to the school and the two still get along. Living in the van requires a lot of planning and sacrifices, from showering at a community center and eating meals out of cans to carefully crafted stories about his movements. Felix makes an unlikely friend in the driven Winnie, who is very good at languages but not so good at social interactions. The three work on articles for the school paper, and the fact that Felix excels at the t.v. game show Who, What, Where emerges. He tries out for a junior edition and makes it. Since the grand prize is $25,000, he hopes he can win so that he and Astrid can get their lives back on track. As the competition approaches, Felix's life starts to unravel very quickly. What will it take for things to turn around for the Knuttsons? Strengths: This had a tremendous amount of appealing, well fleshed out characters. Mormor, although her appearance was very brief, was a fantastic grandmother. Felix's description of his mother and her problems is interesting because it shows how much understanding and smarts he needs to have just to get himself clothed and fed. It's also a balanced description-- she's not a great mother, but she's not the worst, either. I feel like many of my students have similar backgrounds. The details about living in a van will appeal to students who have nice, comfortable homes, and will perhaps resonate with those who don't as well. Dylan and Winnie are good friends, and the teachers and social workers are all concerned and helpful. Even Soleil, who is ill used by Astrid, is very supportive. I liked the inclusion of Vancouver as almost another character, and the game show appearance is worked in convincingly. It is a book that will make many readers grateful-- I know enough to NEVER take baths for granted! Weaknesses: The game show scenes got a bit overwrought, and there were a few moments where this came close to having too many social hot button issues, lessening the impact of Felix's predicament. That's very on trend, though. What I really think: This will be a great circulator. The cover is very appealing, and this has a Boxcar Children vibe with the addition of the suspense of Felix's precarious situation. Nicely done.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    I loved this book. I picked it up on Sunday night and ended up finishing it before I went to bed. I couldn't quit reading about Felix and his life living in a van. While he knows it's "only temporary" (at least, that's what his mom Astrid says, but it has been four months by now), he is getting tired of it. He would like to live in a place with heat. A toilet. Some doors that close. Those things don't seem like too much to ask. And while the van started off as an adventure, an extended summer va I loved this book. I picked it up on Sunday night and ended up finishing it before I went to bed. I couldn't quit reading about Felix and his life living in a van. While he knows it's "only temporary" (at least, that's what his mom Astrid says, but it has been four months by now), he is getting tired of it. He would like to live in a place with heat. A toilet. Some doors that close. Those things don't seem like too much to ask. And while the van started off as an adventure, an extended summer vacation of sorts, now the weather is turning and he doesn't think it's as fun anymore. Plus, his mom is having more and more of her "Slumps", those times when she just can't get out of bed and get moving. That's OK-as long as they only last a few days, Felix knows how to take care of himself. He's been doing it for years. But now, his friends are starting to notice. His mom's getting worse. His teachers want to schedule meetings. And he knows he wants to have things change, but he also knows how his mom feels about getting anyone involved. He would do anything to not have to go with the Ministry people and risk being separated from her. This was a fantastic read about what it means to take care of your friends and yourself. I loved it. Highly recommend for all readers who like realistic fiction, especially stories like Crenshaw and Paper Things . Appropriate for grades 5-9.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Samantha (WLABB)

    Another Nielsen book, another winner for me. I am so happy I discovered Susin Nielsen, because every one of her books end up on the "makes-me-happy" list. She has done it once again with No Fixed Address, which was, as intrepid reporter Winnie Wu stated in the book, a feel-good story. • Pro: Nielsen does so many things well in her books, but most importantly, she crafts these incredible characters. Felix was one of those incredible characters. The kid won my heart as soon as he described himself Another Nielsen book, another winner for me. I am so happy I discovered Susin Nielsen, because every one of her books end up on the "makes-me-happy" list. She has done it once again with No Fixed Address, which was, as intrepid reporter Winnie Wu stated in the book, a feel-good story. • Pro: Nielsen does so many things well in her books, but most importantly, she crafts these incredible characters. Felix was one of those incredible characters. The kid won my heart as soon as he described himself as "Fifty percent Swedish, twenty-five percent Haitian, twenty-five percent French. Add it up and it equals one hundred percent Canadian." He was funny, quirky, and he charmed the pants off of me. • Pro: Felix was homeless or, as he liked to say, "between places". There was a chapter in the book called "A Brief History of Homes", where Felix told us about all the places he had lived. This chapter was a brilliant way to show how quickly one's circumstances can change. How you can be living in a big victorian house one day and in the back of a van the next. I am glad it was included, because it can combat some of the assumptions people make about why people are homeless. • Pro: The quiz show storyline was fantastic! I was so glad it was part of the story. • Pro: It was obvious that Astrid was not winning any parenting prizes. Her inability to keep a job combine with her mental health issues, often left Felix to fend for himself, but one thing was clear - Astrid loved Felix and he loved her. • Pro: Mental health and abuse are some of the issues addressed in this story. Both were handled honestly and with care. • Pro: It was really beautiful the way so many people rallied for Felix. I swear! My heart grew three sizes due to some really wonderful characters in this book and their acts of kindness towards Felix and his mom. Overall: A touching, funny, and heartbreaking look at homelessness, featuring a protagonists you will stand and cheer for. *ARC provided in exchange for an honest review. BLOG | INSTAGRAM |TWITTER | BLOGLOVIN | FRIEND ME ON GOODREADS

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    Meet Felix Knutsson, the charming, earnest protagonist at the helm of No Fixed Address. As one might infer from the title, this book is about life in a Westfalia van. In other words, it is a story about homelessness. But, even more than that, Susin Nielsen's novel is about friendship, the transition into adolescence, and the strong bond between a mother and her son. Felix narrates the tale of his mother, Astrid's cyclical "Slumps," their efforts to make ends meet, and his quest for the title of J Meet Felix Knutsson, the charming, earnest protagonist at the helm of No Fixed Address. As one might infer from the title, this book is about life in a Westfalia van. In other words, it is a story about homelessness. But, even more than that, Susin Nielsen's novel is about friendship, the transition into adolescence, and the strong bond between a mother and her son. Felix narrates the tale of his mother, Astrid's cyclical "Slumps," their efforts to make ends meet, and his quest for the title of Junior Champion on Canada's popular quiz show, "Who, What, Where, When." As Astrid's ability to provide for their needs dwindles and her ethics become more and more questionable, Felix works furiously to continue to juggle school, friendship, and meeting his basic needs. Often smelly and hungry his attempts to hide the truth of their situation grow increasingly exhausting. This middle grade book does an excellent job of depicting life without the assurance of food and shelter. *There has been a recent push in children's literature to include more diversity amongst characters. So much so that, often, I get the sense that authors have a checklist next to their manuscripst; black character, check, Asian character, check, Middle Eastern character, check, homosexual character, check. I can almost hear these writers patting themselves on the back, feeling smug for their "goodwill." Props to Susin Nielsen. No Fixed Address does indeed include diversity among its cast of characters. But, here's the thing: these characters are people, treated no differently from fair-skinned Felix. We, the readers, only know Winnie Wu is likely Asian because of her name. The fact that the Constable is gay is only known because her wife is mentioned. Isn't this the way it should be? Rather than separating people into nest little categories, labeling each and every group, why not keep the focus of the book on the story and the commonalities that apply to all people?

  7. 4 out of 5

    ♡ Kayleigh ⚯͛ Awkword Reviews ♡

    ♡ blog ♡ bookstagram "But now I'm learning to have faith in something new. Something my mom stopped having faith in a long time ago. Other people." I cannot tell you HOW MUCH I loved this book. It was simple, informative, and intensely entertaining. Felix and his mother's plight was heart wrenching as bad luck crashes over them again and again. Felix is like a child version of Sherlock Holmes, but instead of the art of deduction, the practise is points of observation, and instead of figuring ou ♡ blog ♡ bookstagram "But now I'm learning to have faith in something new. Something my mom stopped having faith in a long time ago. Other people." I cannot tell you HOW MUCH I loved this book. It was simple, informative, and intensely entertaining. Felix and his mother's plight was heart wrenching as bad luck crashes over them again and again. Felix is like a child version of Sherlock Holmes, but instead of the art of deduction, the practise is points of observation, and instead of figuring out whodunnit, Felix battles homelessness. To turn the tide on his luck, Felix decides to enter a quiz show which could win him £25,000; enough to solve all his and his mum's problems. With the help of his inquisitive friends, Dylan and Winnie Wu, Felix is in good hands, maybe good enough hands to win the quiz show entirely? Dylan and Winnie Wu are like a muggle version of Ron and Hermione from HP, I loved them for this and for their own tenacities and merit. Every character in this book is relatable, and I couldn't help but pursue their happiness as though it were my own. Thank you to Net Galley for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Colleen

    *Big thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the review copy.* If I could give this book more than 5 stars I would. As always Susin writes wonderfully flawed characters in an honest and non judgmental way while tackling serious issues. Her ability to balance the heartbreaking with the uplifting never ceases to amaze me. I am always so thankful for the books she writes.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Vikki VanSickle

    Another fab middle grade story from Susin Nielsen. A thoughtful examination of homelessness and family dynamics, with plenty of great characters, one-liners, and hope.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Laura Gardner

    ALL THE STARS for this absolutely amazing book by Canadian author @susinnielsen. Many thanks to the @kidlitexchange network and @randomhousekids for this ARC (#partner); all opinions are my own. ~*~*~*~*~* Felix is almost thirteen, loves a game show called Who, What, Where, When and has a loving, but eccentric mom, Astrid. Oh, and they're homeless. They live in a (stolen) van. Felix can't tell anyone about his situation -- not his best friends Dylan and Winnie and not his teachers. As his situati ALL THE STARS for this absolutely amazing book by Canadian author @susinnielsen. Many thanks to the @kidlitexchange network and @randomhousekids for this ARC (#partner); all opinions are my own. ~*~*~*~*~* Felix is almost thirteen, loves a game show called Who, What, Where, When and has a loving, but eccentric mom, Astrid. Oh, and they're homeless. They live in a (stolen) van. Felix can't tell anyone about his situation -- not his best friends Dylan and Winnie and not his teachers. As his situation gets worse (hello, winter in Canada...), the situation becomes truly untenable. Then Felix gets a chance to be on his favorite game show and he's determined to win the cash prize to help turn their situation around. ~*~*~*~*~* I am a HUGE fan of @susinnielsen -- if you haven't read any of her books, go get all of them right now. I have We are Made of Molecules and The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen in my library; Optimists Die First is awesome, too, but more appropriate for high school. I have a new favorite Susin Nielsen book, though. NO FIXED ADDRESS is an incredible read that really has it all: a tricky home situation, dedicated friends, and a main character you're sure to love. The first person narrative is perfect for a book like this; being privy to Felix's thoughts about his situation only increases the book's appeal. This is a "read it in a day" kind of book and actually helped break a teeny reading slump I was experiencing last week. I recommend this for grades 8+. There are some mature themes addressed, particularly involving Astrid. This book isn't out until September, but put it on your fall order list now! -- Laura Gardner, NBCT, MLIS Teacher Librarian and NJHS Adviser Dartmouth Middle School Dartmouth, MA lauragardner@dartmouthschools.org Follow the DMS library! Twitter Facebook Instagram Dartmouth Public Schools Confidentiality Notice: This electronic transmission is for the intended recipient only and may contain information that is privileged, confidential, or otherwise protected from disclosure. Any review, publication, dissemination, or use of this transmission or any of its contents by persons other than the intended recipient is strictly prohibited. If you receive this transmission in error, please notify the sender immediately upon receipt and delete or destroy the communication and its attachments. Dartmouth Public Schools Confidentiality Notice: This electronic transmission is for the intended recipient only and may contain information that is privileged, confidential, or otherwise protected from disclosure. Any review, publication, dissemination, or use of this transmission or any of its contents by persons other than the intended recipient is strictly prohibited. If you receive this transmission in error, please notify the sender immediately upon receipt and delete or destroy the communication and its attachments. Thank you for your cooperation.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kirsty

    I picked up a proof copy at the NYA Literary Festival. I really enjoyed this book. The story follows Felix and his mother Astrid. Astrid struggles to keep a job and as a result, she and Felix end up living in a van. Felix finds it difficult to keep this a secret from his friends and enters a TV game show in the hope that he will be able to help his family if he wins. I thought that this book dealt with some very important topics including homelessness, mental health, and friendship. I also liked I picked up a proof copy at the NYA Literary Festival. I really enjoyed this book. The story follows Felix and his mother Astrid. Astrid struggles to keep a job and as a result, she and Felix end up living in a van. Felix finds it difficult to keep this a secret from his friends and enters a TV game show in the hope that he will be able to help his family if he wins. I thought that this book dealt with some very important topics including homelessness, mental health, and friendship. I also liked the relationship between Felix and his mother. The relationship was portrayed in a very realistic way. At the start of the novel we see Felix trying to excuse his mother's behavior in certain and we start to see him learn that his mother is not perfect. I thought this was very realistic as this happens at some point when a child is growing up as they realise that their parents are human too and make mistakes. I think the story also highlighted the struggles of not having a permanent home. This is, unfortunately, something that an increasing number of people face and I think it is important that people read about it as it makes you much more thankful for the things you have. When selecting YA contemporaries I look for something that covers an important topic and doesn't focus on romance. I was really pleased that there wasn't a romance element to this story as I feel too many stories try to include this. Whilst the subject matter is quite serious the author does include some more humorous moments. I particuarly liked the game show element and also Felix's relationship with his friends. Overall I really enjoyed this and I would recommend picking it up when it is released later this year.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Karen Barber

    With echoes of Slumdog Millionaire, this is a heartwarming story that looks at an increasing problem in modern times. Felix and his mother are having an adventure, she says. Having been asked to leave their apartment, they are going to live in a van. That is not an adventure, it’s desperate. Astrid, Felix’s mother, makes him promise not to let anyone know their circumstances. Astrid has some mental health issues. She irritated me at times because her behaviour was so selfish. She didn’t seem to co With echoes of Slumdog Millionaire, this is a heartwarming story that looks at an increasing problem in modern times. Felix and his mother are having an adventure, she says. Having been asked to leave their apartment, they are going to live in a van. That is not an adventure, it’s desperate. Astrid, Felix’s mother, makes him promise not to let anyone know their circumstances. Astrid has some mental health issues. She irritated me at times because her behaviour was so selfish. She didn’t seem to consider the impact her choices were having on Felix at all. Perhaps this seemed the case because we see everything through Felix’s eyes, but it rankled. That may sound harsh but not ever really seeing her thoughts meant it was hard to tell how much of their situation was caused by Astrid’s state of mind. We know that rising living costs and many other factors can leave someone in a precarious situation. There was no sense of judgment here, and there were some genuinely lovely characters within the book who you just wish could be bottled. The details of Felix’s life in the van are told with grim humour but this did mean we focus on the character rather than simply honing in on his living circumstances. Ultimately I was cross by how many people guessed at there being a problem but who did nothing. While we act like this, little can change. Thank you NetGalley for granting me access to this before publication in October.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Tracey

    Adorable middle grade book that deals with homelessness, mental health, friendship, and how society deals with these issues. Felix aged 12 and 3/4, lives with his mother Astrid. After Astrid loses her job and they lose their home, they find themselves "between places". Felix misses having a bathroom (among other things), but Astrid assures him it's only temporary, an adventure, she'll find a job, they'll get a home soon. Felix loves Astrid, but as the book progresses we learn more about their rel Adorable middle grade book that deals with homelessness, mental health, friendship, and how society deals with these issues. Felix aged 12 and 3/4, lives with his mother Astrid. After Astrid loses her job and they lose their home, they find themselves "between places". Felix misses having a bathroom (among other things), but Astrid assures him it's only temporary, an adventure, she'll find a job, they'll get a home soon. Felix loves Astrid, but as the book progresses we learn more about their relationship and Felix tells us more about her lies (there's a scale) and her Slumps (and the medication she needs). When he returns to school Felix reconnects with an old friend and makes a new one, but has to make excuses when it comes to dropping him home or visiting. Astrid rejects Felix's ideas to seek help due to her own bad childhood experiences with the MCFD (Ministry of Children and Family Development) and you feel for them both, particularly Felix when it comes to hygiene and hunger. Felix is sweet and compassionate, protecting his mother even when it costs him. Moving, thought provoking, and suitable for everyone.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Nikki

    I was lucky enough to win a copy of No Fixed Address at YALC, and I’m so glad I did as I gave 4.5 stars to this awesome and cute and touching middle grade story. I loved Felix’s story and how the author really brought home the realities of his situation - not just being “between places”, but his relationship with his mum (and hers with the truth!), as well as what a kids goes through to fit in. I’ve actually had discussions with people about how hard it is on kids when their parents can’t afford I was lucky enough to win a copy of No Fixed Address at YALC, and I’m so glad I did as I gave 4.5 stars to this awesome and cute and touching middle grade story. I loved Felix’s story and how the author really brought home the realities of his situation - not just being “between places”, but his relationship with his mum (and hers with the truth!), as well as what a kids goes through to fit in. I’ve actually had discussions with people about how hard it is on kids when their parents can’t afford everything their friends have - and this obviously takes that much further. I really felt for Felix, especially on his hunger and hygiene issues. I also really felt for his mum. She may not be the worlds best mum, but she tries (most of the time) and clearly has mental issues that need more help than she had. Nothing serious, just enough to make life harder. I can’t imagine being in that situation, and I think she was doing what she could. Even if Felix makes excellent points about food banks! The game show element was fun too, though I think I’d have liked to see a bit more of it I think! Especially some more of what happened after. And I love the ending, so perfect :)

  15. 5 out of 5

    Dawna Richardson

    I received an ARC of this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. The book is due to be published on September 11, 2018 and I am going to make sure I have a hard copy in hand as soon after it’s released as possible. I loved this book!!! Well, I cried over this book and I laughed at other parts. It is a story that is played out in one form or another far too often in our country, and in others. Through no—or little—fault of their own, twelve year old Felix and his mom Astrid find t I received an ARC of this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. The book is due to be published on September 11, 2018 and I am going to make sure I have a hard copy in hand as soon after it’s released as possible. I loved this book!!! Well, I cried over this book and I laughed at other parts. It is a story that is played out in one form or another far too often in our country, and in others. Through no—or little—fault of their own, twelve year old Felix and his mom Astrid find themselves living in a ‘borrowed’ van. In Felix’s eyes, this does not make them homeless. What he misses most is a bathroom to call his own! He still manages to reconnect with an old friend and make a new one in a later immersion French program at a local school. He is very smart and applies to be on the junior edition of a popular quiz program. This is a goal he sticks to with an astonishing tenaciousness, despite coming across more obstacles than come be dealt with. Always in the background is the threat of the MCFD (Ministry of Children and Family Development), Felix’s ‘monster under the bed’ that threatened to pull the little family apart—and also make it impossible for him to share his story with others. With all of this struggle, Felix is a genuinely compassionate person, who usually looks out for others more than himself. The book is described as for a middle school aged audience. However, the story is much broader. Like the best writing for this age group, there is plenty in the story for adults as well. Read it. You will not be sorry you did!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Angie

    Felix is your typical middle school kid except for one little thing. He and his mom live in a van. It was supposed to be temporary, but as the months go by it becomes more of the norm. His mom Astrid has slumps and can't keep a job. Despite the fact that Felix has no fixed address or place to call home he is doing pretty well. He is enrolled in a French immersion school and has reconnected with his best friend. He even has a girl friend Winnie. The icing on the cake is the audition for his favor Felix is your typical middle school kid except for one little thing. He and his mom live in a van. It was supposed to be temporary, but as the months go by it becomes more of the norm. His mom Astrid has slumps and can't keep a job. Despite the fact that Felix has no fixed address or place to call home he is doing pretty well. He is enrolled in a French immersion school and has reconnected with his best friend. He even has a girl friend Winnie. The icing on the cake is the audition for his favorite game show. But living in a van is not the same as having a home and Felix has to deal with hygiene and food issues as well as his mom's increasingly questionable choices. There are not a lot of books that deal with homelessness in kids and this was a fantastic read. There are probably way more kids out there who find this as their way of life than we want to acknowledge. Felix and Astrid are not bad people, they have just fallen on hard times. Despite some of her choices, Astrid is a good mom and wants what is best for Felix. I thought this was a very realistic portrayal of what homeless families have to go through to keep clean and healthy. It also accurately portrayed the danger they face from others. I think my only quibble was the game show bit. It seemed a bit gimmicky and over the top that Felix would win a place on a national tv show, but it did act as a good way to get his story out to the people who needed to hear it and it lead to help for Astrid and Felix. For such a realistic story that was the one bit that seemed a little far-fetched.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jean Kirby

    This is another exciting read from Susin Nielsen. After the last book, "Optimists Die first",which was fantastic, I didn't expect to like this one as much, but it is great! The story follows a young boy whose life goes downhill as his mother's finances go from bad to worse. They end up sleeping & living in a van. He tries to maintain a normal life and lies about his circumstances. Things get worse as he realises that his mother is not being very responsible and he has to be the responsible " This is another exciting read from Susin Nielsen. After the last book, "Optimists Die first",which was fantastic, I didn't expect to like this one as much, but it is great! The story follows a young boy whose life goes downhill as his mother's finances go from bad to worse. They end up sleeping & living in a van. He tries to maintain a normal life and lies about his circumstances. Things get worse as he realises that his mother is not being very responsible and he has to be the responsible "adult". I got drawn into this story very quickly and felt for the hero, as he stumbles his way from one scenario to another. I loved the characters that became his best friends and really wanted things to turn out well at the end. Susin Nielsen is a fabulous author who always gets your attention quickly and you cannot put the book down until the end. I lost sleep with this book!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Tatiana

    By pure happenstance of library availability, I read Just Under the Clouds and No Fixed Address back-to-back. Although both books cover the topic of homelessness, feature protagonists of similar age, and are considered middle-grade (I'll get back to that point), they are vastly different stories. Address confronts the issue; Clouds obfuscates. Dear George Clooney: Please Marry My Mom introduced me to Susin Nielsen's sharp, quirky characters and witty narrative voice. There is no exception with F By pure happenstance of library availability, I read Just Under the Clouds and No Fixed Address back-to-back. Although both books cover the topic of homelessness, feature protagonists of similar age, and are considered middle-grade (I'll get back to that point), they are vastly different stories. Address confronts the issue; Clouds obfuscates. Dear George Clooney: Please Marry My Mom introduced me to Susin Nielsen's sharp, quirky characters and witty narrative voice. There is no exception with Felix and Co. in her newest novel. Yet I am most impressed with the creation of his mom, Astrid--her pride, her depression, her history, all thoughtfully motivated. In a way, she is the antagonist, and she is still vulnerable. Also thoughtfully crafted was the label Felix and Astrid gain: "hidden homeless." Those with intermittent roofs over their head, with no real address. From personal experience, I can attest to the desperation and shame that comes with such displacement. No one decides to one day walk away from a home; it's stripped from them gradually, due to loss of work or sudden medical bills, or other dire, often unforeseen circumstances. Nielsen didn't shy from including the bleak details of homeless living, but retained humor and heart throughout. My only real quibble was discussion of drug use and other mature topics--fine in YA, but not middle grade. Otherwise I was happy to go with the far-fetched game show plot because the rest was so well developed.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Alex Peachman

    13-year-old Felix and his mum are 'between homes' and the only solution is for them to live in a camper van that belongs to one of his mum's hopeless boyfriends. How long can Felix keep the secret of his homelessness from his school friends, his family and the authorities? I love Susin Nielsen's writing style - it's so chatty, interesting and funny that it's hardly like reading at all, more like an old friend telling you a really good story. The characters are great, even Felix's mum, Astrid. Sh 13-year-old Felix and his mum are 'between homes' and the only solution is for them to live in a camper van that belongs to one of his mum's hopeless boyfriends. How long can Felix keep the secret of his homelessness from his school friends, his family and the authorities? I love Susin Nielsen's writing style - it's so chatty, interesting and funny that it's hardly like reading at all, more like an old friend telling you a really good story. The characters are great, even Felix's mum, Astrid. She's clearly got many failings as a mother, but through Felix's explanation of events you can see why it's so difficult for her to extricate herself from a downward spiral. My only complaint is that the ending is a little bit 'fairy tale'. But it doesn't detract from the story overall, and you will miss Felix's voice once you get to the end of the book.

  20. 5 out of 5

    KWinks

    Fabulous! One of the best books I have read all year. Felix and his mother live in a Westfalia and are making the best of a temporary situation...until it starts to stop feeling temporary. I thought Nielsen handled this perfectly, she shows the difficulty of being one the "hidden homeless" but there are moments when the future is just full of hope. There is a line in the book about Astrid and Daniel being "good people" and also confirming that are just not "good parents". I almost sobbed. I love Fabulous! One of the best books I have read all year. Felix and his mother live in a Westfalia and are making the best of a temporary situation...until it starts to stop feeling temporary. I thought Nielsen handled this perfectly, she shows the difficulty of being one the "hidden homeless" but there are moments when the future is just full of hope. There is a line in the book about Astrid and Daniel being "good people" and also confirming that are just not "good parents". I almost sobbed. I loved this. Now I need to go back and read all of Nielsen's older books.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Moriah Conant

    What a beautiful and new story this is! Felix and his mom Astrid find themselves not *technically* homeless but after four months go by, Felix starts to suspect a fix might not be as easy as his mom thinks. “No Fixed Address” starts conversations about homelessness, the price of housing, and the systems we have in place to help people (spoiler alert: they don’t always work great). I would definitely recommend reading this book.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    Excellent story about the “hidden homeless”, people without a permanent address. This is a great read and would be a great class read aloud for upper elementary and middle school.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    I received an arc of this book at YALC. This wasn’t bad or anything, it just really wasn’t for me. I think I’m far too old and I ended up finding it slower than I’d expected and some parts seemed too convenient and unrealistic. I posted a full review here: https://bookloverkate.wordpress.com/2...

  24. 5 out of 5

    Steven R. McEvoy

    I became interested in this book because of a shout put by Arthur Slade. He spoke so highly about it, I knew I had to give it a read. Being completely honest I had not encountered any of Susin Neilsen's works before giving this one a read, even in my years as a bookseller. As an introduction to her works this book was an incredible read. Once I started reading I could hardly put it down. This book is moving. It does an amazing job of capturing living with someone with mental health issues, and e I became interested in this book because of a shout put by Arthur Slade. He spoke so highly about it, I knew I had to give it a read. Being completely honest I had not encountered any of Susin Neilsen's works before giving this one a read, even in my years as a bookseller. As an introduction to her works this book was an incredible read. Once I started reading I could hardly put it down. This book is moving. It does an amazing job of capturing living with someone with mental health issues, and either being close to or living on the street. This is the story of Felix Knuttson, a twelve year old boy with great skill at trivia. His other skill is covering for his mother. For the longest time it has just been him and his mom. His father has returned to the art scene in Toronto after realizing that he preferred men. His mother is an artist who has had some success, and a lot of failures. She seems to be able to land jobs but had a hard time keeping them. And she has proven to have a hard time at keeping a place for them. And that is where we begin with this novel. Felix and his mother have been living in a van. They have moved it around. Felix is trying to hold it together at school and help keep his mother together. What starts as a few weeks in a van stretches, and stretches, from a summer novelty, to school returning, and fall turning to winter. Felix has a chance to compete on a national quiz show. The weekly episodes are pre-filmed, but the finale is aired live. Some secrets are just too hard to keep in. Many years ago, I was in a place where each month I wondered if I would have a roof over my head at the end of the month. I cannot imagine being in that place and being a youth looking after a parent. But I know that it happens. This book does an incredible job of capturing that. In university and after I lived with a few friends who have struggled with mental health. Watching them spiral down and not being able to do anything is a terrible feeling. Nielsen has captured that feeling perfectly. This novel is written for a Middle Grade or Young Adult audience, but I am sure it will transcend those genres. But by combining the underlying themes of split families, depression, mental health, and homelessness it touches on so many issues in contemporary society. This is an amazing read that will help you look at the world a little differently. Read the review on my blog Book Reviews and More.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Tamsin Winter

    Nielson writes about the important subjects of hidden homelessness, depression and poverty in a powerfully authentic and funny way. I adored Felix. His wit, kindness, humour and nerdiness are utterly charming, and the loyalty he has for his mother is as beautiful as it is heartbreaking. A truly important story about hidden homelessness, beautifully told. I absolutely loved this novel.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Diane

    “Some kids grow up with scary stories about monsters, or ghosts, or bogeymen under the bed. My scary stories were about the MCFD. And unlike the ones about monsters, ghosts and bogeymen, these stories weren’t make-believe.”** Felix and Astrid are doing okay, not great, but okay. Currently, they are living in a van ... but that’s only temporary (according to Astrid, Felix’s mom). All Astrid needs to do is find a job (and keep it) and they’ll be able to save enough money for the first and last mont “Some kids grow up with scary stories about monsters, or ghosts, or bogeymen under the bed. My scary stories were about the MCFD. And unlike the ones about monsters, ghosts and bogeymen, these stories weren’t make-believe.”** Felix and Astrid are doing okay, not great, but okay. Currently, they are living in a van ... but that’s only temporary (according to Astrid, Felix’s mom). All Astrid needs to do is find a job (and keep it) and they’ll be able to save enough money for the first and last month’s rent for an apartment. And Astrid has a way of acquiring things when they’re needed most. For example, Felix wants to go to school at a French immersion program, but they don’t have an address in that school’s district. AND they haven’t even sent in any registration information (which was due way back in January), but somehow Astrid manages to get Felix into the program. In Felix’s P.O.O (Powers of Observation) it all comes down to how well Astrid lies ... and what type of lie she decides to use in each case. One of the great things that happens when Felix gets into the French Immersion program is that he reconnects with a former friend, Dylan. He has an instant best friend again. “You know how sometimes you don’t realize how much you’ve missed something until you get it back? That’s how I felt about having a friend again. It was like having blurry vision for a long time, then someone gives you a pair of glasses and you look at the world around you and go, Wow! This is what I’ve been missing!” However, Felix isn’t as good at lying as his mom, nor does he like to lie, especially to Dylan. So not being able to tell Dylan where he is living is a problem. Okay, that’s not a big deal, right? Well, accept for sleepovers and study groups and such. But it does add stress to Felix’s life, which doesn’t need more of that. And speaking of adding stress, what about Winnie Wu? Winnie is a high-achieving student in their class that has taught herself French (among other things.) When Felix, Dylan and Winnie all volunteer to work on the student newspaper, Felix and Dylan suddenly have a new friend. She’s a bit annoying at times, but really interesting. When “just a few weeks” of living in a van stretches into a few months, pressure starts to build on Felix. It’s tough not having a toilet or a shower and constantly having to use the community center (or worse) for these things. He’s tired of eating everything from a can or not eating anything at all. It’s starting to get cold outside, too. And Dylan and Winnie are starting to notice things that he has to explain away with lies. And to top it off, Astrid is having one of her slumps because she can’t afford to take her medication. But every time Felix tries to get Astrid to ask for help, she refuses, afraid that someone will call the Ministry of Children and Family Development and take Felix away from her. (Astrid had her fill of the MCFD when she was a kid.) That’s when Felix hears that his favorite game show, Who, What, Where, When (think Jeopardy) is going to have a Junior Edition competition. The winner will receive $25,000. “It was enough to turn our fortunes around forever.” Now all he has to do is win. And he has a good chance. “My mom says I store facts like a squirrel stores nuts.” Who could have possibly guessed that Felix would end up in the police station the night before the contest? And now what will happen to him and Astrid? Can they trust someone enough to get the help they need? An important novel in today’s climate. There are so many kids like Felix dealing with issues that have nothing to do with school. They need to hear that it’s okay to ask for help. “But now I’m learning to have faith in something new. Something my mom stopped having faith in a long time ago. Other people.” I love the friendship that Felix has with both Dylan and Winnie. It’s honest, not perfect. The voice of the main character is wonderful. I like the perceptive narrative of his life, which includes things like Astrid’s Guidebook to Lies. **Quotes taken from Advanced Reader Copy

  27. 4 out of 5

    laurel [suspected bibliophile]

    CW: Poverty, homelessness, emotional abuse, malnutrition, mental health issues, sexual harassment Felix lives in a van with his mom, Astrid. Technically they're homeless, but it's only for a month, when Astrid can get a new job and afford an apartment. But then a month stretches into September and Astrid lies about their address to get Felix into a new French immersion program. And September turns into October, and with no job in sight Felix tries to land a spot on Canada's most popular trivia ga CW: Poverty, homelessness, emotional abuse, malnutrition, mental health issues, sexual harassment Felix lives in a van with his mom, Astrid. Technically they're homeless, but it's only for a month, when Astrid can get a new job and afford an apartment. But then a month stretches into September and Astrid lies about their address to get Felix into a new French immersion program. And September turns into October, and with no job in sight Felix tries to land a spot on Canada's most popular trivia gameshow—to win the big $25,000 prize. ALKJFOWISKLJFLSJALJIW this book is amazing. At times it's laugh out loud funny and then the next you're bawling your eyes out or at least getting misty eyed. But first things first: living in a van when you have no other options and no income is not glamorous. It's not the fabulously perfect life you see on Instagram with the #vanlife people. They had the ability to chose to live in a van. Astrid and Felix did not. Each character is so well done and well formed. Even the ones that you hate end up being just a little sympathetic—even Astrid (mostly because you see her through Felix's eyes and the kid loves his mother). I loved the juxtaposition of Felix and his two best friends: Dylan, who lives in what most people would consider squalor (he's very poor, but with a loving family) who has a toilet, and Winnie, incredibly smart but not very socially adept, and who's faced with the reality of her own privilege time and again. There are a lot of parallels between these three and another super crazy famous trio from this little book series that rhymes with Mary Blotter...if you get what I'm saying. Even the secondary and tertiary characters are amazing. Mr. and Mrs. Ahmadi, the Syrians who spent two years in a refuge camp before coming to Canada, Quentin the snooty waiter, Daniel the absentee father, Mister Thibault the suspicious teacher, Vijay and Constable Lee. All of these characters had so much humanity and compassion. Don't get me wrong: despite the amazing characters, there are some scuzzballs in the lot. And the book takes a very hard look at poverty, homelessness, inequality, the insane Vancouver (British Columbia not Washington) housing market, and the many hoops low income families must jump through to get assistance and adequate housing. And the importance of reading contracts before you sign them. The diversity of Canada (especially Vancouver) is beautifully shown here, not only in Felix's Swedish-Haitian-French make-up (so much Swedish, I love it!), but in the rest of the book as well. There are LGBT people, people of color, and people from many different backgrounds and economic statuses. So many hard-hitting, pretty depressing things happen in this story. So what made it so amazing? (and appropriate for younger [10yo and up] readers?) Felix. And his faith in the humanity of people. And the actual humanity in people. I received this ARC from NetGalley for an honest review.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Cheriee Weichel

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Susan Nielsen creates beautiful characters: individuals you believe in and care about. Felix and his mother, Astrid, are homeless. We learn this from the get go. The rest is the revealing of what happened to get them to this place and what might happen next. I got my digital copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I've never been homeless, but I have met people who, through no fault of their own, have ended up there. Here in Vancouver, B.C., where the story is situated, Susan Nielsen creates beautiful characters: individuals you believe in and care about. Felix and his mother, Astrid, are homeless. We learn this from the get go. The rest is the revealing of what happened to get them to this place and what might happen next. I got my digital copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I've never been homeless, but I have met people who, through no fault of their own, have ended up there. Here in Vancouver, B.C., where the story is situated, there is a dearth of low income housing. It's becoming a profound problem. Who's fault is it here that Felix and his mom are homeless? His biological father has no money and was never expected to contribute financially anyway. Some might blame Astrid who seems to have serious interpersonal problems that get in the way of her holding down a job. We readers soon learn that she has slumps and anger issues, and as funds get tighter, stops taking her medication because she can't afford it. She sounds a lot like my bipolar sister without the manic bits. What's for certain is that she loves Felix and he loves her. There is a lot going on in this book. Poverty, homelessness, single parent family, absent father, and mental health are explored. There is a bit of bullying going on as well. On the other hand, we see so much of the best in people. Felix's two best friends, Winnie and Dylan, oddballs themselves, are as stalwart as they come. At one point Felix tries to shoplift and gets caught. The immigrant owners of the shop discover that he is hungry and end up feeding him. His teachers are kind and authentic. Even the police officer who Felix is telling his story to does her best to reassure him and ensure that everything works out for the best for him and his mom. I have so many favourite parts in this book, but one of them is near the end of the book when the three friends are arguing over who's belief is most credible. Felix concludes to himself, “I get why Winnie believes in God. I get why Dylan believes in Bernard. I get why I wanted to believe in Mel. It can give a person comfort, feeling that something mysterious and otherworldly is looking out for you. But now I’m learning to have faith in something new. Something my mom stopped having faith in a long time ago. Other people.” Part of what makes this book so pleasurable to read is that it's set in my home town. When Felix talks about the places where he and his mother park their van, Spanish Banks in particular, I know them well and even imagine exactly where they might be. I enjoyed every bit of this satisfying story. I'm not particularly fond of reading on my device, yet had a hard time putting the book down and was compelled to keep coming back to finish it. I was so deeply engaged that my eyes leaked copiously for the last twenty five pages or so. Go buy this book, yours might too.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Lesley

    I thank the publisher for an ARC of this book. Felix Fredrik Knutsson is 12-3/4 years old and has to determine ways to navigate life. “Astrid and Daniel were great people…but they were not great parents." (176) I loved the main character of No Fixed Address, Felix, and also his two friends Dylan and Winnie, and the novel, which takes place in Vancouver, highlights a very important crisis, in both the United States and Canada—homelessness. What I most appreciated in the novel was the resilience and I thank the publisher for an ARC of this book. Felix Fredrik Knutsson is 12-3/4 years old and has to determine ways to navigate life. “Astrid and Daniel were great people…but they were not great parents." (176) I loved the main character of No Fixed Address, Felix, and also his two friends Dylan and Winnie, and the novel, which takes place in Vancouver, highlights a very important crisis, in both the United States and Canada—homelessness. What I most appreciated in the novel was the resilience and resourcefulness of Felix and the support of his friends. Also the novel illustrates many of the challenges experienced by homeless families to maintain the veneer of normalcy and to stay together. The novel paints a realistic picture of many of the over 1.3 million homeless students in the United States and In Canada, the novel’s setting, where an estimated 235,000 Canadians experience homelessness each year, one of the fastest growing demographics of the homeless population being children and families. Therefore, this story, or stories like this [see http://www.yawednesday.com/blog/hidin...] need to be read by teachers and peers to build empathy and understanding of classmates who may be experiencing these types of difficulties. However, there are a few reasons that I am ambivalent, although not hesitant--teachers and readers can decide for themselves, about a recommendation and the reason I actually would give this book closer to 3.5 stars. There were some details that may be considered inappropriate for a Grades 6-9, possibly 5, audience and I found not necessary to the plot, such as suggestions that Felix’s mother had relations with men to cover rent and a man exposing himself to Felix in the library. And while in many books we see that homelessness may be the result of an illness or condition (such as a parent’s alcoholism) or bad luck (i.e., Preacher Jack in this novel), Felix’s mother appeared to not even attempt to be a good employee. She was rude to customers and, although in some cases she hinted that the customer’s actions were inappropriate, in the one interaction the reader actually observes, she is just rude, unprofessional, and not doing the job she was hired to do when all the customer asks is to be waited on. She does suffer from some type of depression but that appears to keep her from searching for jobs, not keeping them. My evaluation is that the novel covers an important topic with a resourceful main character whom readers will like and learn from but it may not be a novel to suggest to all young adolescents.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Katy Noyes

    Another memorable protagonist and story from Nielsen, the topic of homelessness an important one to expose. I've liked Nielsen's books previously, and this sounded as though it was going to be another bittersweet story with characters in difficult positions. Felix is 12, and yes, his life is not a standard one. We see just how he and his mother, whose temperament makes her unable to hold down a job, have ended up with no home, moved from place to place and finally ended up in a 'borrowed' van. Bla Another memorable protagonist and story from Nielsen, the topic of homelessness an important one to expose. I've liked Nielsen's books previously, and this sounded as though it was going to be another bittersweet story with characters in difficult positions. Felix is 12, and yes, his life is not a standard one. We see just how he and his mother, whose temperament makes her unable to hold down a job, have ended up with no home, moved from place to place and finally ended up in a 'borrowed' van. Blagging their way into Felix's new school after having moved around a lot, Felix is thrilled to meet up with a friend he knew years ago, finally able to enjoy a friendship and settle to a stable routine. "You know how sometimes you don't realise how much you've missed something until you get it back? That's how I felt about having a friend again." Surely his mum will find work soon and they can find somewhere to live? The indignities and problems associated with having no fixed abode come across quite clearly, the lies Felix feels he has to tell to Dylan and slightly-annoying-but-smart Winnie, the frustration he feels for mum Astrid. The author even says in her afterword "I wanted to write a deeply flawed parent." Felix shows us just how easily circumstances can change, but just who can be affected - he's a trivia game show enthusiast and has dreams of using his talent to pull him and his mum out of their nomadic existence. I couldn't really empathise with Astrid, my own instinct to provide a roof for my children would keep me biting my tongue and keeping a job. But I did feel for Felix, admired his wish to help his mum, and could see his conflicted feelings for her amidst his hand-to-mouth existence. When his mother ends up shoplifting to feed them both, Felix determines he will pay every shop back what they owe, keeping a tally of what they have stolen. Definitely a young man I admire. The game show subplot seemed a little 'last minute' in the plot, but I liked how it was covered, with Winnie reporting the events second-hand. Some memorable characters and scenes, a very timely look at an important topic. I loved Felix's narration and moments talking to the reader, Winne is a very appealing female in this as well. Great for ages 10-14. With thanks to Netgalley for the advance reading copy.

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