'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Wednesday 28 June 2017

Review: Living on Hope Street

Every now and then a Young Adult novel comes along where as you read you can visualise every character and scene. And when you finish reading you feel like you've just left a place that you know well, that exists.

That is how I felt after reading Living on Hope Street by Demet Divaroren. Admittedly, I grew up in an inner-city multicultural suburb, and after reading this novel, felt like I was back there.

Kane and Sam live in the shadow of their father's violence and the terrible toll on their mother. Their lives and story play out like a ripple amongst their neighbours.

They are blessed to have the care and protection of Mrs Aslan from next door, who although tormented by the estrangement of her own family, tends to the boys like birds with broken wings.

Teenage, child and adult points of view are relayed in multi-faceted narratives as the story is told through seven varying perspectives. This is no easy feat for any author, yet Divaroren breathes life into all her characters and their story arcs, as every character is unique and compelling, yet intertwined.

Other families we get to know are Mrs Aslan's family, Sam's friend Gugu whose African family are refugees, and old Mr Bailey who due to his experiences in the war, is afraid of migrants.

We come to know other neighbours from various backgrounds and are exposed to the hardships and daily obstacles they face. There's something unifying about these neighbours, mainly migrants who rise above their hardship to demonstrate that support, friendship and compassion are stronger than judgement and misunderstanding.

A snapshot of multi-cultural Australian suburbia and the family politics and cultures that define them.
Divaroren weaves beautiful characters and narratives and catches and unites them like a sparkly web. She writes with authority, empathy and insight. An author to watch.

Title: Living on Hope Street
Author: Demet Divaroren
Publisher: Allen & Unwin, $19.99
Publication Date: 24 May 2017
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781760292096
For ages: 14+
Type: Young Adult Fiction