She loves its chill vibe, ride-or-die sense of community, and her memories of growing up there. Ginger East isn’t what it used to be, though. After a deadly incident at the local arcade, all her closest friends moved away, except for Kate. But as long as they have each other, Nelo’s good.
Only, Kate’s parents’ corner store is vandalized, leaving Nelo shaken to her core. The police and the media are quick to point fingers, and soon more of the outside world descends on Ginger East with promises to “fix” it. Suddenly, Nelo finds herself in the middle of a drama unfolding on a national scale.
Worse yet, Kate is acting strange. She’s pushing Nelo away at the exact moment they need each other most. Nelo’s entire world is morphing into something she hates, and she must figure out how to get things back on track or risk losing everything—and everyone—she loves.
Title: Like Home
By: Louisa Onomé
Published by: Harper Collins/Delacorte Press
Publication date: February 23, 2021
Page Count: 416
Format: Hardcover, eBook, Kindle
What a GREAT contemporary novel. I tend to read more scifi/fantasy but this was an absolute joy to read. Louisa Onomé gives us this amazingly coming of age and dealing with change story while embedding so much more into it. There’s learning to deal with the changes going on in one’s own body, their friends, and even within their own neighborhoods.
Not to mention Nelo is such a passionate, vulnerable, stubborn, MC and Onomé is not afraid to show Nelo’s fear through it all which makes it so easy to root and/or identify with her.
Nelo loves her neighborhood but where other people (even within it) see a dangerous place to live, she sees it as a place full of good people with good hearts; where the good outweighs the bad that everyone else seems to focus on.
When her best friend’s father is a victim of vandalization, his store being the/a staple of the neighborhood, it feels like everything is changing and none it seems to be for the better.
Nelo’s best friend is being oddly distant, even in this tragic turn of events for her family, and Nelo finds herself being connected to their friends that moved on from the neighborhood. They all seem to be reconnecting over one thing or another, but Kate’s family store being vandalized is the catalyst to it all.
I loved the cast of characters, there’s just something to like about all of them and they’re all just so different to each other and yet obviously care about each other a lot. Well most are amazingly loyal, I won’t speak the name of the unworthy one lol.
It was great to see how much people can change and how that can be seen by someone who hasn’t changed as much or in different ways.
Queue Nelo having remarkable character growth and taking us on this wonderfully personal journey all the while handling the topic of Gentrification with the observance it deserves to have from everyone, not just those who have had to deal with. I always feel it’s a topic that doesn’t get as much attention as it should and I loved watching Nelo handle it and point it out and learn her own feelings on the changes that come with it for her.
Definitely one of my favorite releases of 2021 so far and I really look forward to going back and reading this author’s debut novel again, and for reading what comes next!
5/5 Cups of coffee, thanks to the Publisher and Netgalley for an eARC of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. Like Home releases on February 23, 2021!