You know those books you’re overflowing with love for? This is one of those.
Today, I’m so excited to be able to talk about and review Like Home, one of my most anticipated releases of the month! It’s a story with so much heart, banter, and friendship, and I’m so excited for others to fall in love with this too 💕 (This also got me out of a little slump. Thank you, book.)
A little note: there are minor spoilers in this review !!
Louisa Onomé ☾ February 23, 2021
Fans of Netflix’s On My Block, In the Heights, and readers of Elizabeth Acevedo and Ibi Zoboi will love this debut novel about a girl whose life is turned upside down after one local act of vandalism throws her relationships and even her neighborhood into turmoil.
Chinelo, or Nelo as her best friend Kate calls her, is all about her neighborhood Ginger East. 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.
Thank you to Turn the Page Tours and Delacorte Press for sending a copy of this book in exchange for a spot on this blog tour! This did not affect my opinions in any way.
about the author
Louisa Onomé is a writer of books for teens. She holds a BA in professional writing from York University and is represented by Claire Friedman at InkWell Management.
A part of the Author Mentor Match round 3 cohort, she is also a writing mentor and all-around cheerleader for diverse works and writers. When she is not writing, her hobbies include picking up languages she may never use, trying to bake bread, and perfecting her skincare routine. She currently resides in the Toronto area.
Like Home follows Nelo, a girl who has lived in Ginger East, her small neighborhood, all her life. But when her best friend’s store is vandalized, Nelo’s life is turned upside down and everything changes. She’s reluctant to accept this, and wants the neighborhood she knows so well to stay the same. Although it’s hard for her to realize, she has to live with the fact that her neighborhood is slowly being “restored”, whether Nelo likes it or not, and that Ginger East is next in a line of gentrified communities.
Why does it seem like the older you get, the more everything changes and the more miserable you are? And nothing stays the same. Not one thing.
What I loved most, above everything else, was ultimately the community of Ginger East as a whole. The way everyone’s lives were intricately woven—with one another, with the neighborhood, and with new changes—was a big part of the story, and how Ginger East united in the face of discrimination and gentrification was inspiring yet heartbreaking to read.
Nelo was a character I loved reading about, her passion for defending her neighborhood not overtaking the story, which created a delicate balance. She wants everything to stay the same in a world that’s always changing, and I could vividly feel her anger at outsiders moving in to Ginger East.
I don’t have it in me to struggle anymore. All I can do is watch.
I also really enjoyed the character relationships that Nelo has, both with her friends, family, and new people she meets. Nelo reconnects with two of her childhood friends, Bo and Rafa, in the aftermath of the event. While her friendship with Kate is,, challenging at the moment, she gets to know Rafa better, and they become friends (and more). The dynamics between them were written so well! But I wished I got to see more of Bo (even though he was off visiting Kate all the time 😏)!!
Overall, I really enjoyed this book, and I can’t wait for more readers to get their hands on it! It’s a story of change, love, and discovering more of yourself. In addition to that, it has cute romances while capturing the nuances of friendship and grappling with social problems without making things too dark. I’ll definitely be watching out for Onomé’s next book!
representation ☾ Nigerian MC, Vietnamese, Colombian, Black, Jamaican, and Trinidadian side characters
content warnings ☾blood, protests, police violence
see the launch post to learn more about the tour!
Turn the Page Tours is giving away two (2) finished copies of Like Home to two (2) winners! This giveaway will end February 28th at 11:59 PM CST and is open to US residents only. Enter the giveaway here!