Title: Like Home
Author: Louisa Onomé
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publication Date: February 23rd, 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.
In her debut novel, Louisa Onomé tells the story of embracing change and the importance of community. Nelo loves living in East Ginger. Yeah, it has its problems, but it’s home. After her best friend’s family store, and the local grocer, is vandalized, Nelo is determined to figure out who did it to make sure Kate’s family won’t move away, like other families. Slowly, Ginger East is becoming gentrified. With the closing of so many different businesses and rent starts to increase, Nelo is trying to hold on to her neighborhood and her childhood as tight as she can before everything changes.
There was a lot I liked about this. The overall message of embracing change, even if it’s scary. How social media and the news can take a story and make it something it’s not by exacerbating a situation. The tone of voice was very strong and felt extremely genuine. The authentic relationships were really special and I loved to read about the reconnection between old friends. My one critique is that it definitely felt too long. At over 400 pages, it for sure lagged in parts.
I definitely recommend, if you’re looking for a book with a great sense of community reminiscent of television show On My Block, look no further! Just be warned, it is pretty long.
ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.