Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Review: Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell

Everyone thinks that Sophie is an orphan. True, there were no other recorded female survivors from the shipwreck that left baby Sophie floating in the English Channel in a cello case, but Sophie remembers seeing her mother wave for help. Her guardian tells her it is almost impossible that her mother is still alive—but “almost impossible” means “still possible.” And you should never ignore a possible.

So when the Welfare Agency writes to her guardian, threatening to send Sophie to an orphanage, she takes matters into her own hands and flees to Paris to look for her mother, starting with the only clue she has— the address of the cello maker.

Evading the French authorities, she meets Matteo and his network of rooftoppers—urchins who live in the hidden spaces above the city. Together they scour the city in a search for Sophie’s mother—but can they find her before Sophie is caught and sent back to London? Or, more importantly, before she loses hope?

As soon as I saw this book, I knew I wanted to read it. I didn’t even need to know what it was about, I just knew from the title and cover that it was a thing I was going to like and I needed it. Once I read the summary, I NEEDED IT MORE. Oh, man, was I ever right.

I completely loved this book. I was entranced with the set up story, all the characters and especially the writing style. The writing style is so simple and clean that just it focuses This book reminded me of Claire Legrand’s The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls and Ellen Potter’s Kneebone Boy. If you like books, that are a little quirky, a little dark and completely magical in their own way, this is so your book.

In search for her long lost mother, Sophie makes some new friends. Orphans living on the streets (or above them) of Paris. Rooftopper Matteo, Sky-treaders Anastasia and Safi and Notre Dame dweller, Gerard. I picture these four kind of like being the real world version of Neverland’s Lost Boys. I’m talking kids, but I can’t neglect Charles. One of the coolest adults I’ve read in Middle Grade fiction. So easily adults can be either seen as strict, evil overlords or totally clueless parents (yes, it happens before the teen years), but Charles is neither. He is Sophie’s guardian and just plain cool. He only wants the best for her, no matter her method of getting it.

I know there’s another book expected from Katherine Rundell coming this year and I absolutely cannot wait for it.

-Reviewed by Jennifer

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