Review – No and Me by Delphine de Vigan

Lou Bertignac, 13 with an IQ of 160, doesn’t quite fit in with her peers.  She’s been transferred to a class of 15 year olds but has most in common with Lucas,17, who has repeated two years.  Her family has never recovered from a past tragedy which has left each family member bereft and leading an aimless existence.  Then Lou meets No, an 18 year old homeless girl – on the surface they appear to be polar opposites but somehow they click.

When I was with No, you could have drawn a circle round us, a circle that didn’t exclude me, which enclosed us and for a few minutes protected us from the world.

This is a short, accessible novel with a very engaging, quirky narrator.  Lou is a fascinating character, rich in academic intelligence but poor in social skills.  She’s an extremely loyal friend and yes, perhaps she’s very naive about the ways of the real world but you can’t help cheering her on in her mission to rescue No.

I think No and Me falls more in Young Adult rather than Adult literature but its simplicity is part of its charm.  Despite its exploration of dark themes such as grief, loss and the plight of the homeless, you are left feeling uplifted by Lou’s sheer determination.  If you enjoy YA literature with unconventional young narrators you will relish No and Me.

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9 Comments

  1. This book sounds pretty good, actually. Yet another new author I discover on your blog. Do you think one could compare Lou a little to Flavia de Luce? If I think unconventional and quirky YA narrator, I think of Flavia.

  2. Thanks for letting me know what this one is like. I’m planning to read most of the Richard and Judy books and it sounds as though I’ll fly through this one. It will make a nice break from the more complicated stuff I’ve been reading recently.

  3. admin says:

    She’s a lot less flamboyant than Flavia and much less sure of herself but they do share some traits e.g. interest in scientific experimentation. I’d probably throttle Flavia in real life but would want to give Lou a hug!

  4. admin says:

    I like a lot of YA fiction so I was drawn to this one more than the other R and J titles. I know some reviewers shy away from YA literature deeming it beneath them, too simplistic etc but this one raises a lot of philosophical issues and gets under your skin.

  5. Annabel says:

    This is one of those books that was issued in two versions (at least in hardback). One for adults, one for the YA market. The YA cover above is much nicer. I’ve been meaning to read it for ages, and think I’ll definitely like it from your review.

  6. admin says:

    I agree, Annabel, the YA cover is much more attractive. I don’t understand the need to have two different covers. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

  7. Iris says:

    When I saw the title and the book cover I instantly became curious about this book and really, I think your review has convinced me that I really should read this. It is not often that I feel that way about YA novels.

  8. admin says:

    Iris, I think the French setting and theme of homelessness makes it different from a lot of other YA literature. Hope you like it. :-)

  9. [...] …its simplicity is part of its charm. Lovely Treez Reads [...]

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