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No Fixed Address by Susin Nielsen

No Fixed Address

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"Felix Knutsson is nearly thirteen, lives with his mother and pet gerbil Horatio, and is brilliant at memorising facts and trivia. So far, pretty normal. But Felix and his mom Astrid have a secret: they are living in a van. Astrid promises it's only for a while until she finds a new job, and begs Felix not to breathe a word about it.

"So when Felix starts at a new school, he does his very best to hide the fact that most of his clothes are in storage, he only showers weekly at the community centre, and that he doesn't have enough to eat. When his friends Dylan and Winnie ask to visit, Felix always has an excuse. But Felix has a plan to turn his and Astrid's lives around: he's going to go on his favourite game show Who, What, Where, When and win the cash prize. All he needs is a little luck and a lot of brain power."

I went into No Fixed Address not knowing much about it, but ended up devouring it in two sittings. It’s a heart-wrenching, cute, wonderful read that had me smiling but also sobbing at times. You could say it’s the Canadian version of Slumdog Millionaire.

This book focuses on issues that you don’t see enough of in YA, especially with regards to ‘hidden’ homelessness. Felix and his mum, Astrid, are living in a van and over the course of the story we get to find out the reasons behind this – some of which are quite shocking. Nielsen really brings home the reality of Felix’s situation, not just being ‘between homes’ but also the relationship between him and his mother, which becomes slightly strained over time.

You can’t help but love Felix straight away. Despite having his own problems, he is very compassionate towards others and looks out for his friends and his mum first. His relationship with friends Dylan and Winnie is just heartwarming and I loved them as a trio.

No Fixed Address is an excellent story about ‘hidden’ homelessness, friendship, family and finally getting the luck you deserve, and one that will stick with me for a very long time.