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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.

416 pages, Hardcover

First published February 23, 2021

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About the author

Louisa Onomé

5 books116 followers
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.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 201 reviews
Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,069 reviews38.2k followers
April 17, 2021
It’s so refreshing to welcome brand new indie authors to the literature town who truly help us to hear more different voices and experience brand new perspectives!

This book is another brilliant, thought provoking story about gentrification and its realistic effects to the community.

Chinelo or as her best friend rephrased: Nelo is the narrator, a young girl who already suffered from traumatic changes in her life when she was 10. After an unexpected incident, she lost two of her best friends because their parents found the place they lived dangerous and they moved away. Now Kate is the only friend she had. But after Kate’s family store also named Ginger Store was vandalized and a new big box spice store’s decision to move to the Ginger East neighborhood, Nelo has to face new radical changes in her life even though she resists with every bond of her body.

The estrangement between she and Kate also makes her think she’s also losing her best friend, too.

The street portraits the author drew and the voice of Nelo hooked me from the beginning but I wish the author chose to tell story from different voices. I’d like to read Kate’s and Nelo’s other friends’ stories and their perspectives as well because only getting stuck in Nelo’s mind , her stubbornness and resilience to the concept of change could be so repetitive, clunky. With more narrations and plural voices we may get better reflections of the real effects of gentrification!

Instead of that issue, the story wrapped up well with great messages and presented us great portraits of Ginger Street!

As a debut novel, this was fresh, provocative, realistic, bold start! I’m looking forward to read more works of the author! Because of that I’m rounding up 3.5 to 4 epic, friendship, resistance to change, I love to read realistic young adult novels stars!

Special thanks to Netgalley and Random House’s Children’s/ Delacorte Press for sharing this digital reviewer copy with me in exchange my honest opinions.
Profile Image for katie ❀.
120 reviews470 followers
February 27, 2021
— find this this review and more on my blog


You know those books you’re overflowing with love for? This is one of those. Like Home was 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.)

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 ☾

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this was such a delightful story of love and change; be sure to have this on your tbr!! rtc 💞

thank you to turn the page tours and the publisher for sending a copy of this book in exchange for a spot on this blog tour!
Profile Image for Fanna.
979 reviews493 followers
Want to read
August 22, 2020
June 24, 2020: When a debut novel says it's perfect for fans of Angie Thomas and Elizabeth Acevedo, I listen VERY closely. And after this cover reveal, my excitement for this one's release is HIGH.
Profile Image for Ashley Shuttleworth.
Author 4 books709 followers
November 4, 2020
This book was just all around beautiful. I don’t normally read things that aren’t fantasy, but this book—I tell you, right from the first page it drew me in and kept me reading straight to the end. I adored Chinelo, and Kate and Rafa and Bo. They all had such depth to them, such complexity both in the relationships with one another and their personality themselves. I adored that this was set in Toronto, and how well teen life was captured in this portrayal. It’s a fun, engrossing read but it’s also an important read about gentrification, so all in all I highly recommend this ADD IT TO YOUR TBR
Profile Image for ☆ Anushka ☆ (on semi hiatus).
53 reviews31 followers
April 23, 2021
★★

Oh no, I got lured by the cover.

Although I partially enjoyed the plot from Nelo's perspective, I still found the single POV not much up to my liking.

In a story where the MC's world revolves around a store that's like home to her and the act of vandalism or gentrification that completely upturns her world, multiple POVs would've suited much better, in an attempt to highlight not just the protagonist's views, but also, all the other important people who grew up alongside her.

Personal preferences aside, Like Home barely managed to hook me in from the first page itself, although never wavering from the issues at hand like gentrification, displacing people and property tax. It's a feel good story, but according to me, it doesn't have the kind of high stakes I was looking for, when I'm the kind of person who enjoys a good made-me-sit-on-the-edge-of-my-seat story. So I was not as much invested in the story as I wanted to.

The characters were interesting in the beginning but the further the story progressed, the more I wanted to close the book and never look at it again. They sucked so much. The friendship between Nelo and Kate never faltered, despite the unfortunate circumstances.

But, gosh. These characters are so getting on my nerves. If you ever come across a person who has done something really terrible to you, would you let them get away easily? No. You wouldn't. There are very few people who would take the high road. And it really bothers me how a character here, who did something really hurtful, got away with everything without much actual consequences. It doesn't make sense.

And Bo. There were a few mentions of him here and there, but otherwise he was completely out of the picture. How am I supposed to judge a character if he's not there? He was supposed to be a member of the friends circle, but instead, I got a character from another dimension who lurks occasionally, just there to remind me that yes, he exists. Sorry but I'm not up to occasionally visiting aliens.

Despite that, I liked the power that is brought by a strong and united community, and the community of Ginger East is a prime example of that.

Ironically, Like Home put me into a reading slump instead of igniting that interest in me, of finishing the story as soon as possible.

Had I decided to read this book under different circumstances, maybe I would've liked it much more than present. But I was not up to wading through this work of fiction, as it didn't have many elements of sarcasm either, although that's understandable since this was not meant to be advertised as a comedy.

Overall, I've concluded one thing, for sure, and that is: general (contemporary) fiction such as Like Home is not enjoyed by me as much as I enjoy other genres. So that was a pretty major disadvantage, along with all the other problems, otherwise, it's a pretty good story, and I might reconsider while picking it up for a re-read. Actually, I'm never going to re-read it ever again.

I haven't read many works of fiction, so I'm not much good at recommending similar titles (I shouldn't be recommending in the first place), but I think people who love strong protagonists, with a voice that defies all the preconceived notions may have a special place in their heart for this book. Plus, it has received mostly positive reviews, so it can be liked by others.

**All opinions are my own and my review has not, in any way, been influenced by anyone.**
Profile Image for lauraღ.
1,349 reviews55 followers
February 6, 2021
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.

This one took a while to find its legs, but by the end I was thoroughly invested and really charmed.

I thought this was going to be a straightforward story about gentrification, wrapped up in young adult packaging, and I was totally on board for that. It's an important message and I enjoy the fact that it's being written for teens. I also loved that all of our main characters were the children of immigrants; it's an unspoken commonality that binds them all together, together with the neighbourhood that they share. And if that was all the novel was going to be about, I think I've have been satisfied?

But after a while (and if I have a complaint, it's that it was after a long while; idk if I'm just used to different pacing, but it felt like it took so long before we started exploring things beyond the surface level) things got deeper. This is a story about loving where you're from, the fierce pride that can grow out of a neighbourhood; the outrage and fear when people on the outside see the place you love as something different and ugly; the confusion and frustration when not everyone who lives there feels the same way you do. Nelo is young and idealistic and a little naïve and so fierce, and she was the perfect vehicle for his story. Things got messy, and there were a few conversations that came up that I just wasn't expecting to see in this book, and made the experience even better.

I also just love stories about friendships; how they can change over time and how we deal with that. I loved the friend group in this (though I was a little disappointed that it mostly focused on three of the characters we see on the cover) and I especially loved their text chains? Something about it was just pitch perfect, and exactly how you'd expect friends who've know each other for so long to talk to each other.

This was a great debut; different in all the best ways. It's far from being typical YA read, and I definitely recommend it.

☆ Review copy provided via the publisher and NetGalley.
Profile Image for Liselle Sambury.
Author 6 books936 followers
November 12, 2020
This book truly has so much heart! It really gets to the core of how much your childhood home and friends can be a reflection of who you are, and how you deal with those things changing when you’re not ready for them to be different. Also, I loved these characters and their interactions. I was legit cackling over some conversations. And the friendships were so fantastic and authentic.
Profile Image for Danielle.
426 reviews30 followers
April 2, 2021
Alas...another book where I was lured in by the beautiful cover. I have got to start learning from my mistakes...

I can’t say there were many books that I was anticipating in 2021, but this one was high up on ones that I was eager to read. The cover alone evokes this dreamy, cozy atmosphere about friendships and nostalgia and growing up in this special place you call home, of hanging out at the local diner or going to the movies every weekend with your friends. THESE were the kinds of vibes that I desperately wanted from this book, while also getting to the root of some more hard-hitting topics like gentrification and protecting your community.

Unfortunately, this book really didn’t live up to those expectations at all. First off, I went into this thinking it would be YA, and honestly? I’m still stumped as to what the age range is here, because on the one hand I’m fairly certain the characters are at least 15-16 and in high school, and they do use vulgar language and talk in a way that you’d expect teenagers to talk. But in all other aspects, this read like a middle grade.

Exhibit A: the sheer number of times that the main character mentions her new bra. At the beginning of the book, it’s revealed that Nelo is finally ready to start wearing a bra, which causes this big moment where her best friend Kate is like, “AWWW, Nelo is GROWING UP” and teases her, which.... strikes me as incredibly childish?? Like, this sounds like something friends would tease each other about in sixth grade, not when they’re in high school. And it didn’t even end there. ALL throughout this book, Nelo would mention her bra at random points, which just made this book feel a lot more juvenile and like this should be written for younger audiences despite the fact that the characters also use vulgar language. And considering that they’re high school age, you just wouldn’t make that big a deal over wearing a bra. Like, you should already be wearing a bra by like 5th or 6th grade...

So with that being said, I had a hard time rating this book, because I’m obviously not the target audience, even by typical YA standards. Could this be a great coming-of-age story for black or brown girls like Nelo and Kate? Absolutely! But I also think this book suffers from not really deciding whether it wants to be a middle grade or a YA. I think even 16-year old girls would find this to be too young for them.

Aside from the age range issue, I found myself underwhelmed by the actual plot. I went in expecting a feel-good novel about friendship while also touching on important social justice issues like gentrification. And this is definitely what kickstarted the novel and at first seemed like it was going to be a central component.... but then it basically got completely overshadowed by teen angst friendship drama a la group texting, social media, and viral videos. Like, I would argue that what takes up most of the space in this novel were Nelo and Kate fighting.

Which, CAN WE TALK ABOUT KATE.
Can we talk about how she literally threw a brick at her own family’s business, which then ignited this movement overnight, leaving many shaken and outraged over who would do this to their community, garnering attention from media outlets, and ultimately leading to what should’ve been a peaceful protest but resulted in violence at the hands of police that left many injured or tear-gassed. And this whole time, Kate just sits back, knowing full well that she’s what started all of this. All because, *shrug* Like, I dunno, I just wanted my family move and this was the only way I knew how.” And she doesn’t even seem that remorseful over any of it.

Like, seriously?? Fuuuuck you. Take some damn accountability over all of the damage you’ve caused, the fear that you’ve instilled in people. Oh, but her excuse for that is basically, “Well, everyone knows that things happen like this all the time here, so I figured no one would think anything of it.” So like, she’s fully aware that her neighborhood has a reputation for high crime rate and is deeply stigmatized against, and she completely took advantage of that... only further contributing to this stigma.

Again, fuuuuck you, Kate! And I can’t help but bring race into this. That, as an Asian American, Kate singlehandedly framed this situation with her family’s store as an instance of vandalism within a predominantly black, low-income neighborhood, which then brought police in and elicited a riot where black and brown people got tear-gassed and physically put in harm’s way. Everyone assumed that this was just another case of black people being “thugs” and destroying physical property, but it was Kate, who orchestrated the whole thing, who sat back and watched it all unfold, and who ultimately doesn’t have to worry about having this pinned on her or having this be used by others to demonize her race. And to have Nelo figure all of this out... how did she NOT take that personally?! How was she just okay with this? I feel like there was such a missed opportunity to educate Kate on all of this from Nelo’s perspective and the long-term ramifications of what she did.

I think that’s ultimately where this book fell flat. There were some really important issues included in this novel:
— gentrification
— stigmatization of black, low-income communities
—how the media skews information to fit their own bias
—what it means (and does NOT mean) to be a good ally

But these issues almost took a backseat to all of the friendship drama that transpired over the course of the novelAnd even then, aside from Kate and Nelo, the other people in their friend group just felt so flat. One character, Bo is mostly just brought up in conversation, but as far as him as a person? We pretty much don’t get anything about him, and I think we maaaaybe get a few scenes with him, where he says maybe a few words? He may as well be a cardboard cutout or a mannequin. That’s the level of presence we’re dealing with here. Unfortunately, Nelo’s love interest suffers in the same way. Basically no personality, and I felt absolutely nothing when him and Nelo had scenes together.

All in all, I like the sentiment of this book, how it centers around home and over time as you grow up it starts looking less and less like how you remembered, whether that’s through friendship groups or through other outside forces. I just thought that the political aspects of this book had a hard time shining through against viral videos and YouTube fame and friendship drama and all of the other things that took precedence in the plot.
Profile Image for Samantha (WLABB).
3,331 reviews231 followers
January 31, 2021
Rating: 3.5 Stars

From something as small as a new bra to the gentrification of her neighborhood, Nelo was fighting changes to her world. But when a violent act strikes one of her own, she might finally have to face all the change head-on.

As someone who grew up in a neighborhood I am now priced out of, I could relate to Nelo's fears of displacement and gentrification. She understood that Ginger East wasn't built around stores or buildings. It was the people, who were the heart of this community, and that showed when they banded together to support one of their own and to repair damage done.

Onomé assembled a great cast of characters. I loved seeing Nelo and her childhood friends, who had left the neighborhood, reunited. They shared a deep history and a traumatic experience, which I think bound them for life. But they also had a different perspective on things, because they left Ginger East, and we all know about distance, time, and perspective.

Though Nelo fought tooth and nail to keep things the same, she could not stop the tide of change taking place in her neighborhood or her life. I thought her journey was very authentic. She was a bit angsty, but I understood where those feelings were coming from.

I do wish the story had been told from multiple points of view or perhaps trimmed a bit, because parts felt redundant. I also would have liked to have seen Nelo grow more, and there were some loose ends that left me wanting.

Overall, I think people will appreciate the social issues in this story and will welcome Nelo's fresh and genuine voice, as well as her unflinching loyalty to her community.

*ARC provided in exchange for an honest review.

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Profile Image for Nursebookie.
1,947 reviews299 followers
February 27, 2021
Like Home
By Louisa Onome

This is a fantastic coming-of-age novel about relationships with our friends, our community and how we see our world from within. Chinelo loves her neighborhood and community of Ginger East but things are changing a lot with her friends moving out, and gentrification moving in, and affecting her beloved community.

This is a wonderful debut novel with fantastic characters and a subject matter that is relatable and timely. I thought the writing was well done and really grabbed my attention for its subject matter, plotting and wonderful characters.

Highly recommend this amazing debut read.
Profile Image for Brandie Shanae Bridges.
187 reviews117 followers
March 25, 2021
This was amazing. This book takes place in Canada where we have the main characters Chinelo a.k.a Nelo and her best friend Kate. In this book this talking about the issues of gentrification in communities and how it affects its current residents and how people are being displaced and their rent is gradually going up. Well this one thing that Chinelo does not want to accept. She does not like seeing her community this way and how society feels like this community is completely gehtto and nothing good happens. So Nelo tries to get the record straight and also says that there is going to be a peaceful protest in her community during an interview. Now mind you this community is called Ginger East and one of the main reasons why a protest is being organized is because there beloved store was broken into and a brick was thrown in the window. This store is very precious to the community and Chinelo also has a connection with this store because her best friend Kate's parents own and work at the store. Though as Chinelo is defending her community her and Kate start to drift apart and Nelo does not understand why that is until one day they both talk to each other Kate pretty much confesses that she wold like to leave Ginger East just like their friends did when they were little. Kate loves the fact of change and she wanted to share her perspective to Nelo in order for her to have a better understanding. Overall this book was amazing!
Profile Image for Kajree Gautom.
565 reviews
February 26, 2021
In Like Home, a sudden act of local vandalism suddenly changes the whole neighborhood of Ginger East, while also bringing closer four friends Chinelo, Kate, Raffa and Bo.


Chinelo, our MC, is a bold and strong lady at the cusp of adulthood. Her love for her home and neighborhood and best friend Kate was portrayed so well through the words. Having lost two of her best friends after an unexpected incident, her only best friend is Kate. And when Kate starts to pull back after the local vandalism act, Nelo finds herself lost and grappling onto old life, wishing for things to go back to the way it was. And one way she thinks she can achieve this is to find who was behind the vandalism that ripped apart her friend’s life.


My favorite character has to be Raffa. Adorable and sweet, I loved Raffa’s innocence as well as his strength and presence of mind. Bo, on the other hand annoyed me and I really didn’t feel his character. He could’ve been excluded and I wouldn’t have bothered. Same was with Maree too. I wish she got more time to develop her character, perhaps, but she just seemed like a prop to stir the pot. Kate was, I guess, alright. While I was conflicted about her actions, I wish she didn’t pull back and do what she did. Lastly, when it came to Chinelo, I was totally conflicted about my feelings toward her. While I liked her in the beginning of the story, she got too much of a typical teen character for me later on – wants to take on every single burden upon herself, takes too much to heart, is very sensitive and emotional, will try to involve herself everywhere, pretend to be oblivious to the obvious. I just – there were certain points when I just didn’t vibe with her anymore and wish she wasn’t so nosy.


However, I think the relationship between these friends was very well established. We see how that single incident manages to bring the four of them closer and the transition is so smooth, so swift – it just fits into the daily normal. I liked that. To see the lively chats between them also warmed my heart and brought some colors to the gravity of the story otherwise. Those little moments were some of the best.


Coming to the writing, I loved the way the author portrayed the lives of the characters and painted distinctions of each other. The writing felt so fresh and fun to read. I was flipping from one page to the other in a swift way, and I think the author made everything very much relatable. It was seamless and beautiful. The focus was also on very important topics of gentrification, racism, the want and need for change and resistance, social justice.


The character’s growth by the end of the book was, I suppose, commendable. They grow into somewhat mature beings with more trust and courage with each other and oneself. Friendship stories are one of my favorites and this really warmed my heart.


But there were also a few little things that didn’t allow me to give this book a higher rating. As I had mentioned before, Chinelo’s character didn’t outrightly fascinate me. As a main character, I found her voice to be whiny and repetitive towards the end, her fears and dilemma surrounding the same single thought. I wish there were multiple POVs to this, maybe from each of the four main characters. I would have loved to see the events through Kate’s eyes, for one, to see what drove her, what made her do what she did. At the same time, while I did enjoy the writing, I also felt like the emotional aspect of the story was missing a lot. I couldn’t emotionally connect to Nelo’s desperation to save Ginger East, Kate’s shop and resist change. I wanted something more, I suppose, to feel.


The climax also didn’t really sit well with me, I’ll be honest. I did guess it 50% into the book, and yet I wasn’t fond. I also didn’t like how quickly things were resolved at the end.


The book definitely played with clichés, I won’t lie, but I’m ready to overlook them. But I think for a debut, this book was really good. It tried to shed light on gentrification, social activism, economic status and mobility, the power of media and the idea of change as a whole. The book is a lot fast paced but has a fitting end, I believe. The cast of diverse characters and their distinct ideologies, perspectives and personalities made it a fun and important read.
Profile Image for Flavia.
316 reviews33 followers
July 26, 2021
3.5 stars

A complimentary digital copy of this book was kindly provided by Random House Children’s Books through Books Forward in exchange for an honest review.

When I first heard of Like Home, I’m pretty sure it was mentioned that the book is set in Toronto and I was so so excited! I live about an hour outside of Toronto and would visit a number of times a year for blogger events, birthdays, and to explore places and foods that don’t exist in my town. If it wasn’t obvious, I was quite excited to read about one of my favourite cities.

Now, having, read the book I realized that going into Like Home, I had forgotten that visiting a place (no matter how often) is not the same as living there. The way that I experience Toronto is not the same as someone who lives there. There are so many neighbourhoods too–each one unique–and I got to spend a little bit of time experiencing such a unique neighbourhood through the eyes of a group of young adults living there.

I will say that I did struggle with Like Home a bit though...

Read the rest of my review on the blog!
Profile Image for Adira.
408 reviews231 followers
February 12, 2021
This book is really good!

The way Onomé writes her characters had me nostalgic for 2000's/2010's television about Disney. Chinelo is probably going to be one of my favorite characters from this year!
Profile Image for Betty Maxine.
Author 3 books7 followers
February 27, 2021
3.5 stars

Okay WOW...... I’m not the biggest YA reader but this story kept me invested. I sort of knew who caused the problem but I liked the revelation. And the characters were nothing short of AMAZING. Especially Nelo. She was so strong and really cared about her community. It made me wish I even cared just a quarter when I was her age.

And the relatability was off the charts. As a Nigerian, there were too many moments I found myself laughing out loud because I HAD EXPERIENCED IT. From the chain messages from parents to constantly eating rice *hahahaha* I LOVED IT.

Nelo was watching her community change right under her and she wasn’t having it. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it right? I loved watching her fight for what she believed in even if she wasn’t doing so with who she wanted. She was independent and just utterly AMAZING!!!!

It took me the beginning chapters to fully immerse myself in the story but once I did, I was sold.


I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for sara.
128 reviews
Want to read
January 6, 2021
I just saw ‘fans and In The Heights’
Profile Image for Shivani.
216 reviews8 followers
March 18, 2021
*3.5

Starting with what I enjoyed about this book: This author truly has a way with words. I felt like the tone, syntax, the way she described settings or developed her characters were all intentional and dynamic. When I look back objectively I think, oh wow this author truly transported me into this novel without me even realizing it. I really enjoyed some of the friendship dynamics and the way in which she incorporated themes of friendships and falling outs. You all know friendship fall outs hurt different than a relationship. They truly suck. I also found the main character relatable in a lot of ways and some of the experiences I went through in high school I saw in her. That's the part where I cried reading this book, so the author did manage to hit an emotional nerve (which makes it a good book!) There was also one particular relationship in this book that I literally squealed over. The dynamic of this relationship was just so cute and one I still thrive to have, haha.

What I didn't like so much: I'd just like to preface that this is in no way an issue with how the author wrote this book, it's just about what I personally like or don't like in books. The first thing was of course the amount of miscommunication that occurred throughout the novel. I know, I was trying to convince myself the whole time, these are kids, they're only 16, of course they'll miscommunicate, but I just couldn't deal with it. If you know my personality type, I'm honestly a pretty brash person. I hate miscommunication because I grew up with a lot of it, so I will always tell people things straight up. Thus, even though these were kids, I couldn't separate my own experiences from that trope. Additionally, again, the characters are in high school, but some of them were incredibly naïve. Being a child of an immigrant who's a woman, who basically raised her sister, it's difficult for me to empathize with characters who can't see what's happening in front of them. I did find the story itself really charming in the beginning, but it was a bit predicable, which might have been the author's intention, but for me as a reader, the mystery seemed obvious from the get go and it felt like it took forever for the big reveal.

Characters: 6/10
Atmosphere: 7/10
Writing Style: 8/10
Plot: 6/10
Intrigue: 5/10
Logic: 6/10
Enjoyment: 6/10
Profile Image for Samantha Fondriest.
575 reviews227 followers
February 16, 2021
Note: The 4 star rating is reflective of the strong tween and teen appeal. While I liked it, I personally felt more meh about it as an adult (probably a 3 star), but I think this is absolutely wonderful book for that target audience and I don't want a lower rating to discourage teachers, librarians, and parents from recommending this to kids!

Nelo is resistant to change - she's reluctant to accept her maturing body, is frustrated by changing friendship dynamics, and hates the gentrification going on in her neighborhood that is pricing long time residents out of their apartments. When a brick is thrown through the window of the local corner store, Nelo's anxiety about the future of her neighborhood amplifies.

Like Home is sure to strike a chord with its target audience; realistic teen dialogue and emotions will make the cast of characters relatable. Despite being 16, Nelo and friends do read younger than their age which may annoy older readers, making this a better recommendation to tweens and younger teens. The writing is compulsively readable and the story is well paced. Discussions around gentrification, economic status and mobility, and activism make this a timely read. An unnecessary romance detracts from an otherwise important story about the inevitable changes (body, friendship, neighborhood) that come with growing up.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for an advanced copy of this novel. All opinions are, as always, my own.
Profile Image for Phoenix (Books with Wings).
363 reviews86 followers
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August 4, 2021
After a lot of consideration, I'm going to have to DNF this. The book just wasn't interesting to me and it was becoming a drag to get through, it felt really slow as well. Probably just not my type of book! It had a really good lesson so far, though, and I wish I were able to see what came of everything!
Profile Image for Abbey.
90 reviews
February 11, 2021
I received this book as an ARC from Harper Collins and I really enjoyed it! It was very fast paced and I couldn’t put it down. I really liked Nelo’s character and found her friends relatable. I will definitely be recommending this book to customer at work when it’s released:)
Profile Image for Marie.
464 reviews175 followers
January 22, 2021
Trigger warnings:
Diversity: Nigerian, Vietnamese, Columbian, Black main characters. Jamaican, Trinidadian side characters.

Oh this was a little gem and a beautiful surprise. I loved this story about change and growth, the characters and their relationships and friendships were all so wonderful, too. This one needs to be on your TBR, friends!

Full review coming soon :)

Thank you to Penguin Random House International for sending me an e-ARC of this book via NetGalley. This did not, in any way, influence my thoughts and rating.

My Blog - Drizzle & Hurricane Books - Twitter - Bookstagram - Bloglovin'
May 1, 2021

Also Posted on For The Love of Fictional Worlds

Disclaimer: An eARC was provided via Turn The Pages Tours and The Author as part of the Blog Tour. The Thoughts, opinions & feelings expressed in the review are therefore, my own.

A delightful debut that’s all about community, friendship, loyalty and the consequences of change.
Not gonna lie, I was more attracted to the cover;
but I am so delighted that the story itself held up to my expectations.

Told in the voice of young Nelo, it’s her world that’s described – outright, it’s easy to see that she is struggling with her friends moving away, even though it’s not clear why they had in the first few chapters!

While I would have honestly adored getting multiple POVs and I do believe it would have just enhanced the effect of the story – it still didn’t detract from the actual issue of gentrification (an issue I barely had an idea about before reading the book!)


The wonderful debut is all about the friendships, the love they have for their community and how these characters deal with change – the characters are complex, and their personalities distinct – it was delightful to see the not only interact with each other, but also their varying reactions to the societal issues that faced in the book.

Like Home, is a must read – not just because it talks about some very important societal issues but also because it’s written so well, that once you start, you just won’t stop!



For more reviews visit For The Love of Fictional Worlds :)

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Profile Image for Addie.
197 reviews4 followers
January 12, 2022
Yet another classic case of Addie not reading the description of a book. BUT ngl no matter what it was about, I still would have bought it because of the cover. I enjoyed it, especially because it's character-based. I'm a sucker for complex characters with actual feelings and emotions *cough cough not bella swan * so this book was right up my alley. The subject is definitely not something I have encountered a lot, focusing on a poorer neighborhood and the struggles that residents face. I grew up in a worse-off neighborhood ( nowhere near close to the relationships developed here though ) and it was refreshing seeing some of the things I witnessed growing up. Nelo also has plenty of Friend Drame, which I'm so happy an author wrote appropriately. Too many times I read books where people are besties 100% of the time, and that's just not the case. Overall it was very realistic and I'm excited to see what else the author might write.
Profile Image for Steve Dunk.
46 reviews
October 4, 2020
Louisa is a particularly good writer, that much is certain.

"Like Home" has a wonderful rhythm to it, the subject matter is timely and important, and the community of Ginger East has a personality all its own. The problem however as I see it, that, as an unlisted character, Ginger East is far and away the most compelling part of the story. The ebb and flow of its streets, the communal aspect of its people, and it is a mirror to our ever-changing society. All good things.

Try as I might however, I just could not connect with or get emotionally attached to any of the characters, not one. Janet, Paco, and Mr. Brown came close, but they are set aside to further Nelo's arc which, aside from patching things up with Kate, essentially went nowhere. If I'm being honest, I didn't care for Nelo at all actually and that's a problem in a first-person novel.

There's just not enough exploration of any one theme or character, and that's an issue, too many good ideas for one book. I know Louisa has a great story to tell, but for me just couldn't translate it to page well enough.

Man, I really wanted to love this story so instead I'll very much look forward to what Louisa has up her sleeve!
Profile Image for Jason June.
Author 13 books393 followers
January 12, 2021
Louisa Onomé had me feeling all the feels in LIKE HOME. Following the aftermath of Nelo's best friend's family's store getting vandalized, Onomé explores gentrification and the way people outside Nelo's neighborhood try to "help" without asking the people who actually live in the community what is really needed. Meanwhile, Nelo deals with changes in herself and her friends happening at the same time, and her journey adapting to that change and standing up for her neighborhood is one that's going to stick with me for a long time.
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