Home Home

Lisa Allen-Agostini
Publication date: May 31 2018
ISBN: 9781999776831
Price: £6.99

Set in Canada with a Trinidadian backdrop, ‘Home Home’ explores mental illness as any other kind of illness and the LGBT family as an other kind of family.

‘Home Home” was the third-prize winner in the Burt Prize for Caribbean Young Adult Caribbean Literature in 2017.

What happens:
When a depressed Trinidadian teenager is sent by her mother to Canada to live with her lesbian aunt, she feels lonely and in exile. But with the help of her aunt, a gorgeous-looking boy, and her Skyping best friend ‘back home’, she begins to accept her new family and her illness. Then her mother arrives and threatens to take her back to Trinidad. Where then is home?

I loved this book. It vividly creates a world of depression and lost opportunity but also of hope and unconditional love.

Patrice Lawrence, author of “Orangeboy”

The deft handling of a young girl’s troubles makes us want to cheer for the heroine as she struggles to find health, home, and her true self.”

Olive Senior, author of “The Pain Tree”, winner of the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature

The story, unfolding through the eyes of a troubled fourteen-year-old girl, a new transplant to Edmonton, is realistic and perceptive. The evocation of immigrant life and adolescent anxieties is both instructive and moving. A timely YA novel.

Robin Maharaj, award-winning Trinidadian-born novelist, now living in Canada, writer-in-residence at the University of New Brunswick (2016-2017)

Lisa Allen-Agostini offers insights into mental health that will speak to parents and carers as much as to young adults. The subtle shift in her narrator’s sense of self during this short touching novel is hopeful, revealing the power of unconditional love.

Beverley Naidoo, author of The Other Side of Truth, Carnegie Medal winner

Home Home is the story of a depressed Trinidadian teenager, Kayla, who is sent to live with her Aunt in Canada. Whilst there, Kayla must come to terms with her mental health, her new family and indeed her new home. I received it for review from the publisher and was grateful for the offer: I want to find these sorts of books and see them participating within the world, and Home Home more than holds its own. It’s worthy of attention on a thousand different levels.

My only caveat with Home Home is that it is a relatively slender piece, and as such seems to almost finish before it starts. There’s an undoubted element of frustration there that I need to acknowledge because, I suspect, were it given some more space, this could be something kind of great. At present, it feels like there’s not enough space for it to fully explore its potential but, equally, it offers a ton of potential for follow up activities and close reading exercises.

I also don’t want to deny the fact that what is in Home Home is kind of fascinating, occasionally rather beautiful, and kind of great. Home Home exists somewhere between raw, Tumblr-esque truth and a whole hearted stream of consciousness vibe. There’s power here, particular in its honest and vivid truth and the way that it sometimes tumbles together and makes itself known at the least opportune moments. It feels in fact like something that you might find tucked away on a blog somewhere by somebody who feels the need to express themselves and to feel out the edges of that expression, and in the process to find themselves. I don’t think that’s a bad legacy for a book to have.

LH Johnson, blogger, didyoueverstoptothink.wordpress.com

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