14-year-old Leah loves wilderness survival books. In fact, sometimes she wishes she could escape into the wild. Then she could get away from the body image obsession at school and the bullies who pick on her little brother, Aiden. As long as she could still braid her hair, she could definitely survive without home comforts… and she could explore her passion for stargazing.
But alone in the woods one night, Leah’s life is transformed. She has the strangest sensation of gliding across the night sky, among millions of dazzling stars. This profound experience sparks a burning question in Leah that no one seems able to answer.
Desperate to broaden her horizons, Leah challenges herself to attend an international summer camp. Will the people she meets there, from her first love Sean, to formidable climate activist Kayleigh, help Leah find the answer to her question: what is ‘Home’?
This is a difficult book to review for me. I was excited about the prospect of Home. I liked the sound of a coming of age story where the main character was trying to find her place in the world. There appeared to be some sort of fantasy element from the blurb on the back of my copy and there was a strong element of environmentalism involved from the press release I picked up from the publisher.
As this book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review, I will give it that. However it will be short. The book was intersting, the storyline was intriguing and something I probably should have loved. The idea of a main character, 14 years old, going off to a summer camp and exploring more about the world, her place in it and the environmental impact of humans on this world. The film project that they undertake and the mix of personalities she meets. I usually would have loved every second. Unfortunately though, Home fell a little flat for me.
A lot of this was to do with the dialogue between the characters. None of the younger characters in this book spoke how I would expect teenagers from the UK to speak. It wasnt that the topics they discussed were much more mature than I expected. I’m completely comfortable with teenagers having conversations about extetesionalism and the harm we are doing to the planet. It was the way they spoke and the approach taken to the conversations that I unfortunately found very jaring.
I believe the author, Mark Ballabon, is a philosopher. And that makes sense when reading the book. It feels very much like a philosophy book; full of questions about our beings. For me though, there is a stark contrast between a YA book with a theme of philosophy and a philosophy book being moulded for the teenage fiction market. This felt like the later.
I will say the illustrations throughout are really pretty, and brought some of the parts of the story to life. I wished there were more as they only appeared when the “windows” (chapters) started.
I enjoyed the themes explored, but I cant say that Home is making its way to my favourite books of 2022 list. It was ok, but that was all. However that is just my opinion and I can see from the goodreads reviews that I am in the minority. So if you are interested in philosophy and the environement it might be for you.
Home was published by Eminent Productions Ltd on April 22nd 2022. My copy was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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