Living on Hope Street (Demet Divaroren, A&U)
Demet Divaroren’s YA novel Living on Hope St does not shirk from tackling the big issues that concern society today. Refugees, domestic abuse, racism, grief and bullying all feature in the stories of seven characters who live on the same street. The teenage voices are realistic as they negotiate their own rites of passage. There’s Kane, who wants to physically protect his mum and brother from their violent father; and Ada, who is dealing with her identity and fractured family life. The other characters are equally credible and range from the Vietnam war-affected Mr Bailey to Turkish immigrant Mrs Aslan, whose kindness extends to all. Living on Hope St explores how a group of diverse people perceive others, which in turn might allow the reader to question their own perceptions. While the domestic abuse scenes may be confronting to read, the sense of community and openmindedness hopefully counteract this. This positive thread is enough to recommend it to any young adult aged 14 and over, especially those who feel they don’t ‘fit in’.
Katie Haydon is a former assistant editor of Books+Publishing and is presently studying Adult Language, Literacy and Numeracy