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No and Me
by Delphine de Vigan

Release Date: 15th Mar 2010
Publisher: Bloomsbury
ISBN: 978 1 4088 0751 4
RRP: £9.99

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An unfathomable joy that will captivate your heart...

This hard to define novel follows the internal meanderings of thirteen-year-old Luc Bertignac; a gifted girl with an IQ of 160, but with the simplistic outlook of a child. Experimentation and scientific observation come easy to Luc, whereas her social interaction skills are poor, but it is hard to establish how much of this is down to nature and how much is nurture – as the death of her baby sister, Chloe, has had catastrophic affects on her family. Her mother having been admitted to a psychiatric hospital and subsequently released, but no more responsive than a mute. Her father trying to hold it together, but she hears him crying in the bathroom most days. Luc’s home life leaves a lot to be desired. That is until she stumbles upon No.

No’s character is equally pivotal to the plot; an eighteen-year-old homeless girl who has abandonment and trust issues, as well as drink and drug problems. Luc discovers No at the metro station, where she regular visits in order to observe the obvious emotions of passengers arriving and leaving their loved ones to go somewhere else. No seems the perfect candidate to help Luc with her rashly improvised presentation subject matter – that of homeless women. Initially reluctant, slowly the girls appear to form an attachment, if not a certain understanding. For Luc, this attachment goes beyond what would be considered normal and eventually it becomes an issue of asking her parents if she bring home this stray. The narrative follows the consequences of her decision, the repercussions on her family and details the trials and tribulations that come with trying to reintegrate a ‘street person’ into normal family life.

At parts, immensely moving and sad at others full of innocence and hope, No and Me is a highly original, peculiar novel about a teenage girl’s unusual perspective on life and her ability to function within it. It comes as no surprise that the author has acquired multiple awards and accolades for her work – her thoughtful, introspective narration is captivating and at once inspiring and crushing. This Young Adults version is no less of work of art than its adult counterpart.

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