This title surprisingly has a lot in common with the Kelly Clarkson song.
(as in, crying in the middle of the night)
(thanks, Pip Harry)
In Because of You, there are two narrators, and both of their perspectives bring together a story of hope, friendship, and words.
Tiny is a homeless girl staying at a shelter, and Nola is volunteering there as part of mandatory community service hours at her school. We shouldn’t have to humanise people who are homeless, but Pip Harry does it in the most wonderful way possible: through the power of stories. Nola’s helping out with a writing group at the shelter, and some of the poetry that Tiny (and the other residents) share is absolutely incredible. I really believe in the empathetic magic of books, and this is one of the best examples.
The developing relationship between Tiny and Nola was also lovely.
At the beginning of the book Nola is a little prejudiced against homeless people in general, but she grows throughout the book and it was wonderful to see her journey, and how they started to trust each other. Also, supportive parents!! Yay! The book itself is never preach-y or patronising, leaving as many questions as there are answers. These are big issues – homelessness and parenthood and grief, among so many others. But Pip Harry doesn’t try to come up with solutions, she just follows the story of two girls, and in many ways that is much more powerful.
It’s a truly wonderful book, and I hope you all have the chance to read it.
Tiny is homeless. Nola has everything she could ask for. They meet when Nola is forced into volunteer work for the writers’ group at the homeless shelter where Tiny is staying, and at first it seems impossible that two people who are so different could ever be friends. But despite her initial prejudice, Nola quickly learns that there isn’t much separating her from the people who live on the streets. And Tiny begins to see that falling down doesn’t mean you never get back up. Because of You is a story about homelessness, prejudice and the power of words to provide a little hope.
At its heart is the friendship between Tiny and Nola, and how this relationship changes both girls at the core. Pip Harry doesn’t shy away from some heavy topics—Tiny’s story is heartbreaking and the details about life on the streets of Sydney is horrifying—but Because of You is ultimately a hopeful story about human resilience and the life-changing power of discovering your best friend.
Thanks to University of Queensland Press for the review copy!
What do you all think about dual-POV books? Love ’em, hate ’em? What are your favourites?