No Fixed Address

No Fixed Address

Book - 2018
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After his mother loses her job, twelve-year-old Felix and his mother secretly live out of a van when they are evicted from their latest apartment.
Publisher: [Toronto, Ontario] : Tundra, [2018]
Copyright Date: ©2018
ISBN: 9780735262751
Characteristics: 280 pages : illustrations


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PimaLib_SamR May 22, 2019

Susin Nielsen’s middle-school novel No Fixed Address brings to the fore a hidden dilemma in modern society: homeless families. After Felix’s mom, Astrid, first loses one of her jobs, then the other, the prospect of spending the summer in a van is, at first, regarded as a camping adventure. But when autumn comes to Vancouver, Canada and Astrid still doesn’t have a steady job, life becomes more precarious.
Sworn to secrecy by his mom, Felix finds it difficult to hide the circumstances of his life: no domicile, in the traditional sense, and the fact that lunch is a hit or miss affair. Then there is the issue of not having a bathroom close to hand, or a proper kitchen.
To make matters worse, Felix, at times, must assume the role of parent because his mother suffers from depression and has sub-standard social skills. Nonetheless, he loves his mother, their bond is strong, and she has imparted to him a wealth of knowledge gleaned from her own desultory education. This disparate knowledge allows Felix to participate on a game show which, if he wins, would permit him and his mother to become renters, once again.
Though Felix’s living arrangements are extraordinary, he is still a kid navigating the pre-teen world. So when things start going awry, will he find the courage to share his truth with his friends, and if so, will his friends stick by him?
Nielsen presents this tenuous existence with wit and compassion. So, open you heart and mind to this moving story of survival on the edge

JCLChrisK May 14, 2019

A tough topic handled delicately--by being about a character and not an issue. Felix is interesting, engaging, and entertaining as a narrator, both honest and flawed enough to be authentic and sympathetic. He tells an enjoyable story that I didn't want to put down.

Tigard_HollyCP Apr 02, 2019

Poignant story about almost 13-year-old Felix and his experience with homelessness. He and his mom live out of a Volkswagen Westfalia, which is pretty nice as vans go, but not so nice as homes go. Felix narrates the story, and most of the book is him relaying his story to a constable at the police station, but you don’t know what has brought him there and whether he and/or his mom may be under suspicion for anything. His mom cannot seem to hold down a job due to her “slumps” and her tendency to say things that lead to her often being fired, which ultimately led to their current situation. Felix has changed schools several times but is ecstatic when his mom lies Felix’s way into a French immersion school where his best friend he hasn’t seen in 2 years attends (actually, the opposite of ecstatic about the lie itself, but he couldn’t be happier with the result of the lie). Though he holds onto hope that his mom will find a job and be able to afford rent, he realizes he may have to be the one to actually make it happen. And when the brand new junior version of his favorite game show comes to town, the opportunity presents himself. With $25,000, they could get a place and be set for at least the next year. Though Felix never expressly says, it is clear that his mother suffers from mental illness (as a former mental health therapist, I would guess depression and probably a personality disorder). The author even manages to include bits on the plight of Syrian refugees, the effect of theft on small business owners, and Felix’s relationship with his gay dad.

samcmar Apr 01, 2019

Susin Nielson is an amazing middle grade writer who tackles a variety of difficult subject matters, but makes them very accessible to her younger audiences. This book looks at homelessness and what it means to strive to do good things when you are in a difficult position. Felix is a lovable character, constantly wanting to pay his debts from people he's stolen from. He's starving, but hopeful, and I think he is a character many readers will easily fall in love with.

JessicaGma Mar 13, 2019

As usual, Susin Nielsen hits it out of the park with the heartwarming tale of Felix, who tries so hard to support his mother, but homelessness is terribly stressful. The characters are so wonderful, and there's such hope despite all the obstacles. This is a great book for ages 9-14

ArapahoeErinR Nov 14, 2018

A thoughtful story about homelessness, mental health, friendship and hope.

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