by David Whitehouse
Started: 16 January 2016
Finished: 21 January 2016
I was immediately intrigued by the premise of the novel and was lucky enough to receive a copy from NetGalley to review.
The novel follows 12-year-old Bobby Nusku, who’s doing everything he can to preserve the memory of his mother and find a safe place in the world. His best friend, and only school friend, Sunny became a cyborg and vanished leaving him alone. One day he meets Rosa and her lonely mother Val and is introduced to a whole new world, many of them in fact, in their mobile library. However other people don’t understand his and Val’s friendship and their adventure to become a family is more difficult than he realises.
I loved Bobby from the start, I found him and his behaviour fascinating. I really felt for him and his dedication to archiving his mother, and how he approached and documented the world in general, was really interesting to me. I also loved Rosa and the way she was portrayed, her learning disability gives her such a unique outlook on life and some of her lines were so refreshing to read and I couldn’t help but smile. Although he isn’t a main character I was so struck by Sunny’s character and his dedication to protecting Bobby. You also really see character development with Sunny even though he isn’t a constant in the novel. The adults of the novel were very mixed with the caring and maternal nature of Val, the abusive Bruce and the mysterious Joe. Surprisingly, even though you don’t see a great deal of Detective Samas you learn so much about him and just with a couple of lines here and there you get a feel of the character as if he appears in every chapter.
The novel opens with ‘The End’, I’m never quite sure if I like it when a novel opens like this as there have been times in the past where it has spoiled something for me, however this particular instance didn’t. When I got to this chapter actually at the end of the novel, it made everything feel right, it was great reading the beginning of that chapter again after seeing the story develop and growing attached to these characters. Everything made sense and it highlights how important perception is. There were a couple of heartbreaking moments in this novel where Bobby and Val were concerned which were dealt with well and gave you real insight into their own world and perceptions. The way books that the kids were reading would be referenced or kind of happen in the novel was also a nice touch and shows how magical and powerful reading is.
Mobile Library takes you places, you meet fascinating characters for either just a couple of lines or for the entire novel. I loved Whitehouse’s writing style (especially with the odd chapter written as a children’s story) which captivated me and had I have had the time to sit and read this in one sitting, it wouldn’t have taken long as the pages just flew by. I would love to read a sequel to this story, should it ever happen, because there’s still so many things I would love to learn about the characters and see them experience.
This was a great book to start 2016 with, I strongly recommend this book and I’m going to be adding Bed to my to-read list!