My dear bookish friends!
Any sports fans among you? Just in time for the Olympics, I’m bringing you my review of No Number Nine by F.J. Campbell, a super emotional, but also entertaining, fun and deep YA story featuring a young au pair who goes through a great character development in the course of the story.
This is what it’s all about:
What do you do when your amazing, beloved sister dies?
Hide in your room for two years.
Sleep with a very, very wrong man.
Leave home and start a new life, lying to everyone you meet including your kind employer, your curious friends and the man you love?
Pip Mitchell’s an expert at making seriously bad decisions. But when her past, present and future collide at the Sydney Olympic Games, she’s going to have to decide whose side she’s on – or she’ll lose everyone she loves.
This is the first time I read a book that features the Olympics, and while I’m not the biggest fan of sports (don’t get me wrong – I’m VERY much looking up to these people and am very impressed by their hard work, it’s just not for me), this was a great theme to revolve a book around!
Our main character Pip (or Philippa, though she wants to be called Pip) is an 18 year old au pair from Australia, arriving in Munich, Germany, at the beginning of the book. She’s supposed to live with the very wealthy family von Feldstein and look after the two youngsters, eight and ten year old Ferdi and Max. I liked that in the foreword the author states that in the book everyone understands everyone (“for the purposes of not annoying the crap out of the reader” – which made me laugh a lot), but we also learn that Pip is fluent in both German and French – very impressive!
When Pip arrives at her new au pair household, she is stunned – such a big house! So much space, and everything looks so shiny and expensive! Other than a short introduction by her new employer’s sister (who lives next door), Pip is left to herself. However, she doesn’t get much time to feel lonely, as soon after her arrival, she hears somebody. Burglars? But, how odd – these burglars are giggling and, well… let’s just say she sees something she really didn’t want to see. What a first day in her new household!
I immediately liked Pip. She is young and inexperienced and a bit overwhelmed with life, but she is also so brave. Two years prior to the story, Pip lost her older sister Holly, a very successful hockey player, in a tragic accident. Obviously, Pip is crushed since then. Furthermore, she made some pretty bad decisions ever since – so, more or less like any other teenager… only in her case it’s a bit bigger dimensions I’d say.
Obviously, ever since, she also despises hockey with all her heart. Unfortunately, as it turns out, her new employer owns a hockey club… and not only that. Something else she didn’t know, the two boys she is taken care of have two older brothers, both of which play hockey competitively and both of which aspire to play in Germany’s national hockey team in the Olympics. That… complicates things, as the world she was so desperate to leave behind comes crashing down on her again.
What will Pip do?
I had no idea when it came to the game descriptions and rules and whatnot, but it was super interesting to read about them. I love getting insights into new things, and this was definitely new for me.
I loved that we got so many different settings in this story. From Munich city to the von Feldsteins’ mansion, to Sydney to the Olympics… what a wild ride! I have to admit some plot points seemed a bit far fetched, but in the end that didn’t bother me all too much.
By the time the title started to make sense (I don’t want to reveal too much but it has to do with Pip’s sister), I had tears in my eyes. I found it amazing how many different emotions I went through while reading this book, and it takes skill to induce them all in readers. Kudos to the author!
I recommend this book to all fans of emotional, deep, and meaningful YA reads, but also to sports fans (hockey fans in particular) of all ages. I’ve never come across hockey in a book before, and I’d say it is rather rare. I can’t wait to find out what F.J. Campbell comes up with next. 4 stars from me!
Thank you all so much for reading, and do check out No Number Nine!
*Big thank you to Helen and the whole LitPR team for my review copy which I received in exchange for my honest review.*