Summary: No Fixed Address
12-year-old Felix Knuttson is a sweet kid whose brain soaks up trivia like a sponge. His mom Astrid (whom he calls by her name), is loving but unreliable and can’t seem to hold on to a job or a house. When they lose their apartment in Vancouver, Astrid “borrows” a camper van from an ex and moves them in there “just for August” until she finds a job. But September comes, and there’s still no job or house, and Felix needs an address to enroll in school. Astrid figures out a way to do that, but Felix can’t tell anyone about their home situation. At the new school, he makes two new friends and finds out about a trivia contest that might change their housing situation. Unfortunately, things don’t go as planned.
I really liked Felix. His character is so well drawn, and his life is complicated but also interesting. His dad was pretty much a sperm donor — his mom’s friend whom she decided to have a baby with. He sees Felix infrequently but tries hard to be a part of his life. Felix also recognizes his mother’s failings and shares her problematic parts on the page, helping readers understand Astrid better. We get the sense that she has mental health challenges but loves Felix.
The audio format of this book is fantastic; the narrator does a fine job bringing Felix’s character to life. Felix is learning French, so there are several French phrases sprinkled throughout the book. I loved Felix’s friends, and I was glad he had people to support him when he eventually shared his challenges with them. Speaking of challenges, we see plenty of what Felix and his mom experience as they live in a van during the Canadian winter, struggle to find places to shower, and just try to make ends meet overall.
While parts of this book are sad and even heartbreaking, most of it is hilarious. I laughed out loud so often and caught myself prolonging my chores to keep listening to this story. I think I cleaned the entire house the day I was listening. I loved being with the characters, and I enjoyed the way the author tackles plenty of topics without things ever feeling overwhelming.
Overall: No Fixed Address
No Fixed Address is a compelling, realistic, and funny middle grade book about homelessness, poverty, friendship, and mental health. With an amiable protagonist, a budding crush, and a vibrant Canadian setting, this book holds plenty of appeal for upper middle grade readers. If you’re looking for a book that tackles tough topics with humor, this is an unmissable selection.
“The base of this story is about a kid whose grandmother dies and they problems with having a money to live. I would give this book a 4.69/5.00 because I liked how Felix’s mom could easily get people to do things for her just by telling certain lies. Felix learns that friendship is a good thing.”— Matthew e., 7th grader
Here are some specifics to know about the content.
- Death: Mention of Felix’s grandmother’s death
- Alcohol/substance abuse: Mention of possible marijuana left by the van’s previous user
- Mental health: Felix’s mother is depressed for most of the book, but also has what seems to be hypomanic episodes
- Sexual content: Some suggestive content, such as an indirect mention of a man engaging in public lewd conduct
- Ethnic: Felix is biracial, with a white mom and father of Haitian descent, one of his friends is Asian-Canadian
- Sexual orientation: Felix’s father is gay
Recommended for ages: 11+
Good for kids who like:
- Books set in Canada
- Funny, mature middle grade books
- Books about friendships
- Stories featuring reality TV shows
- Books with biracial characters
|Publication date:||April 7, 2020|
|Cover artists | Designer:|
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