Cover image for Home home
Home home
Physical Description:
153 pages ; 22 cm

On Order

R.H. Stafford Library (Woodbury)1On Order
Hardwood Creek Library (Forest Lake)1On Order
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Fans of Monday's Not Coming and Girl in Pieces will love this award-winning novel about a girl on the verge of losing herself and the unlikely journey to recovery after she is removed from anything and everyone she knows to be home.

Moving from Trinidad to Canada wasn't her idea. But after being hospitalized for depression, her mother sees it as the only option. Now, living with an estranged aunt she barely remembers and dealing with her "troubles" in a foreign country, she feels more lost than ever.

Everything in Canada is cold and confusing. No one says hello, no one walks anywhere, and bus trips are never-ending and loud. She just wants to be home home, in Trinidad, where her only friend is going to school and Sunday church service like she used to do.

But this new home also brings unexpected surprises: the chance at a family that loves unconditionally, the possibility of new friends, and the promise of a hopeful future. Though she doesn't see it yet, Canada is a place where she can feel at home--if she can only find the courage to be honest with herself.

" Allen-Agostini uses frank yet gentle prose...[in this] hopeful story about finding one's place and the sometimes-difficult journey to self-acceptance."- Kirkus Reviews , Starred review

"An accessible look at teen anxiety and depression...[ Home Home ] shines in its depictions of the physical and emotional aspects of anxiety and depression ...[and] teens of color coping with mental illness will find common cause with this Trini girl's journey toward self-actualization and healing."-- Booklist

" Allen-Agostini depicts the culture of her homeland with honesty and enlightening details, ... delivering important messages about acceptance and mental illness. "- SLJ

Author Notes

Lisa Allen-Agostini is a widely published novelist, journalist, and poet from Trinidad and Tobago. She writes primarily about the Caribbean, its people, and its culture. Lisa lives in Trinidad with her family; her dog, Sassy; and her fabulous cat, Fennec. Home Home is her second novel for young adults and a CODE Burt Award finalist. To learn more about Lisa, visit and follow @AllenAgostini on Twitter.

Reviews 4

School Library Journal Review

Gr 9 Up--After Kayla's recent suicide attempt, her mom sends her away from their native Trinidad, thinking that will somehow cure her. Kayla experiences depression and her traditional, closed-minded mother refuses to acknowledge her daughter's condition as anything but a weakness in her character. Now Kayla lives with her aunt and her aunt's girlfriend in Canada. As she tries to adjust to unfamiliar surroundings, she takes stock of her life and the circumstances that have landed her in a foreign country with people she barely knows. Though Kayla misses her best friend, Akilah, and feels nostalgic for the sights and smells of her homeland, she slowly acclimates to her new surroundings, especially after she meets an attractive boy with whom she enjoys spending time. It is not until her mother unexpectedly shows up in Canada that Kayla realizes just how much she wants to stay in her new home. Allen-Agostini depicts the culture of her homeland with honesty and enlightening details. She perfectly captures the desperation of a young girl who is trapped between her undeniable experience of depression and what others expect of her. Though at times the writing lacks eloquence, the straightforward prose does a good job of delivering important messages about acceptance and mental illness. VERDICT Recommended for libraries looking to bolster their YA collections with fiction centering on teenage mental health and developing feelings of belonging.--Karin Greenberg, Manhasset High School, NY

Publisher's Weekly Review

After a major depressive episode leads to hospitalization, 14-year-old Kayla is sent from Trinidad to Canada, where her Aunt Jillian and her partner, Julie, prove far more understanding of Kayla's mental health needs than her traditional, emotionally distant mother. Kayla still misses "home home" and her best friend Akilah, and she continues to struggle: catching the right bus, for example, causes her to teeter on the edge of a panic attack. When another episode sets Kayla back, her mother decides it's time to come home, but the loving support system and new connections she has established in Canada have started to feel more nourishing. Allen-Agostini (The Chalice Project) uses clear, concise prose to break down the daunting reality of depression and anxiety. Strong interpersonal dynamics balance hard themes, including homophobia, suicidal ideation, troubled parent relationships, and the minimization of depression, resulting in a quietly optimistic story. Ages 14--up. Agent: Margot Edwards, Rights Consultancy. (May)

Kirkus Review

Can a place be your home if you don't feel like you belong there? Fourteen-year-old Kayla is a dark-skinned girl from Trinidad. After being hospitalized following struggles with mental illness--much to her mother's shame and disappointment--Kayla is sent to spend the summer in Canada with her Aunty Jillian and Jillian's partner, Julie. She now has to come to terms with and get treatment for her depression and anxiety, all while adjusting to living somewhere so different from the place she has known since birth--from the weather to the more tolerant culture. She sticks out in Edmonton and yet it is here that she has the room to be herself and to try and manage her mental health as best as she can. Allen-Agostini uses frank yet gentle prose to discuss serious topics like mental illness, complex familial dynamics, poverty, violence, and latent as well as blatant homophobia in this novel featuring a diverse cast of characters that focuses on a teen trying to cope with the harsh circumstances she's been dealt in life. With some chapters written as diary entries detailing Kayla's concerns, which range from body image and self-esteem to how to handle a crush, the story and voice feel authentic. This novel is sure to evoke sympathy and compassion in readers. A hopeful story about finding one's place and the sometimes-difficult journey to self-acceptance. (Fiction. 13-adult) Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

An accessible look at teen anxiety and depression through the lens of a Trindadian girl, Allen-Agostini's (The Chalice Project, 2009) second YA novel is an immersive look at different ways the disorder can be disruptive and damaging to young people. After attempting suicide, the 14-year-old protagonist (her name is not mentioned until the very end of the story) is shipped from her home in Trinidad to live with her aunt and aunt's partner in Canada, and she spends most of the book trapped inside her own head with dispiriting thoughts about her intelligence and appearance. While she does take antidepressants and antianxiety medication, they are not portrayed as a panacea or quick fix; instead, they are just one of several tools she uses to fight the disease. The book shines in its depictions of the physical and emotional aspects of anxiety and depression. While the deliberate pacing and introspective focus of the story may not appeal to all readers, teens of color coping with mental illness will find common cause with this Trini girl's journey toward self-actualization and healing.