Kaieteur News (Guyana)
"With a tough exterior and brash attitude, Naomi is an authentic character in an unfortunate yet accurate picture of modern-day foster care in the UK...The ending is neither predictable nor sugarcoated, leaving readers rooting for this determined heroine."
School Library Journal
Included in In the Margins's 2020 Recommended Fiction List
Included in Publishers Weekly's African-American Interest Young Readers's Titles, 2019–2020
Included in Booklist's Fall 2019 Youth Preview
Included in Publishers Weekly's Fall 2019 Children's Sneak Previews
"As politicians might only see the population's day-to-day lives in terms of statistics rather than experiences, (knowing how many people work on minimum wage doesn't say anything about what the experience is like), they might benefit from more of an insight. A useful contemporary novel they should pick up is Alex Wheatle's Home Girl, focusing on the experience of a girl in the foster care system who is constantly shifted around and can never find a permanent home. Wheatle's other books might be just as beneficial, as he draws on his own experiences of Brixton and the social system."
The Boar, included in The Politicians' Required Reading List
"Wheatle returns to the world of his award-winning Crongton books with what Atom is calling his most powerful and personal novel yet. Naomi Brisset is a teenage girl growing up too fast in the UK care system. Her journey through a series of foster homes exposes the unsettling, often heartwrenching truth of this life. Yet despite the grit, Wheatle's writing is as rich and warm as ever, bringing courage and hope to an unforgettable heroine's story."
Bookseller (UK), Editors' Choice
"Teenager Naomi, old before her time and as vulnerable as she is fierce, is growing up in the care system. Foster homes and pupil referral units revealing the unsettling, often bewildering reality of this existence. Wheatle's empathy, authentic characters, and rich dialogue illuminate the dark."
Observer Magazine (UK)
"Another powerful and poignant novel deftly created by one of the most prolific master novelists on either side of the pond. Home Girl is a page-turner, with not a dull moment. Loved it from the rooter to the tooter."
Eric Jerome Dickey, New York Times best-selling author of Before We Were Wicked
"Alex Wheatle's latest novel offers no unrealistic fairy tale happy ending. But the award-winning writer, who draws on his own experiences of a childhood in care, does offer some hope for Naomi, a sometimes difficult but very likeable heroine."
Irish News, Children's Book of the Week
This isn't my home. Haven't had a proper home since...This is just somewhere I'll be resting my bones for a week and maybe a bit. This time next year you'll forget who I am. I haven't got a diddly where I'll be by then. But I'm used to it.
New from the best-selling black British author Alex Wheatle, Home Girl is the story of Naomi, a teenage girl growing up fast in the foster care system. It is a wholly modern story which sheds a much-needed light on what can be an unsettling lifeand the consequences that follow when children are treated like pawns on a family chessboard.
Home Girl is fast-paced and funny, tender, tragic, and full of couragejust like Naomi. It is Alex Wheatle's most moving and personal novel to date.
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1. Does it matter if a potential foster carer is of a different race or culture than the child who needs to be fostered?
2. Should foster carers keep to a code of behavior that they set for their own children, or should they bend the rules for children who have been in the care system?
3. How important is it that foster carers open up about themselves and their childhoods and how they might have overcome their own issues and problems?
4. Is it enough for foster parents to be affluent and able to provide a nice home, or should they have to prove that they can engage with vulnerable children?
5. Would it be a benefit to Naomi if she spent more time with young people who were well educated and had progressive careers?
6. Is it a good idea for Naomi and other troubled teenagers to be attending the same education unit?
7. Are there adequate resources in the care system to recognize and cater to children who are suffering from trauma or PTSD?
8. Why is it crucial for a vulnerable child to be placed in a stable home for a good length of time?
9. Why is it so important that Naomi is encouraged to dance by her friends and her foster family?
10. Although Naomi has been forced by circumstances to take on adult responsibilities in her young life, is she mentally equipped to look after herself?
11. How can foster carers and social services safely monitor the influences of Naomi's friends without intervening in Naomi's independence?
12. Should the Goldings be encouraged to foster/adopt Naomi?