Sunday, 8 September 2013

Review - A Dog Called Homeless - Sarah Lean

A Dog Called Homeless
Title: A Dog Called Homeless
Author: Sarah Lean
Publication: April 26th 2012, Katherine Tegen Books
Pages: Ebook
Source: Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with this book in exchange for a review! :)
Rating: 5/5 Cupcakes!
When Cally Fisher says she sees her dead mother, no one believes her. The only other living soul who sees Cally's mom is a mysterious wolfhound who always seems to be there when her mom appears. And when Cally stops talking—what's the point if no one is listening?—how will she convince anyone that her mom is still with them or persuade her dad that the huge silver-gray dog is their last link with her?
A Dog Called Homeless is the gentle and touching story of how one girl's friendship with a homeless dog can mend a family's heart.


I just finished A Dog Called Homeless, and I would've thought I would know how to put how I felt into words, but I still don't know how to. All the emotions I felt, the happiness, the sadness, the unfairness, the hope and the pure magic...I'm still an emotional mess if I just think about the beautiful, spell-binding story I just had the pleasure of reading. I honestly don't know if my review will give this unearthly book any justice, if my words can be spun together to form a review that will speak exactly what I thought of A Dog Called Homeless. There are few books that make me feel like I've lost a part of myself to a piece of literature that I can never retrieve again...A Dog Called Homeless was one of those novels.

A Dog Called Homeless is about Cally, a girl who is still mourning the loss of her kind, artistic mother, alongside her dad and thirteen year old brother Luke. Her dad has her things packed away in boxes, he doesn't talk about Cally's mom, it's as if she never existed. Luke, her brother, sits on the computer the whole day obsessed with getting the highest score on a car-racing game. Cally...Cally is just her, she talks a lot and has a vibrant, out-going personality that people often shun. When Cally and a few other pupils do a sponsored silence for charity over the duration of a school day, people don't believe she'll be able to do it. But Cally does, in fact, she takes it farther than she should, not speaking for a total of 31 days. When Cally starts seeing her mom appear, suddenly things start to change and Cally develops an amazing friendship with a boy who is not only blind, but deaf too, she finally feels like she has found happiness in what would otherwise be a bleak, tragic time. And when she by chance meets a homeless man called Jed and a dog that he is looking after, Cally and Jed knows the dog belongs to her and somehow she needs to keep him in her life. But how will Cally convince her dad to say yes, and she knows that if she wants Homeless to stay in her life, she is going to have to break her vow of silence and speak.

From the moment I met Cally I adored her. She was one of those people who you could see cared about other people in the world and had a soft heart whilst, simultaneously, not letting people in. My heart went out to Cally. Her mom died a few years back and the pain is still fresh in her, and her father and brother's, heart. It hurts her even more that her dad packed away all her belongings and refuses to remember her. All Cally wants is for her mom's things to be in the house and to share memories of her with her family members, to have her feel like she's with them. When Cally and a few other pupils from her school do a sponsored silence for charity, she thinks that maybe this will make her dad see things differently. But when Homeless, the dog with no home that seems to belong to her comes into her life, she realises she might have to speak again for him to truly come into her life and that, maybe, this time someone will listen to what she has to say.

The secondary characters were also developed and each had their own distinct personality. Cally's dad I couldn't quite connect with, I think he was too harsh with her, although I could understand his motives. He was still dwelling in the deep, cold pit of despair of losing his wife, however, I think he forgot that his two children were grieving too and by accident neglected the role of being present in their lives.

Cally's thirteen year old brother, Luke. He wasn't mentioned that much towards the second half of the book, but when he was mentioned, we could see he was just a normal teenager who was trying to cope with his mother's death. Him and Cally did get on each other's nerves a bit, but that's inevitable, however, you can see he really cared for his sister.

The absolutely adored the other three characters in the book. Sam, Jed and Homeless. Sam is Cally's new neighbour who lives right next to her when they move into their new house. Sam is Cally's age but he is also sadly blind and deaf. However, Cally and him immediately bond. Then there was Jed, the homeless man Cally helped when a gang of thugs viciously stole his money, and who will play a big role in Cally's life. And last, but definitely not least, Homeless. The beautiful Afghan hound that seems drawn to Cally and doesn't want to leave her side. I adored reading about all three these characters. Jed was such a kind-hearted, sweet man despite all the hardships he has faced. Sam was an inspiration. And Homeless was one of the best dogs anyone could ever ask for.

The plot was amazing and this book was extremely well written. It dealt with the saddening topic of grief and death in a sensitive manner. There were little parts of the story that I didn't know where it was going to end up, but it did tie up together to form an absolutely magical, tear-jerking novel.

Cally and Sam's friendship was absolutely gorgeous to watch. You could see from the moment they met they instantly understood each other, could instantly read each other without any words having to be spoken. It was quite an interesting friendship, the girl who wouldn't speak and the boy who wasn't able to see or hear, but it led them to know each other better than they knew themselves.

Homeless was such an amazing dog. Gentle and brave. I was hoping through the whole book that Cally would be able to keep him, as she needed him just as much as he needed her. He was the key to her overcoming her grief.

Cally and Jed also had a special bond. I loved how they instantly connected when she was helping him after thugs had come and taken his only belonging. And as we find out at the end, Jed knew Cally was the one that linked into the whole story to do with Cally's mother's death and Homeless. I shan't say anymore, but you will be delighted at how everything weaves together in order to create this favourite story.

I can not sing my praises enough for this book! When I first heard of it I knew it was going to leave a special place in my heart, I just wish I'd picked it up sooner! A beautiful, heart-rendering story of girl losing her mother and the grief she feels and how a special friend and a dog that belongs to her alone, helps her speak again. And of course the help from her mother that comes from within. A must read.


I give it: 5/5 CUPCAKES!

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