Review - Rooftoppers - Katherine Rundell

RooftoppersTitle: Rooftoppers
Series: N/A
Author: Katherine Rundell
Genre: Middle-Grade
Publication: February 26th 2013
Pages: 288 Pages
Source: Thank you to Jonathan Ball Publishers for sending me this in exchange for an honest review!
Rating: 4/5 Cupcakes!
Everyone thinks that Sophie is an orphan. True, there were no other recorded female survivors from the shipwreck which left baby Sophie floating in the English Channel in a cello case, but Sophie remembers seeing her mother wave for help. Her guardian tells her it is almost impossible that her mother is still alive, but that means still possible. You should never ignore a possible. So when the Welfare Agency writes to her guardian threatening to send Sophie to an orphanage, she takes matters into her own hands and flees to Paris to look for her mother, starting with the only clue she has - the address of the cello maker. Evading the French authorities, she meets Matteo and his network of rooftoppers - urchins who live in the sky. Together they scour the city for Sophie's mother before she is caught and sent back to London, and most importantly before she loses hope.
Before I was offered a chance to review this, I hadn't heard of Rooftoppers before but I'm so glad that I did and that I had a chance to become acquainted with this charming novel! This is one of the most unique books I have ever had the pleasure of reading. I adored everything about it and I think it's a book I will definitely be re-reading in the future!

Rooftoppers is an incredibly unique novel about Sophie, a girl with hair the colour of lightning, who was found as a baby floating down the English Channel in a cello case, by an incredibly kind intellectual named Charles Maxim. Eleven years later and Sophie is twelve. She is tall, has an unrelenting love for literature, has a habit of breaking plates, so she eats off an Atlas instead and is extremely skillful at the cello. Sophie loves her life and she loves living with Charles, who has taught her so many things, but Sophie still can't help but wonder about her mother, who she was told had died on the Queen Mary, the ship that went down, causing Sophie to float down the Channel in a cello case. Sophie doesn't believe her mother died, she believes she's still out there. There was no list of the people who died or survived and she knows that it's possible her mom is out there, and, as Charles taught her, never ignore a possible.

When they are visited by social workers who think it's inappropriate for a young lady to be brought up by a single man, stating they'll be there in 2 days to collect Sophie for the orphanage, Sophie and Charles are heartbroken and destitute. But then Sophie finds a clue to where she might find her mother, Charles agrees to her plan and off they travel to Paris.

Whilst they're there, they find several clues that Sophie believes leads to her mother. She also befriends a young French boy called Matteo, who is a rooftopper. A boy who never walks the ground but instead travels and lives among the Parisian rooftops. As he takes Sophie under his wing, she makes several friends, learns to live like a rooftopper and discovers important things about herself, all whilst having a beautiful of Paris.

This book truly is original. I absolutely loved the idea of these kids escaping these prison-like orphanages and living among the rooftops and trees, living near the sky and staying away from the ground. I loved the descriptions in this book, they were absolutely gorgeous. The way she described Sophie and Charles just made me fall absolutely head-over-heels in love with the characters! She describes them in the way which I found similar to the way Stephanie Perkins does. They both give the reader little facts about the characters which makes it seem more personal and more like you actually know them. I absolutely adored learning about their little characteristics and I just fell completely in love with these loveable, realistic characters.

Sophie is definitely one of my new favourite characters and I think for any little, or not so little, girl reading this book, I think she's a great role model. She is loyal, brave, knowledgeable, adventurous and positive. She never gives up hope no matter how frequently people dismiss her ideas and wonderings. She is unflinching and will do whatever she needs to do in order to accomplish what she set out to do. I love how she plays the cello like a pro and her love for literature, it's something I can relate to. She is just such a brave, clever, determined little girl and I think anyone who reads this book will love Sophie.

I absolutely adore Charles, he is so amazing and we need more people like him in this world. He is an avid reader, teaches Sophie all the things one needs to know, he believes in just loving a child and letting them have their own free will but not to the extent where they become brats. He is so kind, polite, wise and understanding. He's such a fantastic character!

Matteo was a character which I couldn't always quite figure out. I liked him, but I sometimes found him to be offish with Sophie, which is understandable, as he doesn't often speak to people who aren't rooftoppers. I just wish he had been more open with her and more easy-going. He obviously liked her though yet I just wish he expressed it more. I didn't fall in love with Matteo but I respected him and perhaps that's what the author intended.

I was also introduced to Safi and Anastasia, two sisters who live among the treetops. I liked them and I'd love to hear more of their stories, and of their background, as well as Gerard's.

The interactions between the characters were impeccable. I adore Charles' and Sophie's relationship. The way they write letters on the wall to each other and eat their dinner off an atlas or such and read the book afterwards was also interesting, although I could never put food intentionally on a book! They had such a trusting, honest relationship and it was beautiful. Finally, a book written with proper parental involvement!

Sophie and Matteo's relationship was one I, at first, couldn't quite decipher. Matteo didn't really show that many emotions until later on, so it made me feel a bit unsure about him. I did, however, start to warm up to his and Sophie's relationship. They way they slowly started to trust each other and Matteo's evident, begrudging admiration towards Sophie's roaring bravery was wonderful.

This novel is fairly short, yet the author paced the story extremely well. I really appreciated how she first let me be properly introduced to the characters and informing me of their little quirks and their backgrounds and then she let the mother-hunting begin. This book had a very relaxed feel and I loved it. There wasn't an urgent, frantic feeling behind it (unless there was a cop/social worker scene) and it was relaxed and peaceful. It had this beautiful, happy, mellow feel about it that one can relish in. Towards the middle it felt slightly slow and like not much happened, but it soon picked up. My only complaint is that the ending was slightly abrupt and I wanted more! I wanted to view the reactions in depth and read more on this next stage in Sophie's life. I'm begging for a sequel or a companion novel!

The writing added even more of a beautiful quality to this remarkable novel. The author has a distinctive writing style, I love the beautiful descriptions that often had such an effect on me. The idea for this novel was genius. I loved it from the beginning and I could tell I was in for an extraordinary novel when the first page consisted of little Sophie, wrapped in a sheet of symphony paper in a cello case, floating down the river after the ship she was on sank.

This novel was just so light-hearted and so extremely fun. The characters were lovable and unique and quirky and I just completely fell in love with them all! Matteo took me awhile to warm up to but once I did, I quite liked him! The idea of these children jumping from rooftop to rooftop and living near the sky and seeing the view of Paris was just so original and I loved every minute of it. I highly recommend this novel to people from the age of 7 and upwards. It's a perfect novel for people of any age and one that many will cherish for years to come. I loved this novel, it was absolutely indescribable and amazing. Read it, please.

I give it: 4/5 CUPCAKES!