Up on the roof

I’ve recently finished reading Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell – what a great book for the older ‘middle grade’ reader.  

Opening memorably as a baby is ‘found floating in a cello case in the middle of the English Channel,’ Sophie is cared for by her rescuer, Charles, in turn of the last century (my guess) London.  They live somewhat eccentrically and are viewed suspiciously by the mean Miss Eliot of the National Childcare Agency.  Sophie strongly feels that her mother survived the shipwreck and, when Charles is given notice that he must give up Sophie now aged 12, they set off to Paris in the hope of discovering her with just the cello case as a clue.  “Never ignore a possible,” as he says.  There Sophie meets Matteo who lives on the roofs and with his help starts to unravel the mystery.

 It is a wonderfully told and vividly imagined story of love, hope and friendship.  The main characters are distinctive and we loved the unexpected metaphors and quirky adjectives that give the story an original feel.  There were some occasional details that felt a little unlikely (the rooftopper’s fluency in English and daredevil feats) but rather than distract they perhaps added a touch of fairy tale with Matteo as a Parisian Peter Pan. 

Looking forward to reading more from this writer!