Sunday, April 6, 2014

Review: Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell

From Goodreads:  "Everyone thinks that Sophie is an orphan. True, there were no other recorded female survivors from the shipwreck that 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 “almost impossible” means “still possible.” And 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 hidden spaces above the city. Together they scour the city in a search for Sophie’s mother—but can they find her before Sophie is caught and sent back to London? Or, more importantly, before she loses hope?"

This book came highly recommended at the book fair I attended awhile back by the book sellers, so when I saw it pop up on inter-library loan, I knew I needed to get it (they've never stirred me wrong before.) With the opening line of  “On the morning of its first birthday, a baby was found floating in a cello case in the middle of the English Channel," I was defiantly hooked.  I felt like Rooftoppers was equal parts of Oliver Twist mixed with Paris wrapped in history. With its homeless orphans who live on rooftops or high up in tree's, it was very easy for me to get caught up in the story and its characters.  To the point that at times I really worried for Matteo and Sophie as they navigated through the city of Paris. The illustrations by Terry Fan at the beginning of each chapter are beautifully done and really gave me the feeling of being on a rooftop.  Although, there is no way I'm climbing up on one of those.  Rundell's writing in Rooftoppers also had a kind of lyrical quality to it for me.  I liked how she describes Sophie as the "girl with hair the color of lightning, and the smile of a shy person."  And, although I had a feeling how the story was going to end, it was still a beautiful touching moment filled with tears and a few tissues. With the theme of "never ignore a possible", a wonderful historical fiction adventure story.  


  1. This sounds great and is one I hadn't heard of. It's always great to get recommendations from others.

    1. I so love when the book fair comes to school, they always have such great books that they recommend to me. It's where I also found The Cabinet of Wonders by Marie Rutkoski. Thanks for stopping by Natalie.