Books > Notes On My Family

Notes On My Family

Emily Critchley


18 October 2017









Enter the world of Louise Coulson through her notes on her family, school and friends. Lou is a perceptive outsider who takes notes  as if she were holding a film camera silently fixed on a world that tends to ignore her.  Her revenge is a perfect image, sharp, subtle and  full of humour. Here they all are: her dad who is in a relationship with a sixth former, Sarah her  moody sister, her mum who tries to burn all memories in a saucepan and has a ‘brief psychotic episode’, her nan who goes to seances, her friend Faith who has six parents (all gay) as well as Lou’s dog and parents in her alternative universe. Told in the present tense so that you feel that you right there and sprinkled with Lou’s inimitable asides.

‘Boyfriend didn’t seem the right word for someone who is fast approaching forty-seven and  who owns socks that are older than I am.’

The characters slide in and out of this beautifully crafted  book as if on a stage. Lou takes notes on what everyone says, interweaving comments and dialogue to create a narrative that’s full of fireworks. In the end you can’t but agree that there is no such thing as a ‘normal’ family and that it’s ‘the people who are different who make the difference.’

Longlisted for the Branford Boase Award 2018

Shortlisted for the Bristol Teen Book Award

Nominated for the Carnegie 2019

An exceptional debut

– The Sunday Times

This exceptional young adult/crossover debut is the compelling, sharply observed story of a family in crisis told, in an understated narrative voice reminiscent of Mark Haddon or Harper Lee, by 13-year-old Lou, who is on the autism spectrum.

– Nicolette Jones, The Sunday Times (book of the week)

A warm, witty and moving look at one complicated family and the girl at the heart of it. Full of sincerity, intelligence and hope.

– Anna James, A Case for Books

A compelling story. Brilliantly observed. 

– Julia Bell, author of The Dark Light

A charmingly witty yet poignant novel about coming of age, belonging, and families. Emily Critchley’s debut novel is insightful and complex. An observant, astute and intelligent writer, Critchley is a talent to watch.

– Sunny Singh, author of Hotel Arcadia

The voice of Louise as narrator is brilliant. A funny and up-lifting read.

– The School Librarian

Lou’s narrative voice is rich, witty, and charming, her slightly baffled viewpoint ringing out with humour even in the hardest situations. . I absolutely fell for her, the girl with a rich fantasy world of a homeschooled life in Scotland, who’d rather watch a nature documentary than answer a phone call.

– Lizzie@huxtales

Character driven, sprinkled with humour, read it easily in one sitting.

– Luna’s Little Library

Young fans of David Almond and Louise Rennison will love this thoughtful, witty take on growing up. Lou’s voice is the star of this novel, turning even the most mundane events interesting and absolutely hilarious.

– Mugglenet

Look inside

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Emily Critchley, illustrated by Holly Ovenden

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