Monday 26 July 2021

No Number Nine by FJ Campbell Blog Tour

No Number Nine is a book that couldn't be better timed when it comes to release dates and that's because it carries the theme of the Olympics within it so it seems rather fitting to have a blog tour to promote the book coincide with such a fantastic event.

I went into this book not really knowing what to expect as I'll be honest I had never heard of FJ Campbell or their books before but I was pleasantly surprised at just how engaging this story was and on multiple levels too.


What do you do when your amazing, beloved sister dies?

Hide in your room for two years.

Sleep with a very, very wrong man.

Leave home and start a new life, lying to everyone you meet including your kind employer, your curious friends and the man you love?

Pip Mitchell’s an expert at making seriously bad decisions. But when her past, present and future collide at the Sydney Olympic Games, she’s going to have to decide whose side she’s on – or she’ll lose everyone she loves.

Pip (Philippa) is our complicated protagonist. She isn't how I'd picture your typical eighteen-year old. A girl from England, who becomes an au pair looking after two boys - Max and Ferdi - sons of a wealthy German family, the Von Feldsteins. She doesn't lack smarts as she is able to speak fluent German (and some French) but what she does require is emotional support.

Having sadly lost her sister to a tragic Hockey accident, she carries around an unbelievable amount of emotional baggage, but she refuses to let others in, preferring to suffer in silence than letting anyone get close enough to ease her pain. 

This was not helped when her sister's husband (Troy Costa, an Australian hockey player) took advantage of her vulnerability at the time of Holly's death, choosing to have sex with her and promise her a future, further messing with her mental health.

Now two years on, Pip hides her relationship status with Troy (although she plans to fly out to Sydney for the Olympics at her own expense) and claims to dislike the game of hockey, although in reality she too had been a very capable U-16 player. This is a decision she begins to regret when she discovers that the Von Feldsteins not only own a hockey club, but that Max and Ferdi have two older brothers who are very able hockey players aspiring to playing in the Olympics on the German national men’s team.

Those secrets and memories she's kept buried deep for so long threaten to make an appearance the more time she spends around The Von Feldsteins, especially the eldest son Leo.

Now I'll admit, I found Pip quite frustrating at times. Her actions seemed unnecessary, perhaps thoughtless at times but I had to remind myself that she is young and still learning. It takes life experience and making mistakes to be able to reach logical conclusions.

I adored the other Von Feldstein, Billy. His outlook on life, the banter he had with Pip. He was a real ray of sunshine in rather gloomy and confusing moments. He was that bit of positivity that everybody needs in their lives.

At the beginning of my review I mentioned that there were multiple levels to this book so I'll explain a bit more about that now. The author has done a fantastic, sensitive job of looking at many different aspects. I'd describe this as a sort of coming of age story but not one that focuses purely on the normal day to day life goings on.

Yes we read about friendship, about love, the things I'd say are more typical teenage subjects but Campbell dives deeper. We get a realistic view of the emotions, raw, honest and sometimes sexual. Nothing is glossed over. And in a day and age where mental health is so important, I was pleased to see that it wasn't a fleeting part of the story. The loss that Pip felt was ver apparent throughout.

The use of sport is another aspect that I really had a fondness for. I've not read many books that use sports as a main theme but it worked well with this novel and from my point of view it came across as well researched and actually made me want to sit and watch a spot of hockey!

Over all No Number Nine is a book that I'd happily recommend to others. It's a story that is filled with love, humour and self-acceptance, one that takes you on a journey alongside the characters.

If you like the sound of this book you can of course buy it now, or if you prefer to find out more first do follow the rest of the blog tour which I've shared below.


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