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  • Azize Ozyurek-Baer

The Rofftoppers

The book “Rooftoppers,” by Katherine Rundell, from 2013, begins with a baby floating on the Channel.

The book is about a girl named Sophie (the baby on the Channel), who is twelve years old for most of the book. She sets out to Paris in search for her mother, who she has not seen since Charles found her on the Channel, and who everyone believes to have died. Charles Maxim, a man in his forties, who has raised her, accompanies her, with the police after them, because Sophie is meant to be put in an orphanage, rather than be raised with Charles. On her journey she encounters Matteo, a boy who lives on the rooftops. He opened the door to the world of the “rooftoppers” to Sophie.

Sophie is intelligent, but also likes exploring and rooftops and is brave. She is also very stubborn, for example when people tell her that she will never meet her mother again, she does not listen to them.

The opening immediately makes you curious: Why is baby floating on the channel? How did it get there? leading you to get drawn in to the story and to continue reading.

The story has a good pace, with a solid plot, Sophie’s search for her mother, following all the way through. In each chapter, more about Sophie’s mother is revealed, but it also leaves you curious for more.

It is very well written, especially the rooftop scenes, in which all the settings are described in detail. Even though it is not written in first person, you really feel like you are in Sophie’s head as all her thoughts and feelings are described. It contains a lot of detail, with an emphasis on food. That may sound like an odd thing to say, but when books barely mention the food they eat, it makes the book less relatable. It is also an exciting read as there is lots of adventure. It strikes a good balance between action and conversation. The tension keeps rising, and is especially high in the last few chapters.

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a good page-turner, but also one with strong characters, very well-described scenes and that is also full of hope and self-belief.

By Azize Özyürek-Baer

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