Roof-toppers by Katherine Rundell

Published By Faber And Faber Limited

Book Review By Gemma E McLaughlin

This time I’m immensely excited to write my review, because it means so much. I am, as I have a few times, revisiting a book that I’ve already read, to spread the joy that it brought to me back then, and still does today. I read Roof-toppers three years ago, maybe a little more, and though I forgot parts of the plot, even the names of the characters, I could never forget the way that it made me feel. A good book, at the time of first reading it is intense and beautiful in the way it feels like you’ll never put it down, that the feeling will never end, and when it’s all over, the nostalgic magic that surrounds it gets stronger every moment you’re not reading it. This book is my favourite example of that.

The story is of Sophie, a young girl who was believed by everyone to be orphaned after being found in a cello case in the English Channel after a ship wreck. Everyone believed that she was an orphan, everyone except for her. When she moved to Paris with her living adoptive father Charles, she took the opportunity to begin a daring search for her mother, in an unconventional sort of way. Due to a window in Sophie’s room she had access to the roof of her building, and from there, with enough time and practise, the roofs of all of Paris.

During one night of sneaking out she met a young boy by the name of Mateo, who had been travelling between the rooftops himself for a long time, and who taught her the ways of the secret night time world that they found themselves tangled in. The book became about so much more than searching for her mother that the reader begins to wonder if that’s what it was ever about, with the relationship of Mateo and Sophie and the daring twists and turns of their adventures above the city, it became something truly magical. It reminded me of the true excitement that our lives hold, and even the little ways in which someone can feel truly youthful and infinite. It reminded me that those stolen moments are the reason that I adore this life just as much as I do. I think we all need more reminders of that, and of course more of those moments.

Roof toppers is a book that has been, for what seems like a lifetime, extremely close to my heart, and I don’t think I’ll ever lose that connection to it. I felt it important to write about, in the hopes that others may feel the wonder of that connection, and appreciate the tiny, infinite moments of life, even if we cannot all leap between the rooftops of Paris.