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Today I finished ‘Anything but Ordinary’, a quite delightful YA/Adult novel.

Twelve year old Billy Bradshaw is sentenced to community service for vandalism during his school summer holidays, a punishment he sees as unfair due to the fact that his ‘crime’ was an accident.  Reluctantly he attends the Liberty Street Home for the Elderly in New Orleans, to satisfy the judge and to carry out menial work for the residents.  He gets to know ‘The Bohemians’, a group of residents living in Hall B, who flout the home’s rules and generally live just how they want to.

The Bohemians’ lifestyle is threatened by a new manager, who wants to make the home more economical to run by tearing down Hall B and moving the residents elsewhere.  Billy tries to help The Bohemians in their fight to remain where they are, but in the meantime also meets up with Cassidy, the manager’s daughter,  who has troubles of her own.  Cassidy asks Billy to help her find her mother, who disappeared when she was four.

The Liberty Street Home for the Elderly and its inhabitants start to take up more of Billy’s time, and he finds he enjoys his community service.  With a couple of unexpected twists in the story, and by  helping out Cassidy and The Bohemians, Billy learns more of life’s joys and sorrows than a twelve year old usually knows.

I wouldn’t say the book is a coming-of-age story as Billy remains at the age of 12, but nevertheless it is a pleasant read and moves along at a gentle pace.  I enjoyed it and give it a well-deserved four stars.  I would have liked to learn more about New Orleans as I am going to the Mardi Gras in February 2017, but realise that the book is centred more on Billy’s life and the residential home itself.  I will have to wait until I get there to discover The Big Easy for myself!

A recommended read for fans of YA fiction, ‘clean’ adult fiction, and life experience stories.