On the Up

Alice O'Keeffe

250 pages November 2019 Original publisher: UK: Hodder & Stoughton

“By reading Style magazine, I was training myself not to want things. It was going quite well. I had already found that I did not want a pair of Yves Saint Laurent mules, a chandelier made from plastic antlers, or a diamond-encrusted necklace in the shape of a pineapple. I was still working on not wanting a fitted farmhouse kitchen in warm wood. “

Sylvia lives in a flat on a council estate with her not-quite-husband Obe and their two young children. She dreams of buying a house on a leafy street like the one she grew up in. If she closes her eyes, she can see it all so clearly: the stripped floorboards, the wisteria growing around the door…

It’s not ideal that she’s about to be made redundant, or that Obe, a playworker, is never going to earn more than the minimum wage. As sleep deprivation sets in, and the RnB downstairs gets ever louder, Sylvia’s life starts to unravel.

But when the estate is earmarked for redevelopment, the threat to her community gives Sylvia a renewed sense of purpose. With a bit of help from her activist sister, and her film-maker friend Frankie, she’s ready to take a stand for what she believes in.

Warm, witty and brilliantly observed, On the Up is about relationships and families, finding a way through the tough times, and figuring out what’s really worth fighting for.


Praise for On The Up:

On The Up is a gem of a novel that holds up a mirror to the way we live now.”
– Sarra Manning, Red Magazine

“A poignant tale of modern family life.”
– Zoe West and Emma Shacklock, Woman & Home

“It’s an uplifting book about persevering through the tough times and it’s an amazing debut from Alice O’Keeffe.”
Yahoo News, ’12 Best Book Releases To Add To Your Christmas Wishlist’

“[A] timely reminder of the transformative power of community and relationships.”
The Bookseller