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SOMEBODY: Book Review

When a proven, talented, award-winning writer like Nancy Springer has a new book out, it is wise to take notice. In her recent offering, SOMEBODY, we meet a girl who needs to be noticed, as well.

As the novel opens, we do not know the name of the main character (MC) telling her story through first person narration, and we soon discover why. There is a mystery swirling around her and her family’s need to move from two-bit town to another; and it takes a library nerd to help her get to the heart of the matter. (Don’t worry, no spoilers in this review!)

One of the main questions in this YA is, “Who am I really?” This is a question many teens ask themselves, and the main character is dealing with self-discovery on a variety of levels. Without giving any of the novel away, I can safely say her search for identity also incorporates her search for a name…one that suits her, that feels right.

This novel is perfect for younger YA readers, and its accessibility and high-interest would make it suitable for older, struggling readers. Springer takes this quest for identity with a well-developed MC and an interesting cast of supporting characters. She weaves imagery throughout, but not so subtly that it's missed by inexperienced readers. Although the book is not weighty in length and number of pages, its themes of friendship, belonging, family, self-worth and identity give it substance.

The end of the book had me crying as I watched the MC grow and make choices leading to a satisfying end. Springer has some surprises in store for her readers and doesn’t tip her hand too soon. I can’t wait to share this with my middle school students (no language, sex, or violence here) and highly recommend this for older, reluctant readers, too.

This book is available now through an indie bookstore near you or online. Published by Holiday House, Inc., Nancy Springer's SOMEBODY is a book that my students will pass around, recommend, and talk about in literature circles.

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