The Song from Somewhere Else by A.F. Harrold (review)
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Reviewed by
Harrold, A.F. The Song from Somewhere Else; illus. by Levi Pinfold. Bloomsbury, 2017[240p]
ISBN 978-1-68119-401-1 $16.99R Gr. 4-6

When Frank is beset by bullies, she’s helped by Nick, who’s also bully fodder, and she’s drawn into his life. Nick’s home holds true mysteries in the form of haunting music and an otherworldly giant woman who plays it; in fact, Nick is actually the child of that woman, a being caught on the other side of a portal between worlds. When Nick ended up on this reality’s side as a baby, his single dad adopted him, never imagining that the baby was not human and that his mother would appear on occasion through an echo. When Frank spills the beans to a bully about Nick’s secret, however, things go awry. British poet Harrold writes with an engaging voice rich with character, and the secrets topic is an easy hook. Spot illustrations and immersive double-page black and white drawings are captivating in their intricacy and melancholy, blending perfectly with the poignant tone that resonates through the whole novel. The final subtle peace is a far cry from a perky happy ending, but it’s enough for Nick and Frank, who accept that quiet hope and even a little progress can be good enough.

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