- Sophie Someone by Hayley Long
ISBN 978-0-7636-8995-7 $16.99
Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 7-9
Fourteen-year-old Sophie uses her “own special language,” filled with Joycean word substitution and inventiveness, to tell a hard story about her life. Sophie and her dad, mom, and little brother have made a life in Belgium, though Sophie has vague memories that they weren’t always here, and there are occasional slips that suggest grim family secrets are being hidden. It all comes crashing down eventually, though Sophie has to figure the truth out on her own (her parents did a remarkable job keeping Sophie’s dad’s criminal past a secret and faking a whole new life), and she’s left baffled, angry, and way over her head. Sophie’s a brilliant main character, able to spot her own weaknesses with the same honesty that she does those of others. She’s compassionate and loving, which makes her moments of being a self-involved teen easily forgivable, and she’s surrounded by a well-developed cast of characters who aren’t always likable (especially her parents) but who are all deeply memorable. Creative teens may happily try their own hand at telling autobiographies using a similar linguistic approach.