March 21, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Book Reviews from Young Adults

Get the latest SLJ reviews every month, subscribe today and save up to 35%.

Nobody’s Secret, the latest offering from Michaela MacColl, continues to get rave reviews. School Library Journal′s reviewer says, “The fast-moving plot makes this a well-crafted page-turner. The dialogue rings true, both to the historical time and to the chronological ages and social status of the characters.” And SLJTeen‘s reviewer agrees. M.G. Higgins’s Bi-Normal is going on my to-read list. I just finished listening to David Levithan and John Green’s Will Grayson, Will Grayson, and I’m wondering what advice their openly gay jock Tiny Cooper would give Higgins’s protagonist, Brett Miller.

MACCOLL, Michaela. Nobody’s Secret. Chronicle. April 2013. Tr. $16.99. ISBN 9781452108605.

Nobody's SecretGr 8 Up—Emily Dickinson is a young, quirky girl. She longs for adventures, but she has a weak body that prevents her from experiencing life to the max. Instead, she’s stuck at home doing chores and tending to her mother’s needs. Then one day, she encounters a young, charismatic, yet mysterious gentlemen who seems to understand her. Emily is delighted to meet this anonymous man, who insists on being called Mr. Nobody. However, their acquaintance is cut short when he turns up dead, coincidentally in the Dickinsons’ pond. Who is Mr. Nobody and how did he end up dead? Grief-stricken Emily strives to solve the mystery.

I loved this book. I’m not usually fond of historical fiction, but this is a very intriguing and fascinating story. I loved the mystery of Mr. Nobody, and Emily’s character was very amusing and interesting. I also enjoyed Emily’s original yet odd thoughts, because her view of the world was so unique. More so, I found her determination to discover the cause of Mr. Nobody’s death very commendable. There were also quotes at the beginning of each chapter, which added a very nice touch to the whole book. Overall, this story was a very enjoyable read.—Vy M., age 14

For more on Michaela MacColl and Nobody’s Secret, visit “I’m Nobody! Who Are You?”  Emily Dickinson Plays Sleuth.

Bi-NormalHiggins, M.G. Bi-Normal. Saddleback. May 2013. pap. $9.95. ISBN 9781622500048.

Gr 9 Up—This book is about a stereotypical football jock named Brett Miller. He picks on outcasts and basically runs the school with his football friends. He also gets to go out with one of the hottest girls, and school life goes great. However, one day, Brett meets Zach, a guy in his art class. This encounter causes Brett’s world to fall apart as he realizes something he refuses to admit.

I found this book very interesting and enjoyable to read. Plus, it somewhat answered my questions about how people discover their sexual orientation. Even though Brett broods over his true sexual orientation, I found his reactions funny and a little amusing. Also, I like how the author also addressed bullying and family problems. Not only does Brett find out that his sexual orientation isn’t what he thought, but he also realizes the wrong in bullying and becomes a better person.—Vy M., age 14


SLJTeen header

This article was featured in our free SLJTeen enewsletter.
Subscribe today to have more articles like this delivered to you twice a month.

Dodie Ownes About Dodie Ownes

Dodie Ownes left the glamorous world of retrospective conversion and disco to jump on the library vendor train. Since then, she has been learning at the feet of the masters about all things library. Dodie lives in Golden, Colorado, where even the sign which arches the main street says "Howdy."

Empowering Teens: Fostering the Next Generation of Advocates
Teens want to make a difference and become advocates for the things they care about. Librarians working with young people are in a unique position to help them make an impact on their communities and schools. Ignite your thinking and fuel these efforts at your library through this Library Journal online course—April 24 & May 8.