Week 8: Somebody

Book summary: Sherica Suloff doesn’t even know that’s her name. It’s changed, you see, so many times over the past decade that she’s not sure which one is the real one. Every time her father packs his bags, she and her brother change names, hair color, schools…

All of that starts to change as Sherica starts to question why her father’s answers about her mother’s supposed betrayal change each time he tells it. When their latest move lands them in a house within walking distance of the town library, Sherica finally gets the courage  to seek out some answers. With the help of a nice young man with family secrets of his own, Sherica finally discovers the somebody she is meant to be.

My impressions: I’m not sure what about this book kept me so interested, but I really didn’t put it down for the hour and a half it took me to read it. I had pretty much figured out the plot the first time Sherica described her father defending himself by saying he wasn’t a criminal – it wasn’t like he had killed anybody; my suspicions were confirmed by the time I read the various stories he told Sherica about her mom. Still, I think I kept waiting for some kind of major drama, and the book just happened to be short enough that I didn’t get bored enough to stop reading before it was over.

Citation: Springer, N. (2009). Somebody. New York, NY: Holiday House.

Professional review:

“Hard-boiled noir from the perspective of an overweight 15-year-old girl? Well, only in stretches, but Springer packs her prose with just enough attitude to overpower the thin plot. Sherica is our protagonist’s name—but, for a while, even that is in doubt. Along with her older brother, she has been constantly shuttled across the country by her father, and each new home brings a new hairstyle and a new fake name. These names she considers “fattening,” because she seems to grow bigger with each one. But this town is different: she meets Mason, a boy who works at the library, and he helps her discover that the tale her father has been telling about her mom all these years may not be true. Taking back her life will first require Sherica to reclaim her identity and sense of self-worth, and this gives the story a layer of optimism and meaning missing in many mysteries. “I am somebody,” she repeats over and over, and readers will appreciate how the statement comes to have multiple meanings…”

Kraus, D. (2009). Somebody. [Review of]Booklist105(17), 41.

Library uses: Since I live in Houston, I would use this book to introduce Tweens and YA groups to our Clayton Library for Genealogical Research – it’s one of the most extensive libraries of its kind in the U.S.A.

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