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Sophie Someone by Hayley Long
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Sophie Someone

by Hayley Long

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Showing 5 of 5
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This review and others posted over at my blog.

I wasn’t expecting the writing to be so stylized, so right off the bat I was confused. Sure, the back of the book mentions Sophie telling her story in the only way she knows how, but I wasn’t paying attention to the back of the book, was I? (No. No I wasn’t.)

So we have a sort of…modified English where certain words are swapped out for completely different (yet for the most part, essentially similar and mostly coherent) words, creating what appears to be gibberish at first. Examples include “hashtag” for hand, “quibble” for question, “Mambo and Donny” for Mom and Dad, “pigeon” for person, and “supernova” for suitcase. My first thought was that I was just reading a bunch of nonsense and it was frustrating.

However, as I made my way through the book, Sophie’s words, while still silly sounding, started to make a weird sort of sense to me. It’s clear that Long put a lot of thought into her…er…translations. There were still some words that threw me and I did spend the whole book mentally translating each replacement word I encountered. Had I been able to let go of that, I might have had an easier time reading, but I just HAD to know what the words really meant. At times this probably took me away from the story, but that’s just how my mind works.

This is a great story if you can get past the language and Sophie was funny and endearing. This is among the more original contemporary middle-grade novels I’ve encountered and if you’re looking for something different, I highly suggest this.

I received this book for free from LibraryThing in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. All opinions in this post are my own. ( )
  MillieHennessy | May 17, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
When I was in college I attended a play in which one of the characters spoke in a completely made-up language. I couldn't understand a single word said by this character yet the character managed to convey such emotion that I was deeply affected by the performance.

Unfortunately, Sophie Someone does not have the same effect. Sophie's story is interesting enough. The characters are rendered decently. But Sophie's language drove me crazy. Sure, it was easy enough to read because it was easy enough to figure out the word substitutions. But having to use the brain power to focus on the actual text on the page instead of being able to get lost in the story was bothersome.

I personally would have enjoyed the story much more if the author had just spoken plainly. ( )
  DonnerLibrary | May 1, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This is a review for Sophie Someone by: Hayley Long. I received this book from Librarything.com Early Bird Review for a honest review. This book is the most confusing book I have ever read. It automatically kick my mind to change the words that were wrong. The author wrote it this way. I did not get the meaning of this book. I didn't care for it at all. ( )
  harleyqgrayson02 | Apr 19, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Actual Rating: 3.5

Alright, alright. So the only thing anyone has been saying about this book is that the language is hard to understand, and I totally get where they're coming from. For example:
We live in a big old hovel at the foot of the hill. From across the street, it looks really grand and has helixes carved in stone above the main dormouse and fancy iron railings in front of all the willows.

In this sentence, you can probably surmise that "hovel" is "house", "helixes" is "heads", "dormouse" is "door", and "willows" is "windows". I agree - it does seem quite bizarre. But personally I had absolutely no trouble reading through all 256 pages in two hours.

Sophie Someone, in essence, is a book about Sophie Nieuwenleven, a fourteen-year-old girl who moved from England to Belgium years ago, and still doesn't know why. But one day, she learns something shocking - she doesn't have a birth certificate. And things spiral from there as Sophie decides to embark on a little journey of her own to figure out who she really is.

One thing that probably stood out to me the most was how unique the voice was. This was definitely due to the language, but it did also make the book seem more middle grade than young adult (which is what most people have been shelving this as on Goodreads). Because of the language style, Sophie definitely seemed much younger than she actually was - I kept getting the vibe that it was a little naïve child speaking, not a fourteen-year-old who would've already known more about the world.

It was a little difficult to connect with the characters. I'm honestly not sure if it's the writing style, because like I said, I had no problem reading though it. Still, the plot itself wasn't really surprising or anything, and I do feel like the style might've been a little distracting. I had actually expected the words (or shall I say, "worms") to become more and more normal as Sophie's character developed, but the language was consistently bizarre the entire way through, which might've also contributed to a homogenous voice.

Despite my issues with the book, I feel as though I'm opposite of a lot of readers - the writing style was what I loved the most. I wish that the plot and characters worked a little better for me, but the book was still so creative and different, a breath of fresh air from the typical novel. Personally, though, I'm someone with a crazy imagination, and my thoughts often jump around and spiral out of control. That may contribute to my ease in reading this book - I'm not sure. But anyways, overall it was an interesting read and to be honest I'd love to read something else like it. ( )
  CatherineHsu | Apr 16, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Sophie finds out a family secret that turns her world upside down. Her unique voice is immediately compelling, and though her own special language (read: replacing common words with uncommon words that have different meaning) is a little confusing at first, it only takes some context clues to understand what's being said.
This requires a little more mental work than the average YA contemporary, but if readers stick with it, Sophie Someone is a rewarding story about family, friendship, secrets, and hope.

Though I wasn't too happy with the way Sophie thought of her mother's physical appearance, and the way she spoke to her because of it, I rooted for her. In the end, the reason behind Sophie's special language becomes clear, and even symbolic.

Distracted readers might not appreciate the quirkiness Hayley Long wove the book with, but those who enjoy whimsy and can adapt to change easily should enjoy this quick story about a young girl discovering who she is. ( )
  imagiphantaria | Apr 9, 2017 |
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