Spoiler-Free Review : Sophie Someone by Hayley Long
A remarkable tale of confusion and betrayal - and a very special girl called Sophie.
'Some stories are hard to tell.
Even to your very best friend.
And some words are hard to get out of your mouth. Because they spell out secrets that are too huge to be spoken out loud.
But if you bottle them up, you might burst.
So here's my story. Told the only way I dare tell it.'
Sophie Nieuwenleven is sort of English and sort of Belgian. Sophie and her family came to live in Belgium when she was only four or five years old, but she's fourteen now and has never been quite sure why they left England in the first place. Then, one day, Sophie makes a startling discovery. Finally Sophie can unlock the mystery of who she really is. This is a story about identity and confusion - and feeling so utterly freaked out that you just can't put it into words. But it's also about hope. And the belief that, somehow, everything will work out OK.
SOPHIE SOMEONE is a tale of well-intentioned but stupid parenting, shock, acceptance and, ultimately, forgiveness, written in a brave, memorable and unique language all of its own.
*I received this book from the author/publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review *
I heard quite a few people, who received an early copy like me, say that it was an amazing read and the synopsis really intrigued me so I hopped on over to NetGalley to see if it was available for request. I was lucky enough that it was and I was even more luckier when I got accepted to read it. I immediately added it to my list of books that I need to read for review (I have like over 20 and most of them are overdue, oops!) and it had been sat there since. I eventually decided that I need to read it so I started reading it. I got about 20 pages in and then for some reason I stopped reading it, I don't know why so don't ask. Anyway, a couple of days later I remembered it and picked it back up again and I have to admit at first I was quite confused, but then I got a clearer image of what was happening and I was soon hooked.
When I started to read it the thing that instantly stood out was the writing. The writing was quite simple and straightforward, but that wasn't the thing that surprised me. The girl (Sophie) was telling the story and she had made up her own language (sort of) and exchanged some of the ordinary words for her own version. For example 'People' changed to 'Pigeons' and 'Name' was 'Noodle' and there were even stranger ones the further into the story you got. As you can tell, when you read the book you do have to think about what the word is in proper English and I think that the simplicity of the sentences and language helped to make it easier. There were actually one or two words that I never completely figured out what they meant, but I think that just adds to the mystery of the story.
The story follows a 14 year old girl named Sophie Nieuwenleven, who lives in Belgium and everything is normal. Apart from she can remember living in England when she was younger and she is then told a story from her mum about how they travelled from England to Belgium, but key bits of information are missing from the story and Sophie knows it. She begins to get curious, but she wants to believe what her mother tells her is true. She finds a relative online and gets on an unbelievable journey to another country, in which she hopes to find the real truth about her family past and more specifically her dad. Nothing could prepare Sophie for the real truth.
All of the characters were interesting and likeable, but I don't think I can go into detail about each one too much in case I spoil you because there is a lot to every character.
My favourite character out of the bunch was Ashley - I think that's her name but I can't remember too well as I read this quiet a while back. Anyway we will just call her Ashley. Ashley is one of the big troublemakers at Sophie's school and everyone is scared of her and tries to stay out of her way, apart from Sophie. Sophie and Ashley create a bond between each other and they soon become really great friends. It surprises Sophie when she finds out what Ashley is really like and that really goes along with the phrase 'Don't judge a book by its cover'. That's why she was my favourite character.
I will talk a bit about Sophie as she was the main character so I can't really do this review without talking about her. Anyway the things I liked about Sophie was that she was strong and brave and she was determined to find out the truth about her family. She coped as well as anyone would in her situation and I really felt a bond with her. I really liked her character, although at times I kept forgetting that she was 14. I would think that she was more like 8 or around that age anyway. I think maybe the book would have worked better if she was slightly younger, but overall the book was still great.
The book in my opinion was really great and definitely like nothing I had read yet, however I think that may have been down to the different language thing. I enjoyed all of the characters and the storyline. Overall, I thought it was a great book and some parts were really beautifully written and I did highlight them in my e-galley, but then when I went back on to view what I had highlighted to include in here, the book said it was unavailable to view. So unfortunately I can't quote my favourite parts, but oh well, you're just going to have to read the book for yourself!
GR - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25382680-sophie-someone?ac=1&from_search=1
BD - http://www.bookdepository.com/Sophie-Someone/9781471404801
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