Sophie Someone

Hayley Long
AUD $16.99
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A remarkable tale of confusion and betrayal - and a very special girl called Sophie.

Shortlisted for the Costa Children's Book Award.

'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.

Author bio:

Hayley Long began writing teen fiction while working as an English teacher in Cardiff. Her first teen novel, Lottie Biggs is Not Mad, was awarded the White Raven label for outstanding children's literature by the International Youth Library. Since then her fingers haven't stopped typing. Hayley has been a winner of the Essex Book Award, and shortlisted for the Costa Book Award - twice! Hayley has also enjoyed the razzle-dazzle of being a Queen of Teen nominee. Hayley has now published two books with Hot Key, SOPHIE SOMEONE and her first non-fiction title, BEING A GIRL in 2014. Follow Hayley on Facebook at

Category: Young adult fiction
ISBN: 9781471404894
Publisher: Bonnier
Imprint: Hotkey
Pub Date: May 2016
Page Extent: 272
Format: Paperback - B format
Age: 13 - 16
Subject: Young adult fiction

Teachers Reviews

When Sophie was very young, around 4 or 5, she and her mother undertook a very hurried and confusing trip to Belgium. Sophie can clearly remember her mother tearing up their passports and stuffing them in a bin upon their arrival. Not too long after her dad also arrived and later her little brother was born. The family has now been living in Belgium for about ten years. And Sophie still has no idea at all about why they even left England especially since her parents really don’t seem to like it in their adopted country.

Now at fourteen her parents’ well-intentioned but really stupid subterfuges begin to unravel and Sophie discovers secrets that she finds almost impossible to comprehend. Though in my opinion they could be far more shocking, for Sophie they are monumental although also revealing as she comes to accept her parents for who they really are.

Sophie tells her story in her own strange language where words are substituted e.g. mum/mambo, dad/don, name/noodle, bad/boiled. Perhaps – probably – I’m not clever enough to see the point of this actually. Towards the end her best friend suggests she write her story down to make better sense of it and to use code if she wants no one else to read it. However, this is not code as such and of course it is readable, though difficult to read in a fluent way.

Hayley Long’s other novels have been hugely popular with teen girls and I will be encouraging some of my Secondary book club girls to read this and seek their opinions. Certainly as this age group often struggle with their own identity there will be some resonance with readers.
Recommended for girls about 12 to 14.
Sue Warren, QLD