A remarkable tale of confusion and betrayal - and a very special girl called Sophie.
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 www.facebook.com/HayleyLongAuthor
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