Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Are You Nobody? I'm Nobody Too...

Expected Publication: March 1st, 2013
Nobody's Secret
By: Michaela MacColl
Chronicle Books
ISBN-13: 9781452108605

One day, fifteen-year-old Emily Dickinson meets a mysterious, handsome young man. Surprisingly, he doesn't seem to know who she or her family is. And even more surprisingly, he playfully refuses to divulge his name. Emily enjoys her secret flirtation with Mr. "Nobody" until he turns up dead in her family's pond. She's stricken with guilt. Only Emily can discover who this enigmatic stranger was before he's condemned to be buried in an anonymous grave. Her investigation takes her deep into town secrets, blossoming romance, and deadly danger. Exquisitely written and meticulously researched, this novel celebrates Emily Dickinson's intellect and spunk in a page-turner of a book that will excite fans of mystery, romance, and poetry alike.


     Emily Dickinson is always looking for a way out of helping with the numerous chores her Mother creates for her and her younger sister Vinnie.  On one such afternoon when Emily is hiding in the meadow, she strikes up an acquaintance with a young man who mysteriously refuses to tell her his name.  To each other they are Mr. and Miss Nobody.  So when she arranges to meet up with him again soon and show him about town, Emily is excited to have a secret.  Then Mr. Nobody is found dead in the Dickinson family's pond, with no obvious reason.  Everyone except for Emily assumes that he has drowned and they wish to forget him.  But she won't rest until they have a name to write on his tombstone.  However, more questions come along for each answer Emily does uncover.  When it starts to look like Mr. Nobody was murdered, for sinister reasons and probably by his own family Emily becomes even more determined to uncover the truth.  But will she walk away from her investigation with her life or will the killer seek to make sure she stays silent, no matter the cost?  This book was definitely different, but in a good way.  I have never seen another YA book about Emily Dickinson as a teenager.  That alone made me anxious to read it and see if the author did her justice.  I feel like she captured the right amount of adult Emily, with a necessary mix of teenage qualities and quirks.  The headstrong personality and inability to settle for less than the absolute truth made Emily a great detective and a wonderful heroine.  The historical details were very well researched and it came across in the descriptions and the life infused into the writing.  When the Dickinson sisters were doing chores and bickering, I was right alongside them.  The mystery itself was slightly predictable, but the murderer wasn't who I had been expecting throughout the entire book.  I was surprised at the end, but I did love that the author made it so realistic.   The usage of Emily's poems to highlight plot points throughout the book was pretty genius.  Each poem had a well-chosen placement and moved along the story convincingly.  I was very pleased and overall, I highly recommend it for anyone who is a fan of Emily Dickinson, or likes to imagine famous people as teenagers.  It's an interesting book and probably one of the better ones I've read this year.  I'll definitely be looking up other books by this author! :)

VERDICT:  4.5/5  Stars

*received an Advanced Reading E-book Copy from the publisher, via Edelweiss.  No money or favors were exchanged for this review. This book's expected publication date is March 1st, 2013.*


  1. Thank you so much for the review. I'll have to add this to my tbr. I think I saw this on NetGalley, but I was reluctant to request it because I wasn't sure if it was something that I would like.

    1. Sandra, I wasn't sure at first either. The idea of EMILY DICKINSON solving a murder mystery was kind of a WTF moment for me! But the set-up and execution were so well done that it was entirely believable! I really enjoyed it.


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