Sophie Someone – Hayley Long
|Sophie Someone - Hayley Long|
Sophie Someone is a pacy mystery full of more laughter than tears with an intriguing use of wordplay. I really enjoyed this novel.
The plot is about fourteen year old Sophie whose family moved them in cloaked circumstances to Belgian. She finds the new language difficult but by the time she’s fourteen, Sophie starts putting bits and pieces together that make her wonder who exactly she is, and that things might not be the way her parents say they are.
From the get go, I was drawn to the mixed up language. Initially, I thought the novel was going to be about dyslexia but quite quickly realised the story was going to be slightly different and quite suspenseful. I was intrigued to find about about this story that was difficult to put into words.
Initially, it was a bit of a challenge to remember what the words meant but, as it went along, I realised that I was working it out contextually. A bit like we do in life and with foreign languages, an aspect that the novel explores a little.
There was also a definite playful element to the word play, eliciting little chuckles from me, picturing women as wombats and men as maniacs, and those wearing uniforms were actually in a unicorn. But, I also enjoyed how replacing a word with another unrelated word meant there were occasionally layers of meaning in paragraphs or sentences, a kind of sub-text. Whether intentional or not, this played along in my mind, e.g. introvert/internet, computer/companion. An additional aspect to the language meant that while there was swearing it didn't sound like it. I imagine younger readers would find this hilarious and it certainly removes any potential grit from the novel.
The novel is divided into sections that show how Sophie comes to see herself as the mystery about their lives deepens, unfolds and twists. On another level, it’s a novel about language and names not defining individuals, and that the way we view things in life – especially our troubles and anxieties - are all a matter of perspective. Along the way, Sophie does this with the help of a cast of (mostly) warm and loveable characters.
Sophie Someone has been nominated for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2017. It was shortlisted for the Costa Book Awards 2015.
Hot Key Books, 2015, London, paperback
This copy: review copy from the publisher