Monday, March 25, 2013

Middle School Monday: Nobody's Secret by Michaela MacColl

Today's Middle School Monday post comes from Katie and it combines Emily Dickinson with one very strange murder mystery...

Nobody's Secret by Michaela MacColl 

Do you ever feel like a nobody? If so, you have something in common with the great American poet, Emily Dickinson. She even wrote a poem that begins:
I'm nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there's a pair of us -- don't tell!
They'd banish -- you know!

I can’t help but think that there is something kinda wonderful about reading a bit of verse over a hundred years after it was written and feeling like someone from some time just gets it.

This is also the poem that inspired the title of Michaela MacColl’s fictional account of 15-year-old Emily Dickinson acting very much like Nancy Drew in 1845--Nobody’s Secret. When Emily makes a connection with a handsome, young stranger--Mr. Nobody--suddenly the world seems like a brighter place. The days no longer seem dull. There is something new to look forward to, to scheme about, to treasure as her own little secret. Right up until Mr. Nobody’s body turns up in the Dickinson family pond.

Desperate to make sense of what happened and give Mr. Nobody justice, Emily strikes out on her own to investigate the secrets behind his nobody-ness and give him a name and a story.

So much of what we hear about Emily Dickinson is that she was a loner and a hermit. But teenage Emily Dickinson is yearning for adventure and manages to find it within the confines of her small town. But she can’t do it on her own. She needs to learn to trust other people if she is going to discover the truth.

And if it is truth you are after, you don’t need to look any further than the lines of Emily’s poetry at the beginning of each chapter. Lovely language, a brave young teenager from history, and a murder mystery all combine to make for a fun read.

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