Review: Sophie Someone by Hayley Long


Publisher: Bonnier
Release date: May 25, 2016
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Pages: 272
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“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.


4 stars

I received a copy of this book from Allen & Unwin for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Sophie Someone is a very interesting story about identity and figuring out who you are and where you belong. It’s written in a very unique way and is a powerful story, despite being quite a short book.

The first thing you’ll notice about Sophie Someone is that it’s written in its own unique language. There are words that are replaced by other words throughout the entire book, like ‘noodle’ instead of name and ‘freckle’ instead of friend. For the first half of the book, I thought that this was because Sophie was dyslexic but as the book progressed, it didn’t seem like this was the case, which had me very confused. However, the reason why this strange language was used is explained at the end of the book so you’re not left in the dark after the story is over. I’m not really sure how I feel about this kind of writing. It made the writing really hard to read at the beginning because it was like a code that you had to crack. But the reading experience did become much smoother once I had decoded the words and what they were supposed to be. While I did find some of the language to be really funny, I’m just not sure that it was completely necessary and I think the story was strong enough to stand on its own without this quirky writing style.

I really loved Sophie’s story in this book. She’s a teenage girl who is confused about her origins and where she came from. Her family lives in Belgium but are English and can only speak in English. Sophie’s unsure of why her last name is foreign or why they moved to Belgium in the first place. Throughout this book, Sophie recounts her memories of her childhood, putting together pieces of the puzzle and trying to form an idea of who she really is and why her parents have been lying to her about everything. It’s a very heartwarming story about family, the secrets that people keep hidden inside and what you would do for the people you love. I absolutely loved the story and fell in love with Sophie and her family. I enjoyed the mystery surrounding Sophie’s past and piecing together everything as Sophie was at the same time. But what I enjoyed the most was Sophie discovering it all and her journey towards finding out the truth about who she is.

I’m not a nobody. And I will never be while I’m Comet Kayembe’s best freckle.

I loved Sophie in this book. Her voice was so strong and unique and I felt very connected to her. She’s a very strong character who stands up for what she believes in and will do anything to find out the truth. She’s kind and caring when it comes to her friends and her younger brother but she isn’t afraid to express her feelings on her mother being an agoraphobic and a terrible mother. The characters in this book are definitely flawed. Sophie’s parents definitely have something to hide but they try to be there for their kids and to give them everything that they need.

I highly enjoyed this story and Sophie’s journey of self-discovery. I thought it was an extremely emotional and heartwarming story with some very relatable  characters. I liked Sophie’s special language that was used in the book but I’m not sure that it was completely necessary because it made the book a little bit hard to get into. But I really enjoyed the novel as a whole and would highly recommend it.

Sophie Someone was published on May 25th 2016 by Bonnier and is now available at Australian retailers for $16.99AU.


5 thoughts on “Review: Sophie Someone by Hayley Long

  1. Nick says:

    The story itself when it comes to Sophie sounds terrific, but the language definitely sounds a bit weird. I’m usually not one for different writing styles, so I’m not sure how I’d react to it. But thanks for putting this into my radar, Jenna. I think this is a book I’d really enjoy once I’m able to get over the writing style because I do love my self-identity and characters growing up kind of books.
    Lovely review! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jenna @ Reading with Jenna says:

      Yeah the story itself and the mystery of Sophie’s origins were really wonderful and I loved it a lot. It was just the writing that took it down a notch for me. It wasn’t that hard to get into but I just felt like it wasn’t completely necessary. It’s quite a short book and I hope you give it a go because Sophie’s story is amazing!


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