At the heart of Hayley Long’s Sophie Someone there is a superb story about discovering who you are and finding the good in people, even those who are flawed. It is a complex read but very satisfying for older readers who want to be challenged and who enjoy word games.
Sophie is fourteen and lives in Belgium. She goes to an International School with children from all over the world. But, she has memories of a previous life: a frantic journey with her mother; wigs and disguises; fear of people in uniforms; and of her dad who suddenly reappears after going missing for several days.
Sophie is quite able to accept all this, until her school insists on inspecting her birth certificate and passport. Sophie realizes that she is the only person without these documents and begins to question why. Who is she, and who are these people that she calls Mum and Dad? What secrets have they been keeping from her all her life?
In itself, this story is intriguing and exciting enough to make you want to read to the end, but I loved the way that Sophie uses her own ‘language’. By substituting nouns for others nouns in each sentence Sophie is keeping her own story secret.
While your helix might spin working out what the words mean, this device certainly adds an extra level to the reading experience. For some, this may detract from the story and break the flow of reading, but others will love the buzz that comes from decoding the more complex paragraphs.
I really enjoyed Sophie Someone from start to finish. The story is strong and pulls the reader through. The characters are interesting and believable. The climax is both heartbreaking and reassuring.
A completely unique reading experience.