Google+ Reading Teen: Book Review: Nobody's Secret by Michaela MacColl

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Book Review: Nobody's Secret by Michaela MacColl

Hardcover: 241 pages
Publisher: Chronicle Books (April 30, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1452108609
ISBN-13: 978-1452108605
Buy the book on Amazon

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.

At a Glance:
Nobody's Secret isn't much like it's advertised on the cover. It is self-described as "a novel of intrigue and romance" and while it certainly is intriguing, there isn't a whole lot of romance. Honestly, I'm not really sure why I read this book in the first place. I'm usually very quick to put down a book that claims romance as its plot, but I thought this book sounded pretty good, so I decided to give it a shot.

He wears a top hat because top hats are cool.

If you're looking for an action-ey book, this probably isn't the book that you'd want to read. Sure, it's an intriguing mystery, but it lacks the suspense that makes other murder mystery novels so great. This is a more lighthearted take on a story where some teenage boy mysteriously ends up dead in a pond in the front yard of a girl who has a crush on him. Yeah.

Like stated above, there isn't a whole lot of romance to be had in this book. Yes, there is a certain amount of flirtatiousness going on between Emily and Mr. Nobody. But then he dies. And then she's trying to figure out how he died. So, this book is much more of a mystery than it is a romance.

Emily Dickinson. Poet. The funny thing about this book is that it took me a few chapters before I realized that the Emily Dickinson in the book is the same Emily Dickinson in real life, who actually did write poetry. Yes, I know, I'm a genius. Emily (Even before I realized that she's a historical figure) is really just a great character. Smart, witty, and always finding ways to make her surroundings more poetic, she definitely makes for an interesting protagonist.

Something I loved:
I loved the mysteriousness of the whole thing, and the poetic nature of Emily's thoughts.

Something(s) I hated:
I felt like this book could have been a lot more interesting (At least, for my tastes) if it had had a bit darker tones, and had been a more serious murder mystery. But I know that that would make for an entirely different novel, and one that would be aimed for an entirely different audience. So, this isn't something that I hated at all, but rather something that strays from my own preferences.

Would I recommend it?
I would recommend this to anybody who is looking for a fun middle-grade/teen mystery. It kept me interested to the very last page.



  1. Haven't heard of this, but it looks cool - thanks for reviewing!

  2. I loved the historical aspect but I do wish there had been more romance as you point out-that would have been more pleasing to me.


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