Book Review: Nobody's Secret

Nobody's Secret by Michaela MacColl
A novel of intrigue and romance

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Amazon Summary:

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.
My Thoughts:

This was a really nice book.  I've always loved Emily Dickinson's poetry and the days before I read a variety of genres were filled with mysteries like these.  Every chapter started with some lines by Emily that really fit the tone of that chapter.  The emotions were generally very realistic - the laughing flirtation with Mr. Nobody, the mixed dread and odd curiosity of death, the combination of excitement and fear found in investigating a crime.  The mystery itself was very well-written, complete with the proper balance of clues, secrets, suspects, and red herrings.

Nobody's Secret, I'd have to say, is really more of a middle grade than a young adult title, although the target audience seems to be right in between the two.  The writing style and level of description were in no way lacking, but were younger than those of many books targeted at my age range.  However, the historical period this book is set in shines through in the word choices and especially the dialogue, making this a more challenging read for such younger readers.

Honestly, I have no reason not to give this book five stars... but I don't feel like it really earned all five, either.  It was a great book with great writing, well-developed characters, an awesome mystery - everything it needed, really.  But it didn't give me any wow moments.  I never found myself doubling over with laughter or gasping with horror or misting up and almost-crying like I do with all my favorite books.  So while this book is wonderful, it just didn't pack a big enough punch for five stars.

I give this book four stars, and recommend it for young poets and Emily Dickinson fans like myself.

I received this book for free from LibraryThing's Early Reviewers program in exchange for this review.  All opinions expressed are entirely my own.


  1. Ok, now I want to read this...Thanks for a fun review!
    :) Rhea Chladek


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