Ode to a Nobody

Recorded Books. Dec. 2022. 403p. $12.99. ISBN 9781705093580.
Gr 5-8–Even before the tornado hit her town, 13-year-old Quinn’s life was already shaky. Her perfect older brother went to college, leaving her alone with their acrimonious parents. Her BFF clearly prefers hanging out with cool-girl Jade. Quinn’s lackluster academic record seems to label her a “Failure.” With severe damage to their home, Quinn and her mother must move temporarily into the “Weird Old Man’s” basement apartment. Writing poems—which began as a school assignment—gives Quinn the space to process her internal chaos about family, friendship, and her own identity. “In just a few short months,/ I’ve moved from feeling like a big zero,/ a pretty good poet.” Veteran narrator Jackson empathically embodies Quinn’s “before/ during/ after” with energetic synergy.
VERDICT DuBois’s sophomore verse novel offers another heartwarming lesson of “be who you are meant to be.”

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