Nobody's Secret by Michaela MacColl

Friday, April 26, 2013

Nobody's Secret
by Michaela MacColl
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Publication date: April 30th 2013
Source: E-galley
Author's website | GoodReads
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.



Nobody's Secret was a nice light read. The writing was fluid and easy to understand, and I especially liked how the dialogue flows between the characters. The historical setting was quite evident in the way the book was written and in how people acted. I enjoyed hearing Emily's opinions about the people and things around her. She was considered "odd" by most people and was depicted in Nobody's Secret as quite a tulip in a bed of roses. I really admired the way she overcome the obstacles blocking her from reaching clues and the bravery she displayed whenever she was threatened to stop sticking her nose into someone else's business.

The plot wasn't exactly what I expected it to be. I thought that it would be based on Emily Dickinson's actual life or one of her poems, but I was wrong. Nobody's Secret is actually a murder mystery based on snippets and lines from the different poems of Emily Dickinson. A specific line from one of her poems is actually written upon starting each chapter, and it was like a clue as to how the story will develop from there. It had the usual factors of a who dun it; it was fast paced and had consistent developments, tackling different relationships but focusing more on the mystery itself.

As a YA murder mystery novel, it was okay and nicely written. The various developments in solving the mystery were masterfully placed in all the perfect circumstances, and Emily and her sister sunk their teeth unto different suspicions while using their brain and never jumping to conclusions. The thing that bothered me was that I never got stumped. I was always a step or two before Emily and I wasn't surprised with the identity of the killer. I don't know if it's just me but I thought that it was extremely predictable, and that, I think, is a bad thing to be when you're a murder mystery book.

I was also a bit disappointed because the blurb described as having "blossoming romance" but I didn't really feel it much. There were hints leading to possible attractions and a bit of flirting, but I wouldn't exactly call it romance. I really shouldn't complain because I guess flirting would be considered steamy in Emily's time where skirts that end above the ankle are considered short, but still. And, in my opinion, Emily didn't want to solve the mystery and give justice to Mr. Nobody because she loved the guy like others are saying, it was more than that. Emily was always under-appreciated and considered odd; boys always preferred flirting with her prettier younger sister and placed Emily in the friendzone. Then here comes Mr. Nobody, someone who understood her and embraced her oddities. Mr. Nobody was the first person to actually accept her for who she is and she owed him so much for that.

All in all, Nobody's Secret was a very enjoyable read. It was well-written, had vivid imagery, and realistic characters. Even though it wasn't based on an actual event in her life, some parts of Emily's life were shown like the actual characteristics of her family and friends, and I appreciate the amount of research made to make the book more realistic. The plot and story was also interesting, albeit a bit too predictable for me. If you're a fan of believable historical fiction and a nice mystery, Nobody's Secret is the book for you.

THE NUB AND GIST: 3 STARS
Buy the book from: The Book Depository | Amazon

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2 comments

  1. What, no real romance? Bummer. Otherwise this seems like a pretty fun read, I enjoy a good historical read every so often.

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  2. Hm, this sounds interesting. I'm always torn about things involving historical figures (especially movies), but this one does sound good! If the romance was supposed to be between Emily and Mr. Nobody I can see why it didn't work out, but the intrigue has me...intrigued (oy, that was a bad joke haha)

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