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Review: Ode to A Nobody - Caroline Brooks DuBois

Genre: Middle-Grade, Novel in Verse

Published: Holiday House, December 2022

My Rating: 4.5/5 stars

“Unreal - There is no other word. Inside our broken home, we don’t know how broken the outside world is.”

Ode to a Nobody is a powerful middle-grade novel in verse that managed to exceed my already high expectations with how impactful it was. Through a series of school-issued poetry assignments and journal entries, we’re offered an intimate look into the mind of a young girl as she navigates finding her voice in the aftermath of a storm (literally and figuratively) uprooting her home.

We first meet Quinn during the spring of her eight-grade year, through her first attempts at writing a poem about herself for a school assignment. Much like herself; Quinn’s not expecting her poem to be much of anything. Afterall, she’s an unremarkable nobody, average at best at all she does, and happy to fade into the background while her brilliant older brother takes the spotlight. Being invisible however, is no longer an option when an devastating tornado tears through her town and leaves destruction in its wake. With everything she knew changed, Quinn takes to her poetry as an outlet for her emotions. As she openly writes about the destruction of her home, the changing dynamics of her family and friendships, and her own insecurities, we slowly see her finding her voice and gaining the confidence to rebuilt a place for her own in this world.

There’s something deeply powerful to middle-grade fiction that manages to approach difficult topics through a lense that is accessible, relatable and understandable for readers of all ages. Combining that power with the ease and flow of its verse makes for an unforgetable reading experience. I loved every step of Quinns journey of charactergrowth, and it’s a testament to the skill of the writing that all that growth is portrayed through journal-entries/poems written by the character herself.

Although the format of verse may not be everybody’s cup of tea, I still beg you to give this book a chance if you’re looking for an impactful and emotional journey that still brims with hope, lightness and joy. If you enjoy a coming-of-age novel about finding your innerstrenght (e.i. The Hate U Give, A Heart in a Body in the World or The Poet X) than this is a must read, regardless if you’re an adult, young adult or middle-grade reader.

Many thanks to Holiday House for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Find this book here on Goodreads.


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