Someone I Wanted to Be by Aurelia Wills
Published September 6, 2016
Publisher: Candlewick Press
When an insecure teen starts impersonating someone else, her life spirals dangerously out of control in a realistic, relatable novel about finding yourself—and discovering your true friends.
Leah Lobermier dreams of becoming a doctor, but it’s hard to stay focused on getting good grades when boys make oinking sounds at her in school and her mother spends every night on the couch with a bottle of wine. Leah’s skinny and popular “friends,” Kristy and Corinne, aren’t much better and can hardly be counted on for support. When the girls convince a handsome older man to buy them beer, Leah takes his phone number and calls him, pretending to be Kristy—coy and confident—and they develop a relationship, talking and texting day after day. But as the lie she created grows beyond her control, can Leah put a stop to things before she—or Kristy—is seriously hurt?
This was a bleak story, yet honest and pretty true to life. It was an ok read. It’s just not one of those books that will leave you with warm fuzzy feelings. It’s a look at life’s darker side. It was raw and gritty. It focused on bullying, death, alcoholism, and sexual assault. If anything, maybe it will help us to love our family a little more, and be a little kinder to people. Hopefully this story will help teenagers be more careful about talking to strangers, and never going somewhere alone.
The writing in this book was simple. The story was a quick and easy read, the chapters were nice and short, and the story was easy to follow. The conversations between the characters in this story were abrupt, short, and clipped, and almost always mean. They rarely had nice words to say to each other, except for maybe one of the characters. I never really felt like I got to know any of these characters on a deeper level and it was hard for me to connect with them. Mostly, I just felt very sad for the main character. She wasn’t treated very well. I also didn’t like how she didn’t seem to stick up for herself. She was portrayed weakly. She self-sabotaged.
I thought the story ended a bit abruptly. I was kind of left feeling like I needed more. It was a bit abrupt. The way it ended did, however, make me feel like maybe there would still be hope yet for our main character and that maybe there was a way out for her after all.
Overall, this story was just an ok read for me. It held my attention for the most part. It didn’t bore me…just saddened me.
About the Author
Aurelia Wills writes both adult and young adult fiction.
Someone I Wanted To Be is her first novel. School Library Journal called it “…an ultimately satisfying read.” “A melancholy, memorable piece tackling shame, unkindness, poverty, and, finally, hope.” – Kirkus Reviews.
Aurelia’s stories have been published in The Kenyon Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, CALYX, American Fiction, The Common, and other journals.
Aurelia has three kids and lives in Minnesota with her husband.
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