BookBrowse Reviews The Anybodies by N.E. Bode

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The Anybodies

by N.E. Bode

The Anybodies by N.E. Bode X
The Anybodies by N.E. Bode
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  • First Published:
    May 2004, 288 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2005, 288 pages

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Suspense, intrigue and mystery for children aged 9-12

From the book jacket: This book promises suspense! Intrigue! Mystery! Fairies fall out of books! Birds turn into dogs! Nuns turn into lampposts! So I have no idea why you're still lingering here. . . . Start reading! (Ages 9+)

Comment: N.E. Bode is the loosely veiled pseudonym of adult novelist Julianna Baggot (Girl Talk, 2001 & various short stories and poems).  Like a number of recent children's authors, Bode remains a tangible presence in the story by keeping up a continuous stream of  asides addressed directly to the reader.  Personally, I find this style of writing mildly irritating as I find the commentary pulls me out of the story, rather than drawing me in; but then again, I'm about 3 decades older than the intended target audience, so what do I know about it!  

Putting that mild criticism aside, The Anybodies is undoubtedly a fun read.  Think of it as a children's version of Jasper Fforde's 'Thursday Next' novels; 12-year old Fern tangles with various dastardly characters as she attempts to find the missing book, 'The Art of Being Anybody', before 'The Miser' gets to it.  In the course of her search she discovers that she has inherited her mother's ability to literally shake characters from books, and before long the cast has extended to include hobbits, fairies, and many other characters that reasonably well-read children will recognize.  Those who enjoy books by Cornelia Funke (such as Inkheart) and Lemony Snicket will most likely appreciate The Anybodies.

'The writing is fluid, the characters are multifaceted, and the situations range from poignant to gloriously silly. Eye-catching, black-and-white sketches echo the story's nuances and add to the atmosphere. There's laugh-out-loud humor, fantasy, mystery, real-life family drama, and the potential for a sequel. What more could a reader want?'
- School Library Journal.

This review is from the September 1, 2005 issue of BookBrowse Recommends. Click here to go to this issue.

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