Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 9 to 12
- Grade: 4 to 7
- Reading age: 9 to 12
Martha knows she is adopted, but she's well-loved and popular, at least until her mother gets pregnant and she feels her parents' attention start to shift. Upset and confused, Martha lashes out at—and loses—her friends. She also makes no secret about her annoyance at being forced to do a school project about sturgeon with Chance, a difficult boy whose foster parents are family friends. To add insult to injury, Martha's birth mother announces that she is getting married and moving away. Now Martha isn't number one in anybody's life. When her mom goes into labor prematurely, Martha realizes that she needs to figure out a way to be a better friend and daughter, and a great sister.
About the author
MAGGIE DEVRIES’s latest novel, Hunger Journeys, won the Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize and was called “historical fiction at its best” by CM Magazine. She has written eight other works for young readers, as well as one book for adults, Missing Sarah. A former children’s book editor and writer-in-residence for the Vancouver Public Library, she now focuses on teaching creative writing at the University of British Columbia and on her own writing.
FACEBOOK: MAGGIE DEVRIES
- Short-listed, SYRCA Diamond Willow nominee
Excerpt: Somebody's Girl (by (author) Maggie de Vries)
Martha's eyes widened. Dad looked right back at her, calm as calm. Mom was in bed when she should have been helping Martha get ready for school. Mom, who had never let her be alone with her birth mother for one minute in her whole entire life (not even when Martha was being born), was suddenly sending her off on her own and not even coming downstairs to tell her about it. And no one was asking Martha what she wanted. They obviously didn't care. Neither of them.
"de Vries manages to bring in a number of important issues that would trouble an adopted child whose parents are having their own, long-desired but unexpected baby. Also well presented are the interactions between the teacher and her students."
"The story is beautifully written, and Martha and Chance are particularly authentic and robust, though even minor characters are deftly drawn. Although the book has a strong appeal to those interested in fiction about open adoptions, it deserves a wide audience because it is so well told."
School Library Journal
"Martha's story is one that most children from a single-child household can relate to. Going from one child to two can be nerve-wracking for anyone, adopted or not...De Vries expertly handles this difficult situation. While Martha becomes pricklier and pricklier, she's still likable. De Vries looks at the world through a child's eyes and in doing so, she captures the essence of childhood. Young readers will feel like they are active participants rather than being talked down to. At 164 pages, Somebody's Girlis just the right length...Kudos to De Vries for a fine narrative that will hit home with many young readers."
Cracking the Cover blog
"In this book, Martha shows her personality and readers will recognize similar situations in their own lives. Adopted or foster children will especially relate to the intricacies of Martha's relationships. Recommended."
Library Media Connection
Somebody's GirlThis touching novel is a sequel to the esteemed Chance and the Butterfly, both of which are in the Orca Young Readers series. Chance, the troubled foster boy from the first story, has settled down in his loving foster home. He is partnered reluctantly with smug classmate, Martha, for a Grade Four project on the Fraser River sturgeon. When Martha, who is adopted, sees her indulged life crumble around her, she must stay with Chance’s family. Her mother’s surprise pregnancy, her birth mother’s marriage plans and the mutual hatred she and Chance share leave Martha full of self-pity, fear and anger. With love, patience and some wonderful classic children’s stories to help, Martha comes to appreciate her changed life.
De Vries is a Vancouver author, editor and writing teacher. The author’s teen novel, Hunger Journeys, won the 2011 BC Book Prizes, Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize.
Source: The Association of Book Publishers of BC. BC Books for BC Schools. 2011-2012.