Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Dear Nobody Edited by Gillian McCain and Legs McNeil

Dear Nobody Edited by Gillian McCain and Legs McNeil

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release: April 1, 2014
Source: PLA
Go Ask Alice was a hoax. But Dear Nobody is a true teen diary so raw and so edgy its authenticity rings off every page

"I am a freak."

The words and drawings of Mary Rose present a gritty, powerful, no-holds-barred true experience of a teen girl so desperate to be loved, so eager to fit in that she'll go to extremes that could cost her her life.

This is not a story about addiction. Or sexual promiscuity. Or cystic fibrosis. It's the story of a young woman with a powerful will to live, who more than anything wants to be heard...and loved.

This compelling, emotional account ensures her voice will not be forgotten.
Mary Rose is real, or so I have been told. This book's synopsis advocates her existence, and the woman manning the Sourcebooks booth at PLA assured me of the same. I want to believe them—I do believe them—because her story is raw and powerful. The knowledge that it happened makes it even more meaningful.

At first, I struggled to accept that Mary Rose wrote these diaries as a teenager—that they did not jump from the imagination of an adult with a college degree in writing—because her words are so well-crafted. They have some technical imperfections, but her cinematic way of assembling scenes and describing her world seems like something out of a novel, not a journal. I am sure the editors of Dear Nobody helped by cutting parts that detracted from the story's dramatic effect and re-ordering entries, but the words are hers. I never write so vividly when journaling, so I admire the amount of time Mary Rose must have put into recording her life.

Her diligent detailing does more than challenge her credibility, though; it creates a captivating story that took hold of my emotions. I could not sympathize with Mary Rose's problems, but thanks to her words, I could empathize. Her entries display real struggles, allowing people who have never experienced them to grab a glimpse of their impact. As someone who has never dealt with addiction, a chronic illness, or any of her other conflicts—or been close to anyone who has—I grew fascinated with the way Mary Rose's narrative showed me a hint of what these issues can do to a teenager. Dear Nobody takes readers like me to another side of reality and illuminates a life that could have been theirs, making it a haunting tale.

However, the thing that stands out to me above all else, and the thing that truly convinces me Mary Rose is real, is that Dear Nobody is not a cautionary tale. It is not an "issue book." It is simply, effortlessly her life, the way only a journal could be. I fight to imagine someone sitting at a computer, typing these words, pretending to be the book's protagonist, but Dear Nobody displays a certain realism, impossible to pinpoint but undeniably present, on every page. Mary Rose's diaries have no forced morals or discussion points because they were originally personal records meant only for her. This is by far the best aspect of her stunning story.

Mary Rose addressed her journal entries "Dear Nobody," as if no one would ever listen to anything she had to say. While she may have felt that way while writing them, it is no longer true. I listened, I cared, and now teenagers across the country will do the same. I am so thankful that this book, originally meant for no one, was sent to the world, to everyone.


  1. this sounds like a contemporary novel I'd like to read.. the way you said it's well written and how you are able to empathize with Mary Rose despite not experiencing the same things really makes me want it more. adding this to my tbr list~ Lovelyreview :)

    czai @ the Blacksheep Project

  2. Wow...this sounds amazing. I better put it on my to-read list right away. Good job with the review, I just found your blog and am looking forward to reading more reviews. :)

  3. this sounds fascinating. I like that it's actually a real girl. I've never read Go Ask Alice, but I did know it was fake, so it's nice to see a similar idea that is real and works so well.

  4. Wow. Just wow. If the premise didn't call to me enough, your review certainly did Emily. Seriously - well done! This sounds like such a powerful and emotional story, and I hope I end up enjoying it as much as you did. :) Thanks for sharing and, as always, BRILLIANT review! <3

    ~ Zoe @ The Infinite To-Read Shelf

  5. Great Post! Follow eachother on GFC ? If yes, follow me and i follow back as soon as i see it. Let me know with a comment on my Blog

    Keep in Touch xx Rabea from germany

  6. Hi! I've nominated you for a Liebster Award. :)
    All the details are on my blog: That cover looks so dark and seems to really fit the synopsis! I've nominated you for a Liebster Award as well. :) All the info is on my blog:

  7. Congrats ! (:
    I nominated you for the Liebster Award ! :*
    All the info through the link :D

    Hope you'll do it !

    xo Anne

  8. Seems like my cup of tea. I've been enjoying diary-type books lately. I nominated you for a Liebster Award:

  9. She was real. And she was an awesome person :)

  10. What a powerful way to begin a journal entry... dear nobody... just wow. I hope for Mary Rose that writing was an outlet. It sounds like an incredibly moving story and I'm definitely going to look into giving it a read.


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