Ashley's Reviews > So B. It

So B. It by Sarah Weeks
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's review
Jan 04, 09

bookshelves: middle-grade, young-adult

Readers from fourth to ninth grade would likely enjoy Heidi's adventures and quest for answers to that question young people (all of us, really) wish to answer: Who am I?

For Heidi, this question is more literal than figurative. Her mentally disabled mother has a vocabulary of 23 words, so for obvious reasons she can't help much. Bernadette, the neighbor who raised Heidi and helps care for her mother, knows little more. She found Heidi's mom (who, when asked her name, says only "So Be It") cowering in the apartment hallway with infant Heidi in her arms. A sufferer of agoraphobia, Bernadette welcomes the two into her life.

And it's a good life, if unconventional, for Heidi. That is until the list of things she doesn't know about her mother and herself becomes too long to ignore, and Heidi goes in search of the one place she knows her mother has been--a home called Hilltop House in Liberty, NY.

The book is totally free of the foul language and sexual awakening that are almost requisite in most YA books, so younger readers (who usually prefer an older protag, anyway) won't encounter any too-mature material. Still, the narrative is sophisticated enough and the hungers that motivate Heidi are universal enough that even older readers will find much to like here. The book has a firm ethical core without being preachy or treacly, no small accomplishment. In fact, I think this "juvenile" text succeeds where a YA title with similar themes (_Defining Dulcie_ by Paul Acampora) fails.

Don't miss this graceful and engaging title, which presents a compelling plot without sacrificing character development or subtlety.

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