The Anybodies by N.E. Bode
Publication: HarperCollins (May 25, 2004), Hardcover, 288 pages / ISBN 0060557354
Genre: Paranormal, Children’s/YA
Find @ Amazon or Indiebound
Challenges: Support Your Local Library Challenge (#16)
First sentence: Fern Drudger knew that her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Drudger, were dull.
In one sentence: Super-sweet book with lovable characters and a quirky plot.
There’s quite a few books out there written by authors with clever pseudonyms, and most of them live up to the quirkiness of those names. The Anybodies is one of those books, and even better than its quirkiness is its sweetness, its big-hearted story, and its lovable characters.
Summary from Amazon:
What if I were to TELL you that this is an all-true story, every word?
You see, once there was a VERY REAL girl named Fern who found out that she’d been swapped at birth. This might disturb some people, but it made Fern happy because she’d never felt at home with her tragically dull parents, the Drudgers. Fern finds out about the mix-up when the Bone (er, her father) and his “son,” Howard, show up at Fern’s front door. Now both families decide to UNSWAP the kids for the summer, and Fern heads off with the Bone on a wild adventure into a world inhabited by the Miser, a sinister fellow; and the Great Realdo, a true hero, to name just two.
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!
Fern is so adorkable. She’s weird and quirky and not entirely sure what that means for her as a person, but she’s totally willing to embrace her quirkiness and the quirkiness of other. It kind of reminds me of Alice when she runs into, like, every character in Wonderland ever and just takes it in stride.
Fern’s actual father isn’t, er, the best sort of father, but he tries (eventually), but Fern’s grandmother, who Fern and her father try to con (it’s not as despicable as it sounds), completely makes up for that in the best sort of way. She’s a book fiend! She quizzes Fern on different books and, I admit it, I had a little thrill go through me when I recognized all the references but one.
The Anybodies does tend to toe the line between sweet and overly sappy, and sometimes when the author broke the fourth wall (ala Lemony Snicket) it was weird and slightly awkward instead of funny. And maybe some plot points don’t come together as cleanly as they could (I’m thinking mainly the whole thing with the Anybodies and what they actually do), but I don’t care (mostly). It’s SO. CUTE. I ended up getting a copy to keep, too!
If you like sweet stories with quirky characters and a happy ending, try out The Anybodies. And, lucky me, there’s two sequels. Yay!
Oh, and be sure to check out the author’s website, too. Lots of funny videos for fans of her books and for use in the classroom, if you want.
Other reviews: A Fort Made of Books