8 Notes to a Nobody
Publisher: Write Integrity Press
Book 1 of The Bird Face Series"Funny how you can live your days as a clueless little kid, believing you look just fine ... until someone knocks you in the heart with it."
Wendy Robichaud doesn't care one bit about being popular like good-looking classmates Tookie and the Sticks--until Brainiac bully John-Monster schemes against her, and someone leaves anonymous sticky-note messages all over school. Even the best friend she always counted on, Jennifer, is hiding something and pulling away. But the spring program, abandoned puppies, and high school track team tryouts don't leave much time to play detective. And the more Wendy discovers about the people around her, the more there is to learn.When secrets and failed dreams kick off the summer after eighth grade, who will be around to support her as high school starts in the fall?
8 Notes to a Nobody received the Catholic Writers Guild Seal of Approval. In its original edition, Bird Face, it won a 2014 Moonbeam Children's Book Award, bronze, in the category Pre-teen Fiction Mature Issues.
Publication Date: 2015-09-01
Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.4 inches
Cynthia is a former advertising designer, marketing director, and interior decorator who holds a BA in art education with a minor in history. She writes for preteens and teens because she wants them to know how wonderful, powerful, and valuable they are. At other jobs, she had trouble following directions and keeping her foot out of her mouth. While employed by a large daily newspaper, she rewrote some ad copy without permission and got reprimanded for it. At that point, she knew she was destined to become an author. It's probably best that she is now self-employed. In her spare time, when she's not cooking Cajun or Italian food, Cynthia grows herbs and makes silk accent pillows. If you make her angry, she will throw one at you. A pillow, not an herb. Well, maybe both.
The subject matter is relevant to the struggles teens face today. I was drawn in by the voice of the main character and the humor—I even laughed out loud. But the story also pulled at my heartstrings, and many moments rang so true they brought me back to my teenage years.
The main character, almost fourteen-year-old Wendy Robichaud, has so much to offer but she just can’t see it. She sees others as having what she lacks and has to remind herself, “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s life!” As the story unfolds, with the help of notes from an anonymous friend, she begins to realize the truth. And the truth can be hard at times. She hadn’t known the struggles other kids in school faced.
I wish I’d read this book as a teen or pre-teen. If offers perspective and solutions for the struggles teens face. It’s natural to be introspective in the pre-teen and teenage years, but the more we can look outside and really see others, the more we can realize we’re all in this together. And everyone is carrying their own cross. Perhaps with that frame of mind, young people can see themselves and others in a new a light.
This is the first book in Cynthia T. Toney’s Birdface series which follows Wendy, a young Louisiana teen, through her 8th grade year and into high school. 8 Notes to a Nobody is a beautiful and impactful novel about the difficulties of the middle school years. This story deals honestly with many tough subjects such as low self-esteem, depression and other serious issues. Toney does an incredible job of tackling these hard topics in a hopeful and empowering way.
I love how the main character finds the strength to take charge and change things for herself by following her 5 step plan to making friends. This is such a great, proactive idea that all teens could try. It was wonderful to see how things changed for her over the summer as she prepared for high school. Kids at this age often can’t see past their problems so I thought the message that even though heartache and tragedies occurred, things could change and get better was very powerful and positive. This is a great book for any middle school student.
8 NOTES TO A NOBODY is a compelling page-turner with heart. I finished it within a few days because of the way the writing and characters drew me into the story.
Wendy is a likable protagonist and becomes very "real" to readers through her individual quirks and strong narrative voice. I loved spending time with her and could relate to her lack of interest in following the "cool" crowd. Her friendship with a long-time friend brought with it a certain nostalgia, but also the bittersweet feeling that all of us feel with the passage of time.
Toney's writing style is a wonderful combination of clever turn-of-phrase and unique imagery. Her metaphors truly painted a picture in my mind and often were humorous, as well. It suited the story, as the writing style paralleled the personality of the main character.
While 8 NOTES is a work of contemporary realistic YA, I enjoyed the elements of mystery within, which added a sense of intrigue to the storyline. I could not wait to find out who was giving Wendy the notes, and found myself engaging in speculation as to his/her identity. While I will avoid spoiling the ending, I thought that it was a fitting resolution. I also enjoyed the sprinkling of romance and look forward to the inevitable development of a certain relationship in the next book.