________________ CM . . . . Volume XXI Number 8 . . . . October 24, 2014


Something Wiki.

Suzanne Sutherland.
Toronto, ON: Dundurn, 2014.
156 pp., pbk., EPUB & PDF, $12.99 (pbk.), $8.99 (EPUB), $12.99 (PDF).
ISBN 978-1-4597-2821-9 (pbk), ISBN 978-1-4597-2823-3 (EPub), ISBN 978-1-4597-2822-6 (PDF).

Grades 5-8 / Ages 10-13.

Review by Chris Laurie.

***½ /4

Reviewed from Advance Reading Copy.



My deep, dark secret? I edit Wikipedia for fun (I know, I know). I put in goofy stuff that only makes sense to me, private jokes and little stories about my day. I've never told anyone about what I do - my friends and family already think I'm enough of a dork without me telling them that I use an online encyclopedia for a diary. So I put all my ideas and feelings out there online, everything I'm thinking and wondering about, and then some other geek in some other corner of cyberspace a million miles away sees what I've done and deletes it. Usually pretty quickly, too. We geeks work fast. But there's something weirdly satisfying about putting my words out into the universe only to have them disappear in a split second, totally erased. It feels like I'm writing out my secrets in the sand on a beach. Eventually the waves will carry everything back to the water, and all I'll be left with is the memory of the words.

Jo Waller, 12, shares an interest in writing with her namesake Jo March from Little Women. However, rather than pursuing a formal literary career, this novel's protagonist edits Wikipedia as her own online journal. Each chapter's introduction is an altered Wikipedia entry that is either a glimpse inside Jo's mind or a clever aside to one of the story's plots.

      As the novel begins, Jo and her three closest friends are on the cusp of young adulthood; transitioning from carefree 'kids' to young teens increasingly conscious of things like fat, sodium, acne and boys. Jo's slightly older, closest friend Chloe is increasingly becoming distant from her, spending more and more time with other friends and leaving Jo the odd one out. All the while, Jo is suffering with cystic acne, trying medication after medication (including eventually, The Pill) to eradicate the embarrassing condition.

      Jo's world is further rocked when she overhears her parents having a family meeting with Jo's brother, Zim, and his girlfriend, Jen. Zim and Jen are expecting a baby, and they'll be moving in with Jo's family.

      As Jo begins to adjust to the idea of sharing her life with an ever growing family (she's always looked up to her cool, older brother), Chloe's locker has had a derogatory word written on it in permanent marker. And for some reason, Chloe has accused Jo of doing it. Betrayed and deeply hurt, Jo is forced to come to terms with shifting loyalties, secrets, her changing body, an unsettled home life, and, oh yeah, there's a boy.

      While Something Wiki doesn't offer anything new, this is a quick, light read that confronts universal issues tweens face in their lives. Jo is an honest, likeable girl trying to find her way through uncharted territory without a map. Sutherland wraps up this enjoyable novel in a neat but believable way, leaving this reader hoping for a sequel to find out what life holds next for Jo.

      Suzanne Sutherland is a writer for children and teens. Her first novel, When We Were Good, received critical acclaim and was selected for the American Library Association's Rainbow List. She lives in Toronto.

Highly Recommended.

Chris Laurie is an Outreach Librarian at Winnipeg Public Library.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.

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