Wills, Aurelia. Someone I Wanted to Be.
4Q * 4P * S Wills, Aurelia. Someone I Wanted to Be. Candlewick, 2016. 336p. $17.99. 978-0-7636-8156-2.
Leah feels invisible. With the nicknames Chubs and Fat-Ass at school, Leah is always living in the shadow of her more popular, skinnier friends, Kristy and Corrine. When a hot, older guy called "Mr. Corduroy" starts paying attention to Kristy after the girls convince him to buy them some beers, Leah starts talking to him on the phone, pretending to be Kristy. Mr. Corduroy makes Leah feel visible and alive as Kristy and Corrine vacillate between ditching her and treating her like their best friend. Things soon become too intense as Mr. Corduroy's demands to meet become more difficult to avoid, and Leah realizes that her innocent phone conversations may have put herself and Kristy in danger.
Someone I Wanted to Be tells the story of a realistic character struggling with a bad self-image and feelings of low self-worth. Leah's character transforms throughout the book as she begins to surround herself with other characters who see her value beyond her physical appearance. Wills develops the main and supporting characters through backstory and uses the setting to create a harsh, yet hopeful, background to the plot. This novel will appeal to teens who enjoy gritty, realistic fiction authors similar to Ellen Hopkins.--Deanne Boyer.