cover image Nobody’s Secret

Nobody’s Secret

Michaela MacColl. Chronicle, $16.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-4521-0860-5

A 15-year-old Emily Dickinson stars in the first novel in an intriguing planned series from MacColl (Promise the Night) that recasts famous literary figures as detectives. Growing up in 1845 Amherst, Mass., Emily resents a life of chores that will surely lead to her becoming a housewife. When she meets “Mr. Nobody,” a handsome traveler who seems to understand her in a way that her family and town do not, it’s a glimpse of hope. But before a romance can begin, he turns up dead. Although Emily is still recovering from illness, she is determined to uncover Mr. Nobody’s true identity so he can have a Christian burial—and to prove that his death wasn’t accidental. MacColl skillfully draws from Dickenson’s life to create a vision of the young poet as sharp-thinking, nature-obsessed, and determinedly curious. Lines from Dickinson’s poems open the chapters, which hint at how the themes and subjects they explored might have developed in her life and mind, providing tantalizing—if fictional—context for the poet’s taut verse. Ages 12–up. Agent: George Nicholson, Sterling Lord Literistic. (Apr.)