The Somebodies

The Somebodies

4.5 14
by N. E. Bode

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There is a city beneath New York City, one made by and for Anybodies. There you can find Bing Chubb's Ballpark, Willy Fattler's ever–changing Underground Hotel, and a castle whose spire sticks up into the dirt–filled sky...dangerously close to the rear ends of unsuspecting picnic–goers in Central Park. It's an extraordinary place, but it is in


There is a city beneath New York City, one made by and for Anybodies. There you can find Bing Chubb's Ballpark, Willy Fattler's ever–changing Underground Hotel, and a castle whose spire sticks up into the dirt–filled sky...dangerously close to the rear ends of unsuspecting picnic–goers in Central Park. It's an extraordinary place, but it is in danger of becoming ordinary because of the nefarious Blue Queen. Somebody has to stop her, and if anybody is going to, nobody is better than everybody's favorite Anybody. In her third quirky adventure, Fern takes on the biggest, baddest, bluest opponent ever. Yikes!

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Wrapping up the trilogy that began with The Anybodies, N.E. Bode (adult writer Julianna Baggott's pseudonym) continues the tale of the anybodies ("a person who by nature or training... can transform objects into reality... and who can transform themselves and others") in The Somebodies, illus. by Peter Ferguson. Here they must save the city beneath the Big Apple from losing its magic at the hands of the Blue Queen. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature - Triss Robinson
This delightful fantasy is about Fern who is an Anybody. She lives with her grandmother in New York City. Howard is her best friend. Fern and Howard get into trouble at school and are sent to the principal. While waiting for him, Fern discovers a strange envelope in her pocket. It is any invitation to the Annual Anybodies Convention. (She later learns this is really the Secret Society of Somebodies, which is the evil Blue Queen). The principal expels the children. Their families decide to send the children to a military academy. While Fern and Howard are listening to their parents talk, the envelope starts humming, and it begins to grow bigger and bigger. Since they don't want to go to a military academy, they decide to jump inside. Then the envelope shrinks back to its normal size. This is where the adventure starts for Fern and Howard. Fern realizes she and Howard are in the city underneath New York City. Fern feels she is here for a purpose. While ease dropping on the evil Blue Queen, Fern hears that the she is going to take back her power. To do this she has to breathe in the souls from books leaving the books dead. The more she breathes in the more powerful she becomes. With help from new friends from the city, Fern and Howard are able to stop the Blue Queen from regaining her power and from taking more souls from books. In fact, Fern is able to get back all the souls that the Blue Queen had already taken. These souls find their way back to their books. This is such a wonderful story reminding readers that authors do leave a part of themselves in each book they write.
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-This final book in the trilogy barrels along at breakneck pace. Young Fern is a royal Anybody, possessed of transformative powers. Her fellow Anybodies inhabit a city under Manhattan, but Fern lives aboveground with her aging grandmother, the Great Realdo, and her ineffectual Anybody father in a house made entirely of books and also inhabited by hobbits and Borrowers. Although Fern's grandmother defeated the evil Blue Queen in an earlier book, she is losing her powers and it is now up to Fern to save the Anybodies and the world from the resurgent queen and her henchmen, the Somebodies. There is quite a bit of catch-up involved to get readers up to speed here, and a liberal amount of Victorian-like cozy asides from author to reader. Narrow escapes, evil villains, and captured souls from books will keep kids turning pages through an imaginative kaleidoscope of transformations definitely reminiscent of our friends at Hogwarts. Fern's best friend, Howard, is a robotlike wimp who serves as an effective foil to the brave and take-charge Fern, and the Blue Queen is truly terrifying as she gobbles souls from books with the ultimate goal of stealing human ones. Puzzles, anagrams, and references to other children's books will please young sleuths. Old-fashioned-looking black-and-white sketches contribute to the feel of a classic children's book. Lessons about being true to oneself are preachy but fit the genre. Lemony Snicket's fans will welcome this fantasy.-Quinby Frank, formerly at Green Hedges School, Vienna, VA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Never one to let a fancy go untickled, the pseudonymous author of The Anybodies (2004) and The Nobodies (2005) adds to the veritable spate of recent tales set in a subterranean New York. Here, after yet more fulminations against her-oh, sorry: "his"-creative writing teacher, Bode pits young heroine Fern against the megalomaniac Blue Queen. Said Queen has not only found a way to suck the souls from books and (really the same thing) people, but thanks to unusual skill as a de-motivational speaker, plots to conquer both the lower and upper cities with an "Embrace Your Inner Mediocrity" campaign. As ever, readers will have to stay alert to pick up the plethora of literary references, as Fern flies about in a glass elevator, steps out of a snowy, fur-lined wardrobe, turns her nerdy but game sidekick Howard into a pig (OK, a piggy bank, but the same idea) and more. All of this is on the way to demonstrating that nobility of spirit and right beliefs will ever win out over selfishness. The whiny personal comments will likely be wasted on children, but the series remains a delight for better-read audiences. (Fantasy. 10-12)

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
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Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

The Somebodies

By N. Bode

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2006

N. Bode

All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060791128

Chapter One

The City Beneath the City

The night before the annual anybodies Convention, Fern sat on the book-lined stairs of her grandmother's boardinghouse. She was eavesdropping on the heated argument in the kitchen. It was after dinner and stew smells hung in the air--all beefy and porky and, well, stewy. Fern couldn't make out every word of the argument. The boardinghouse was like a big ear stuffed with cotton--so crammed with books that sounds were muffled. (In fact, the staircase was like an upward tunnel through a mound of books that someone had dug their way out of.) Making the eavesdropping harder, the hobbits who lived in homes of grassy mounds out in the yard were singing what sounded like sea shanties, and the Indian, who usually lived in the cupboard, was playing a drum of some sort. Fern could only hear the argument when Dorathea and the Bone raised their voices.

"Fern needs to be among [muffle, muffle] Anybodies," the Bone said. "We must face the fact that she's royal now!" the Bone shouted.

This was true. Fern balled up her fist and shook it. "I'm royal now," she whispered urgently. "You tell her!"

Dorathea didn't like the fact that Fern was royal. It's too soon, her grandmother had told her. You aren't ready. But the Bone was proud and loved the idea of being royal-by-association. He'd grown up quite poor andlonesome, you see--the son of a fat lady in a circus. "What will it hurt her to miss a few days of long division?" the Bone said.

"Yes, yes!" Fern said. "What good is long division?"

Fern could hear dishes rattling in the sink. "She needs to know [clank, clank] . . . live in the real world," Dorathea was saying. "Royalty [muffle, muffle] . . . it won't do her any good at this point. It will just [loud chorus of sea shanty and drumming] . . . and spoil her."

But what if Fern wanted to be spoiled? She kind of did, and who could blame her, really? I want to be spoiled--velvet pillows, and miniature claw-footed bathtubs just for my feet, and chocolates in the shapes of squirrels or porcupines, life-sized, or whatever it is that the rich have nowadays. "Don't underestimate the importance of long division, and a real childhood," Dorathea said.

The argument was about whether or not Dorathea should take Fern to the Annual Anybodies Convention, which was always held at Willy Fattler's Underground Hotel, located near New York City.

Let me be more accurate: Willy Fattler's Underground Hotel isn't near New York City as much as it is under New York City, which is how it got the "Underground" part of its name.

Everyone knows that New York has a lot going on underground. Its subway cars with their shiny poles are filled with all kinds of people and their hats, shopping bags, umbrellas, schnauzers, and portable massage tables, all jiggering down dark tunnels into their unknowable futures. In fact, as this story starts, I was one of those New Yorkers--in disguise so that I could dodge my insanely jealous creative writing professor's murderous plots, of course! Imagine me holding on to the shiny subway pole, dressed as a confused bishop in a tall white pointed hat, or an elderly woman feeding Yum-Yums to her pet Chihuahua, its bony head poking out of her black pocketbook, or a sushi chef (which is very hard to say three times fast). I had no idea that, just below, there was a city beneath the city, an Anybody city, a shorter, more bulbously rotund version of New York City. This city beneath the city was warped, because it had to grow around steam pipes, aqueducts, and abandoned chutes of all sorts, the buildings twisting the way roots grow around water pipes. Its sky was dirt-packed and veined with the undersides of subway tunnels.

Fern had read all about the city beneath the city in The Art of Being Anybody--Chapter 16, "Anybody Locales," which featured a large, leathery foldout map. It wasn't just a crisscross of street names--6th and Apple, 32nd and Small Change--like a normal map. No, no. It included the names of the shops and buildings: Hoist's Deli, Melvin's Laundromat and Dry Cleaner's, Hyun's Dollar Fiesta. There were a few squat churches and synagogues, a portly mosque, a row of narrow courthouses, and a castle with a gate and a short pointy spire, which poked right into the dirty underside of Manhattan like a tack on a rumpy teacher's chair.

Fern was desperate to go to the city beneath the city, mainly because it was chock-full of Anybodies--a whole city of people like her, with her powers. She wanted to see exactly what such a place would be like, especially now that she spent most of her time clamped into a desk, surrounded by kids who didn't know that Anybodies existed, and taught by the brooding, whirling, yammering Mrs. Fluggery (who'd already accused Fern of having a head stuffed with doilies).

Doilies? Yes, doilies. Mrs. Fluggery was odd. She often didn't make any sense at all. She stuffed dirty tissues up her sleeves and had hair in the airy shape of the Washington Monument.

All day long Fern had to forget that she was an Anybody. She hated the rows of desks all shoved together, the kids all poking at one another and being mean, not to mention the gummy underside of everything. The kids were all smiley and do-right in front of the teacher, but then turned on you, ready to pinch or knuckle-punch--especially Lucess Brine (pronounced LOO-sess) or Lulu, as she liked to be called, even though it was a nickname that didn't fit her and no one ever called her that. Lucess was also a new student that year. She was a strange kid. Fern had never met anyone like her before. She was a bully, but apologetic about it . . . .


Excerpted from The Somebodies
by N. Bode
Copyright © 2006 by N. Bode.
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

The elusive and charming N. E. Bode writes from a secret locale beneath a giant, unmarked tree in the middle of Central Park. Some great works born from this hidden perch include The Anybodies, The Nobodies, and The Somebodies. N. E. Bode would also like to mention the books of Julianna Baggott, trusted friend, who writes novels and poetry for grown-ups and lives in the Florida panhandle.

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Somebodies 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this was a really good book. I read all of these books and They All Rock! I am a big fan of N.E Bode and i enjoy all of her writing ACCEPT THE SLIPPERY MAP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!The slippery map dissapointed me but I put the rest of her books on my xmas list! Read this!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sorry..there is a book before this one called The Anybodies. There is either one other one AFTER The Anybodies OR one after this one. :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love how you feel like he? she? it is reading you the book telling about his enemy that is the most boring writer ever is hunting him down and how it could be anybody writing the book. really the book is written by nebode awesome writer(*'-')
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My step mom is home i will talk to you at 9 .sotty i keep having to leave. I really like you i just dont want my stepmom to find out and tell my dad. Cuz then he will probally beat the mess out of me. Do you like me too?
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