Hi there, lovelies!
Today I’m bringing you yet another review for an April release that I read in time but neglected to review because apparently That’s My Brand™️.
I’ll be sharing some of my thoughts on Somebody Told Me by Mia Siegert, which was a very powerful read that came out this past April 7th. ✨
A novel of trauma, identity, and survival.
After an assault, bigender seventeen-year-old Aleks/Alexis is looking for a fresh start―so they voluntarily move in with their uncle, a Catholic priest. In their new bedroom, Aleks/Alexis discovers they can overhear parishioners in the church confessional. Moved by the struggles of these “sinners,” Aleks/Alexis decides to anonymously help them, finding solace in their secret identity: a guardian angel instead of a victim.
But then Aleks/Alexis overhears a confession of another priest admitting to sexually abusing a parishioner. As they try to uncover the priest’s identity before he hurts anyone again, Aleks/Alexis is also forced to confront their own abuser and come to terms with their past trauma.
Reading about a bigender character is probably one of the most fulfilling experiences I’ve ever had. In Somebody Told Me, Mia Siegert seamlessly creates an atmosphere of mystery to explore Aleks/Alexis’ identity and how they’re dealing with their trauma after an assault. The story is quietly heartbreaking; even though they are sure about their gender, we see our main character go through a lot of internalized homophobia and transphobia in this brand new religious environment. They are thrust back into the closet, with no coping mechanisms or support system.
I adored seeing how Siegert tackled the theme of religion and faith, and how one doesn’t correlate with the other, and for that alone, I consider this a necessary read, as it doesn’t shy away from peeling back the layers of awfulness that exist in the Christian community. I also highly appreciated how it reflected that not all religious folks share the same conservative, close-minded views and faith is constantly evolving. As someone who firmly believes in God but doesn’t care for Catholicism, I felt quite seen.
The narration is unreliable and this isn’t a read for everyone. Aleks/Alexis is very much an unlikeable character and they go through a ton of development throughout the novel, but they have a lot of questionable and uncomfortable views and make wrong decisions that get challenged and really demonstrate how there’s always space for people to grow, especially queer folks in regards to issues like racism and sexism.
Another thing I really appreciated seeing was the discussion about the toxicity that often exists in fandom and anime culture, and how quickly these communities can turn to fetishization and objectification of queer people, especially masc-presenting folks, and the transphobia and homophobia that also exists in these spaces.
If you’re looking for a queer contemporary with thriller vibes, I highly recommend Siegert’s Somebody Told Me. It is one of the most unique YA books I’ve read recently and brings something new and raw to the speculative fiction genre.
Rating: 3.5 stars ⭐
Thank you to Lerner Publishing Group for providing me an ARC of this book in exchange of an honest review!