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Somebody, Please Tell Me Who I Am Hardcover – February 7, 2012

4.5 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

* "The tight focus on one soldier does not oversimplify but rather captures the human drama in the personal...The book's power is in the honesty and hope conveyed. As illuminating as a hand grenade, and just as powerful."--Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"Provides a moving portrait of a young soldier’s sacrifice and struggle. With realistic dialogue, relatable characters, and subject matter relevant to teens, this book is a worthwhile addition to library collections."--VOYA


"Mazer and Lerangis use strong characters and storytelling to explore the slow and painful recovery of an injured teenage soldier...the journey is powerful and worthwhile."--Publishers Weekly

"An easy read about a difficult and important subject, with realistic characters whose depth is implied more than explained. Although the reader may despair at the tragic turn of a young man so full of promise, the ending offers a glimpse of light at the end of what will be a long, dark tunnel."--Booklist

"This is one of the best books I have read recently...the story of struggle, recovery, and relationships; of love, perseverance, and overcoming astronomical odds."--Library Media Connection

"Somebody, Please Tell Me Who I Am tells a bold war story without being overtly political or taking sides; as such it’s a great choice for discussion groups. It’s also an exciting, intelligent, fast-paced read that should appeal to both avid and reluctant readers, providing gripping action and food for thought."--BookPage

"Its accessibility and directness may help readers understand how many things aren’t over just because a war ends."--Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"Has the power of prose distilled into its purest essence. An easy-to-read war novel that respects its readers and challenges them to understand the true consequences of war."--The Horn Book

About the Author

Harry Mazer is the author of many books for young readers, including My Brother Abe, A Boy at War, A Boy No More, Heroes Don't Run, The Wild Kid; and Snow Bound. His books have won numerous honors, including the Horn Book Honor List and the ALA Best Books for Young Adults citations. He is the recipient of the ALAN Award. Harry Mazer lives in Montpelier, Vermont.

Peter Lerangis is the author of over 150 books for early readers through teens, including The Sword Thief and The Viper's Nest in the New York Times bestselling series, The 39 Clues. His historical novel, Smiler's Bones, was a New York Public Library Best Book for Teens.  Peter lives in New York City with his family.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 640L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers; First Edition edition (February 7, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416938958
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416938958
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.3 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,363,762 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Before having read this I had thought that only Pete Hautman could write with the kind of punch and pizzazz in the limited number of pages that Peter Lerangis and Harry Mazer demonstrate in Somebody Please Tell Me Who I Am.

Too be honest that's what I found so gripping about Somebody Please Tell Me Who I Am, the sensational writing ability exhibited in each page. Every major character, from Ben to Chris feels real and tangible, as if the very next moment one of these characters is going to walk in your front door and say hello. Mazer and Lerangis do a terrific job giving Chris and his disabilities the respect and attention needed to really bring out the innocence of his character, furthering the other characters in ways that most other books are unable to do.

That said, even more striking is Mazer and Lerangis's ability to craft the progression and thought processes of Ben before, during, and after the event. Readers truly get to experience the struggle and frustration that Ben feels from his injuries.

The only thing I didn't like about the book was that I couldn't know more. I wanted to know more about Ben's parents, more about Nico, more about Ben and his progression, will he fully remember, live a normal life, go to college? All of these things and more.

And yet, it's better this way. Mazer and Lerangis meant for this to be merely a snapshot into the world of one injured soldier and his life. It is not meant to go on forever, it does not end with Ben becoming President of the United States or some other implausible ending. Instead, it marks a period of time in which Ben struggles for recognition, It shows the ripples that effect his family and friends, and most important it shows that just because you reach the last page, the story does not end.
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Format: Hardcover
BEFORE

Ben Bright had it all. He was finishing up his senior year of high school with the lead in the school musical, a beautiful girlfriend by his side, and endless possibilities for the future. So it came as a total shock to everyone when Ben declared that he was enlisting and going to boot camp. Ben assured his family, friends and even himself that going to boot camp didn't mean going to war. He explained to both his parents, his younger brother Chris, and his best friend Niko that he was doing the right thing by serving his country. He proposed to his girlfriend, Ariela, as a declaration of his love and the promise to return. Boot camp came and went without much incident, but then the letter came --- Ben was going to war.

DURING

There isn't much time to think when you're out patrolling the streets in Iraq. Sometimes all you can do is act. It wasn't a huge secret that the locals hated it when soldiers came marching through the villages acting like they cared. Even though Ben and his unit kept their eyes peeled for anything suspicious, it's not easy to always anticipate five steps ahead. So it only took a second for a bomb hidden in a stuffed toy to blow a Humvee sky high and change Ben's life forever.

AFTER

There's no way to plan for tragedy. The people in Ben's life couldn't prepare for the change in him as a result of his traumatic brain injury. Ben would have to relearn how to speak, walk, and basically function as a human being again. Worst of all, he can't remember who he is or who the people are who say they are his family and friends. The road to recovery is a slow one, as he is forced to spend nearly a year in the hospital trying to rehabilitate and get some grasp on what it means to live.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Mazer’s award-winning book is not about the ugly side of war. It is about the ugly side of surviving a war. It is about suffering catastrophic injuries, injuries that should have been fatal, but talented medics cut you open, sew you back together, and you’re alive. Breathing, heart beating. But you are not you. You may never be you again. As one character says, “Ben is not dead, and he’s not alive.”

This book shows how war destroys the individuals and the family. How the aftermath of life-altering injuries impact not just the injured but everyone who loves him or her. In the end, Mazer leaves us with hope for Ben and for all those who love him, though I couldn’t help but think about the soldiers who are altered forever, alive but lost.

This is definitely a read-in-one-sitting book, and Mazer has a great way with words. He knows just when to walk away from a scene. He uses so few words to convey loads of storyline. And the way he portrays the insecurity and frustration of an injured soldier is fantastic. I especially love the scene that lends the book its title. It’s devastating and heartbreaking and stays with you after you have finished reading.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Before having read this I had thought that only Pete Hautman could write with the kind of punch and pizzazz in the limited number of pages that Peter Lerangis and Harry Mazer demonstrate in Somebody Please Tell Me Who I Am.

Too be honest that's what I found so gripping about Somebody Please Tell Me Who I Am, the sensational writing ability exhibited in each page. Every major character, from Ben to Chris feels real and tangible, as if the very next moment one of these characters is going to walk in your front door and say hello. Mazer and Lerangis do a terrific job giving Chris and his disabilities the respect and attention needed to really bring out the innocence of his character, furthering the other characters in ways that most other books are unable to do.

That said, even more striking is Mazer and Lerangis's ability to craft the progression and thought processes of Ben before, during, and after the event. Readers truly get to experience the struggle and frustration that Ben feels from his injuries.

The only thing I didn't like about the book was that I couldn't know more. I wanted to know more about Ben's parents, more about Nico, more about Ben and his progression, will he fully remember, live a normal life, go to college? All of these things and more.

And yet, it's better this way. Mazer and Lerangis meant for this to be merely a snapshot into the world of one injured soldier and his life. It is not meant to go on forever, it does not end with Ben becoming President of the United States or some other implausible ending. Instead, it marks a period of time in which Ben struggles for recognition, It shows the ripples that effect his family and friends, and most important it shows that just because you reach the last page, the story does not end.
Read more ›
Comment One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

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