Book Review - Nobody

Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Publisher: Egmont USA (January 22, 2013)
Form: Hardcover, E-Book
Source: ARC for review
Audience: Young Adult
Fiction * Action/Adventure * Science Fiction

Description from Egmont USA:
There are people in this world who are Nobody. No one sees them. No one notices them. They live their lives under the radar, forgotten as soon as you turn away.

That’s why they make the perfect assassins.

The Institute finds these people when they’re young and takes them away for training. But an untrained Nobody is a threat to their organization. And threats must be eliminated.

Sixteen-year-old Claire has been invisible her whole life, missed by the Institute’s monitoring. But now they’ve ID’ed her and send seventeen-year-old Nix to remove her. Nix is a killer. Claire is his target. But from the moment he sets eyes on her, everything changes, because only the two of them can truly see each other – and two Nobodies are more than twice as dangerous as one.

My thoughts on the book:
When I was asked to provide a review of this book, I agreed based on the premise.  The concept that there were these "Nobodies" who could be used as assassins just seemed intriguing.  Once I actually picked up the ARC of the book and started, I wondered if it was all going to make sense.

Barnes has created a world where there are four different kinds of people - Normals, Sensors, Nobodies, and Nulls.  There was initially a lot of explanation of who all these individuals were based on an energy theory.  I have to admit I found myself having to read and re-read some sections trying to understand the "science" behind it. However, once I simplified it and realized that Normals were every day individuals, Nobodies were individuals who basically were not seen by Normals, Nulls were able to be seen and influence others (very much the exact opposite of Nobodies) and Sensors were able to recognize Nobodies and Nulls, then I was able to move on and the book moved quickly despite being nearly 400 pages.

Nix is a 17 year old Nobody who has been raised and trained by the Institute.  Claire is 16 and has been raised in the world of Normals and is unaware of what she is.  When Nix is sent after Claire to terminate her, he believes her to be a Null.  For Claire, Nix is the first person who can really see her. Initially it was a bit difficult to connect with Nix and Claire which I felt was normal considering that for both teens, their lives lacked connections to others.  As the book proceeds and the relationship between Nix and Claire develops, the readers connection to the two main characters grows as well.

As I mentioned earlier, despite the length, the book actually reads quickly.  I found myself drawn into the story and wanting to know more about the Institute and Sensors and the conspiracy that surrounds/involves Nix and Claire.  I recognize that there are a lot of mixed reviews out there regarding Nobody and I wondered what I would think.  However, after the first couple of chapters, I found myself completely drawn into the story and not wanting to put it down.  I would encourage readers who are intrigued by the concept of the book to pick it up and give it a try.
Check out this video of Jennifer Lynn Barnes talking about her writing process:

More about the author:
Jennifer Lynn Barnes is the author of the popular Raised by Wolves series. A former competitive cheerleader, teen model, and comic book geek, she wrote her first book at the age of nineteen. She just completed her PhD in developmental psychology at Yale University and has returned to her native Oklahoma to teach at the University of Oklahoma.

You can visit her online at or follow her on Twit­ter @jenlynnbarnes or on Tumblr.

*I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.

Thank you to Egmont for sponsoring a giveaway of Nobody and Every Other Day.  Please enter below:

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The Galahad Legacy Blog Tour, Interview, & Giveaway

Blog Tours are a fun way for readers to learn more about a new or favorite author or about an upcoming new book or a continuation on a book series.  I am excited to be a part of Dom Testa's The Galahad Legacy Blog Tour.  Dom has taken a moment to answer a few questions, there is an excerpt from Chapter 2, and a giveaway.  So what are you waiting for...get reading.

One thing that always fascinates me is to learn how an author plans out a book series and develops the world in which his/her story takes place. The Galahad Series is comprised of six books. Did you have an idea of what kind of adventure your characters would take from the beginning or did each book unfold individually?

Alyson, this same question intrigues me when it comes to series that other authors have created. It might sound crazy, but when I began the Galahad series I had (a) no idea how many books it would eventually include, and (b) no idea of the plot for each individual volume. The first book, The Comet's Curse, ended how it needed to end, which then led me to sit down and pick up the tale in volume two, The Web of Titan. But at the end of each book I honestly didn't know what would happen in the following book. And the truth is, I really enjoyed writing them that way. In this last book, The Galahad Legacy, there were huge questions that I didn't even know the answers to when I was halfway through the manuscript. One of the biggies, in fact - What's in the Storage Sections? - didn't occur to me until I was about a month away from finishing the book. That made it as much fun for me to find out as the readers!

Characters seem to take on a life of their own after they have been created. Did any of your characters change in unexpected ways from what you originally thought? 

That's a definite Yes. Two of the main characters reached a point where they questioned their participation in the mission, and of all the characters, they would've been the LAST two I would've thought would feel that way. But the circumstances leading up to these feelings made their reactions understandable. As an author, you kinda mumble, "yeah, I suppose she WOULD feel that way." And there was a personal relationship that began to unfold in the last book and a half, really, that I didn't see coming. I never suspected those two would get together, but they obviously were connecting while I wasn't looking.

When I think about writing a Science Fiction story, I freak out a little. The idea of researching and getting the balance between techno-babble and story to balance out seems like a challenge. What was the process like for you?

I understand what your saying about freaking out a bit, but it's probably different for me because I've always been such a science nerd. I guess it's like this: If I was just sitting around at lunch trying to share this really cool space/science info with you, your eyes might roll back in your head or you'd yawn yourself to death. But if I'm able to slip it into an action/adventure story, then it becomes part of the fabric, in a sense. Suddenly it's much more accessible to think about what it's like jumping through a wormhole when you're worried about Triana (the lead character) doing it. Will she survive? Will she make it back? What happens to you when you pass a boundary like that? In a sense, a science fiction writer is essentially camouflaging the "science" in the stories, so that it just seems natural to want to absorb it. I went a step further, even, by creating a series of features called The Science Behind Galahad. They're short (2 or 3 pages), fun looks at some of the real science nestled within the pages of the Galahad series. I have one on Comets, one on Artificial Intelligence, one on Earth-like planets, and more to come. Teachers and readers really seem to like them.

Can you share with readers any plans for future books or what they might be able to expect from you now that the Galahad Series is ending?

I'd like to someday revisit the characters from the Galahad series and see what they're up to. I don't know what that project will look like, but I've already had a lot of inquiries about that. So it's always an option. I'm also in the midst of creating a new series for Middle Grade/Young Adult. It's a mystery series, and I'm loving it. The first book is finished, and I'll likely finish numbers two and three before I sell it. Stay tuned.

Loving books as a reader is one thing. Wanting to write a book is another thing. Was there a book that inspired you as a reader and as a writer? 

I credit the Hardy Boys and The Three Investigators as the books that really got me hooked on reading, followed by some of the sci fi masters like Arthur C. Clarke and Isaac Asimov. I was in seventh grade when I read Michael Crichton's The Andromeda Strain, and that completely captivated me. It was real science mixed with action/adventure, which is how I see the Galahad books, too. But the one book that convinced me to be a writer (also in seventh grade) was Rendezvous With Rama, by Arthur C. Clarke. The last line of that book blew me away. (By the way, don't cheat and just read the last have to read the whole thing first, or you'll ruin it!)

If you could write a sequel to any book (not written by you), what would it be and why? 

Cool question. My gut instinct is to say "none," because I'd hate to think I took a great book and didn't fulfill the author's vision, blah blah blah. But, to play along, I'll say H.G. Wells' The Time Machine. I'd be fascinated to see what happened between the Eloi and the Morlocks.

As a child, I always wanted to insert myself into the story as I read a book either as the main character or another character in the story. Did you ever imagine yourself as a character in a book? If so, what book/character? 

I thought it would be cool to be Milo from The Phantom Tollbooth.

What advice would you give to parents or teachers who are trying to encourage boys to read or read more? 

My belief is that it's not so much a matter of encouraging boys to read, as it is finding the kinds of books or blogs or magazines that excite them. I'm also a believer that our culture portrays reading as a "chick thing," which is why so many boys think it's uncool for them - or unmanly. The more men that read - and make it known that they read - the more younger boys will accept it and find their own joy in it.

What does a typical writing day look like for you? Where do you write? Do you have any routines that you like to follow? 

I have no firm writing time; it's truly a "write when you can" approach for me, primarily because of my hectic schedule. I host the top-rated morning radio show in Denver (The Dom and Jane Show on Mix 100), and I also run a non-profit foundation called The Big Brain Club. We help students recognize that Smart Is Cool. With all of these things on my plate, I have to carve out time to write, but, as a writer, it's what you have to do. I've also found that I get the most writing accomplished when I leave my house. I'm too easily distracted, so I pack up my laptop and my notebooks and I get away by myself. If you see a guy in a restaurant, alone, with his laptop open and a glass of wine beside him, that's probably me.

What is currently in your To-read pile?

I'm on the third and final book in Kim Stanley Robinson's "Mars" trilogy. Next up will be Child 44, by Tom Rob Smith. I'd also like to read Captain Nemo, by Kevin J. Anderson. And then I'll probably find an Elmore Leonard book I haven't read yet, just to bask in the dialogue.

Alyson, thanks for the opportunity to participate in this interview with Kid Lit Frenzy, and thanks for all you do for readers and writers. ~ Dom

Thank you Dom for stopping by and for all the answers to the questions.

Check out this video of Dom talking about  Creating the Curse:

Excerpt from the 2nd chapter:
“Oh, I’m bursting with thoughts,” the computer said. “But before we go on, is there any chance of getting some popcorn? How are you guys just sitting there, listening to this, without popcorn?” “Well, let’s start with your thoughts on the wormhole,” Gap said. “To begin with,” Roc said, “you have to stop thinking of a wormhole as a tunnel. It’s not. It’s a theoretical doorway between points in the universe, with no real depth to it. Does that make sense?” Channy, who had been listening to everything with her fingers tented in front of her mouth, dropped her hands into her lap. “Or a window. When Triana shot through, it was like crashing through a window, from one side to the other.”

Please visit Star Shadow for the next excerpt from the second chapter of The Galahad Legacy.

For a list of all the blog stops, click here

About the author
DOM TESTA has been a radio show host since 1977. He is currently a co-host of the popular "Dom and Jane Show" on Mix 100 in Denver. A strong advocate of literacy programs for children, Dom began The Big Brain Club to help young people recognize that Smart Is Cool. More information on Dom Testa, his books and educational work can be found here at

Follow him on Twitter:   @heydomtesta     Facebook: Dom Testa

Dom's Upcoming Public Appearances:
* Saturday, April 14th: Murder by the Book, Houston, TX; 11:00 am

*Wednesday, April 18th and Thursday, April 19th: Texas Library Association Annual Conference, Houston, TX; various times

*Friday, April 20th: Barnes & Noble, 1000 Research Drive, Austin, TX; 7:00 pm

*Saturday, April 21st: Barnes & Noble, 15900 La Cantera Parkway, San Antonio, TX; 2:00 pm

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Enter to win a copy of The Galahad Legacy - Contest Rules:

1. Though comments are very much appreciated, please do not enter any personal information in the comments section (including your email, website, etc.).  If you do enter personal information, you comment will not be posted.

2.  You must complete the Entry Form to officially enter the contest.

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