Beth Goobie's Something Girl is the powerful story of 15-year-old Sophie, the "stupid, no good, nothing girl." The novel begins with Sophie's being "dumped" by her boyfriend of three months. This does nothing to improve her already poor self-image. Physically abused by her father, she lives in nearly constant fear. She believes that her beatings are her own fault. "My Dad only hits me when I'm bad." While she's having some trouble with school and she's been caught for petty theft, she really wants to be good. She wants to make her dad love her: she just can't figure out how. Sophie's mom, also a victim of her husband's abuse, has withdrawn emotionally, leaving Sophie to wonder why her dad hates her and her mom doesn't talk to her anymore. A concerned teacher and social worker just pose more problems for Sophie. She knows that if people ask too many questions, her father will have to answer their queries. Once he's done that with a good show of normalcy he'll be sure to deal with Sophie, and possibly her mother, in a brutal manner. Sophie may not consciously know it, but she is striving for a change in her circumstances. Some part of her seems to realize that her life has become completely untenable. She can't seem to hide the signs of her abuse. In fact, despite her certainty of reprisal, she seems almost to be drawing attention to the signs of her father's beatings: "Sophie," Ms. Lee said softly. "Why do you have your hand over your arm?" I looked at my arm. My hand was hanging onto the bottom of my sleeve, pulling it down over the bruise. Luckily, Sophie has a true and caring friend in 12-year-old Jujube. Jujube knows the truth behind all of Sophie's bruises. She also believes in aliens and the value of help from "outsiders." One of Jujube's neighbours, Rick, attends Sophie's high school. While Sophie is too insecure even to look Rick in the eye, Jujube has no such inhibitions. She gets Rick talking with Sophie about a number of things, including his friend's life in a group home, the most obvious but unknown, hence frightening escape for Sophie. With Jujube's help, Something Girl comes to a satisfyingly hopeful as well as realistic conclusion.
This report prepared by naghma