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Reviewed by Jose Cornelio for Readers' Favorite
As If Something Happened by Julie Murphy opens with a curious note that introduces the central theme of the narrative. It starts with a memory of the protagonist, Laura Murphy, as a child asking her mom to buy her a Cinderella dress at Walmart and being told that she isn’t tall and that she has no waist. She never thought that inheriting her father’s genes might be the worst thing to have happened to her. Now at fourteen, she is the joke of the school, being called “Butt Monkey” and the “stupid side-kick,” among other derogatory names. Yes, because she has short legs, square shoulders, and a booming voice. No wonder she has to play the part of a cowboy in the school play. When she gets the only opportunity to experience the world from someone else’s perspective, she jumps at it and accepts to take part in the “Stepping Away from I’ness” program where selected freshmen from schools around the world are injected with someone else’s genes. Now, things aren’t what she expected, and she discovers that, like others, she is a misfit, being hunted in a video game. Can she and others like her outwit the enemies in the game?
This is a humorously told and entertaining story that will appeal to YA fans and readers who enjoy young urban fantasy. The story is told in an absorbing first-person narrative and the exciting voice of the protagonist is hard to resist. The plot took me on a path I never anticipated and it was delightful following the young Laura as she morphs into a leader and a character that can take control. It is suspenseful; I wanted to know what will happen to her and if she can become the person she once was. As If Something Happened is told by a master storyteller and features a young female protagonist who is richly developed and whose sense of humor is exceptionally depicted in the story.