What Things Mean by Sophia Lee

what things meanWhat Things Mean by Sophia Lee
Publication Date: May 2016 by Scholastic
Source: Finished copy from the Author



What does it mean to be different? 14-year-old Olive is struggling to find out. Everything about her is so different from the rest of her family. She is big-haired, brown skinned, and clumsy in a family of cream-colored beauties who are all popular and Good At Sports. She closely resembles a father she has never known, and about whom her mother never speaks, and no one wants to tell her why. She turns to books and other things in her quest to find answers, and as a way to cope with her loneliness. When she learns the truth about her father, she must decide whether or not she will let the differences in her life define her forever.

A unique coming-of-age story unfolding through dictionary-style chapters, What Things Mean takes a closer look at the things that define a life, and the many ways in which we find meaning.

*Grand Prize Winner, Scholastic Asian Book Award 2014

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange of a review. No compensation in any form was received for the review of this book.

For someone who loves reading books, I barely read books from local authors, because most of the gems go under the radar. When I received an email from the author offering me a book for review, I immediately grabbed the opportunity!

The book was told in a unique manner, each chapter starting with a dictionary entry. It’s like a collection of different mini-stories stringed together, which was really cool. It was easy to read, and a short one so I read it in one sitting.

“I know now that things are always more than what they mean. Things mean different things to people. People are the ones who give meaning to things.”

I love Olive’s voice because it’s very realistic and relatable. Well, one factor is that the book is set in the Philippines. I love the fact that even the smallest things in Philippine culture was incorporated in the book.

Also considering that this book was written by a Filipino, one of the main themes in the book is family, since us lot are very much family-oriented. And yes, I did enjoy the book because of the realistic portrayals of the characters and themes of the story.

The dictionary entries were also quite enjoyable to read, and I’ve discovered new meanings to the words! Overall, this book was just the right one to get me out of my reading slump. It’s very relatable and heartfelt, also enjoyable. One of the best coming of age books I’ve ever read!



Written by

A 22 year old bibliophile from the outskirts of Manila, who loves reading books for passion.

2 comments / Add your comment below

    1. Sort of but not really? Haha! In The Lover’s Dictionary, the story is somehow incorporated in the word’s meaning, but here actual dictionary entries were used as a sort of prompt for the story.

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