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Show Us Who You Are

Show Us Who You Are

Published: 4 Mar 2021

Paperback / softback, 328 pages

Recommended for age 9+ and 11+

By Elle McNicoll

Published by Knights Of Media

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The second book from the author of A Kind Of Spark, with Neurodivergent characters you'll root for and a moving friendship at its heart. When Cora's brother drags her along to his boss's house, she doesn't expect to strike up a friendship with Adrien, son of the intimidating CEO of Pomegranate Technologies. As she becomes part of Adrien's life, she is also drawn into the mysterious projects at Pomegranate.

At first, she's intrigued by them - Pomegranate is using AI to recreate real people in hologram form. As she digs deeper, however, she uncovers darker secrets... Cora knows she must unravel their plans, but can she fight to make her voice heard, whilst never losing sight of herself?

Tagged ADHD , ASD , autism and neurodiversity

Elle McNicoll is a Scottish neurodivergent writer. In this podcast she talks about her second novel Show Us Who You Are. Listen here

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Reviewed by Sam Keeley

Show Us Who You Are is the second novel by Elle McNicoll. As a huge fan of A Kind of Spark, I was incredibly excited about reading this. It tells the story of 12-year-old Cora who strikes up a friendship with the son of her brother’s boss, CEO of the mysterious Pomegranate Institute. Cora is autistic and Aidan has ADHD and their difference draws them together. Cora is fascinated by the work of Pomegranate who use AI to create life-like holograms of people designed to bring comfort to grieving (and paying) relatives. A life-changing event brings Cora to the heart of the aims of the institute and she must work out what to do. 

This is an exhilarating and breathtaking read which defies categorisation. The novel is fast-paced with extraordinary characters making the perfect balance of page-turning and reflection. I love Elle’s style of writing. She has such a fresh and unique voice and it felt as if she was speaking directly to me. The characters are keenly observed and so relatable. I find it so powerful that she has created characters who give an authentic insight into their lives. This is a brilliantly entertaining read but one which made me stop and think about my own perceptions and ideas. I came away from the book with a sense of transformation as a reader. I learned so much being shown and not told – the greatest gift a writer can have. 

It is an essential addition to an Upper Key Stage 2 or Lower Key Stage 3 library for independent reading but I would urge Year 6 teachers to consider reading it aloud to their classes. There are so many questions that would be fascinating to discuss, such as:

  • Are there situations where AI can be used for good? 
  • Would you want to be digitally immortalised? 

However you choose to share this book, I would urge you to share it far and wide. Show Us Who You Are is a book that firmly cements Elle McNicoll’s place as a highly talented and exciting writer. I can’t wait to read what she writes next!

Sam is Director of Learning Programmes at Just Imagine.