Monday, May 18, 2020

Review Tour: Sophie Washington: My BFF by Tonya Duncan Ellis

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Sophie and Chloe have been best friends since they met in kindergarten. They get along like chips and salsa and do everything together from playing tennis to cheering on the school cheer squad. Lately, Chloe’s been leaving Sophie out, and she doesn’t know why. Sophie does everything she can to make her best friend happy, but it’s not working. Then Chloe asks Sophie to fib to a teacher to help her out and she learns the true meaning of friendship.

My review:

It's hard being a tween, especially in today's world with social media recording everything you do.

Sophie's a good kid.  She's smart and capable, perhaps not as brave as she'd like to be, but she comes from a solid family and has her head on as straight as a girl her age can.  Until her bestie, Chloe, starts messing with her.

You expect your bestie to have your back no matter what. But out of the blue, Chloe starts acting mean, embarrassing Sophie and leaving her out.  Poor Sophie has no idea what she's done for Chloe to start behaving this way. They're besties!!

This is my first foray into the world of Sophie Washington, so I'm not familiar with her or her group of friends.  They're pretty realistic and unique and remind me a bit of my own daughter's group of friends when she was younger.  It was nice to see that they mostly got along well, except for Chloe's sudden reversal, thought I have to admit I was surprised to see a group of girls getting alone with little drama.  In my experience, that just doesn't happen.  When I read this line from the book, uttered by one of the boys, “I’ll never understand girls. There’s no way I’d treat one of my boys like that.
I nodded. Girls can be incredibly cruel.

The writing here was clean and smooth and absolutely appropriate for the age group it's intended. Less descriptive than an adult book, but plenty clear enough to set the stage and keep us knowing exactly what was going on.  The author is clearly talented and knows her genre well.  I only wish these books had been around when my daughter was younger.  Good lessons here!  I do have to admit I thought Sophie forgave Chloe far too quickly and I'm not sure that would happen IRL without at least a few hard feelings, but good for Sophie. Truly.

All in all a solid entry in the middle grade reader genre, and if all the books are like this one, I'd recommend moms everywhere get copies for their kids.  Sophie seems to be facing real challenges that affect kids today, and has good support (friends and family) to help guide her through.

4 solid stars!

Enjoy an excerpt:

The only reason I’m not at the carnival games is because I want to spend time with my BFF, Chloe. We’ve been friends since we shared a swing in kindergarten, and we do everything together, like cheer for our school and play on the tennis team. She’s taller and noisier than I am, but somehow, we belong together, like chips and salsa.

Chloe isn’t in any of my classes this year. During free periods she gets special tutoring for her dyslexia. Don’t ask me what dyslexia means exactly, but she’s not so great at spelling and takes twice as long as the rest of us to do her school work.

Chloe’s been talking about riding the Killer Whale since we were too short to be allowed on roller coasters. I’d do anything for my best friend, and I didn’t want to look like a chicken, so I faced my fear.

Looking back, I still can’t believe I got in line when Chloe begged. The Killer Whale is a perfect name for that ride. Carts race up and down the grayish blue rails like they’re on a speed track, and then drop down huge hills.

“That’s what I’m talking about!” Toby, the cutest boy in the sixth grade, stood in front of us in line with his mouth open. “Forget about the baby rides; I want to ride this one the whole time we’re here.”

“This is so cool!” Nathan, Toby’s buddy for the field trip, gave him a high five. “and since there are two tracks, we shouldn’t have to wait long to get on.”

The crowded line came to a standstill and we continued to talk.

“Hey, Sophie, did you start that poetry assignment for English class?” Toby edged around Chloe. “Can you help me with it at school tomorrow? I need to get an A or B to raise my grade.”

“You read the poem yet?” said Nathan, pausing the video game he was playing on his phone and also looking my way. “I can’t figure it out.”

“Why didn’t you ask me what I think about the poem?” asked Chloe with a frown.

“Well, ah, I didn’t think you were doing the same work,” said Toby.

Her lips curled, and I braced myself.

Chloe is super sweet most of the time, but act like she’s not as smart as someone else, and she changes from cuddly kitten to ferocious tiger.

“As a matter of fact, I am doing the same work,” she said, wrapping her arms around her chest. “Just because I go to a tutor sometimes doesn’t mean I don’t know what’s going on. I still have the same English assignments as you guys.”

“I don’t think he meant that, Chloe,” I said.

“Yeah, yeah, everybody knows you’re the spelling champion, while I’m the sixth-grade dummy,” said Chloe.

“Now wait a minute…” I said.


About the author: 

Tonya Duncan Ellis is the author of the Amazon bestselling, Readers' Favorite "Five Star" rated, Sophie Washington children's books series, geared toward readers ages 8 to 12, and is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). She has received awards for literary excellence, worked as a journalist and freelance magazine writer, and is a graduate of Centre College of Kentucky and Washington University in St. Louis.

The Sophie Washington book series recounts the adventures of a precocious African American preteen from Houston, TX and her diverse group of friends. Each funny and heartwarming story teaches lessons about friendship, responsibility, truthfulness and perseverance. Books in the series include Queen of the Bee, The Snitch, Things You Didn't Know About Sophie, The Gamer, Hurricane, Mission: Costa Rica, Secret Santa, Code One and Mismatch.

Tonya loves to travel and has visited 49 American states and three continents, but some of her best journeys have been between the pages of a novel. As a girl she could always be found with a book in her hand, and reading is still one of her favorite hobbies. When she's not reading or writing, the author likes to ride her bike, swim, and spend time with her husband and three children. She lives in Missouri City, TX.


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  1. Everyone needs friends like this..sounds like a perfect friendship.

    1. Their friendship is great, but it has a few ups and downs in this book. Thanks so much for stopping by my review tour Mya. Best wishes in the giveaway!

  2. Thanks so much for the great review and for featuring me in your blog! I sure appreciate it. :)

  3. I've enjoyed following the tour for My BFF and I'm looking forward to recommending it to my friends with kids, thanks for sharing all of the great posts along the way.

  4. Thank you so much for taking time to bring to our attention another great read.   I appreciate it and thank you also for the giveaway.