Synopses & Reviews
Sophie Hartley, age ten, does not want to be a teenager. She vows she'll never be like her older sister, Nora, who has tantrums about her hair and almost everything else. Her older brother Thad is preoccupied with his girlfriend of the moment and doesn't seem to like the family anymore. No, Sophie likes being who she is right now, helping out at home, doing art projects, and hanging out with her two best friends.
And another thing. Next year Sophie's class will see the movie about body changes, and her classmates are already buzzing about it. Sophie doesn't want to know about that embarrassing stuff yet. Does that mean she's immature? How can she prove otherwise?
As usual, Sophie faces challenges and challengers with determination and resourcefulness. With the same down-to-earth, realistic, humorous take on friendships and family relationships praised in the three previous Sophie Hartley books, this new story brings the indomitable Sophie a step closer to growing up without compromising her sense of herself.
"A serious story about child abuse gets lost in Hannigan's (Ida B) overlong novel that too often crosses the line from quirky to twee. After a childhood clashing with her parents, school, and police for offenses ranging from self-harm to brownie theft, 11-year-old Delaware Pattison is one strike from being sent to some unspecified 'away.' The fifth of six children (all named after places), Delly, as she's known, needs more attention from her working parents. Instead she latches onto new girl Ferris, who has an androgynous appearance, does not speak, and cannot be touched. Despite these hurdles, Delly makes Ferris her project. Delly has an extensive vocabulary of made-up words like chizzle and hideawaysis (a three-page glossary is appended), which gives her a cartoonish quality that is an uneasy fit with the gravity of the underlying plot. Many questions are left unanswered: where is Ferris's mother? why do teachers accept that Ferris cannot talk or be touched without further inquiry? After a lengthy setup, the ending feels rushed, dulling the impact of its important message about speaking up when someone is in danger. Ages 8 12. (May)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Spirited Sophie is back for a fourth tale in this highly readable series. . . Those readers ready to graduate from Judy Moody and Junie B. Jones will find a kindred spirit in Sophie."
"In Greene's fourth Sophie Hartley book, the author lightheartedly yet earnestly portrays the shifting dynamics of being on the cusp of middle school. . . . A reliably cute and comfortable read for the younger range of the targeted audience."
"In this wryly amusing, perceptive story, Greene captures the viewpoint of a preteen who, after observing her older siblings in action, is in no hurry to become a teenager. . . . A solid addition to the consistently entertaining Sophie Hartley series."
"In this latest addition to this thoughtful and charming series, Greene paints a convincing picture of the last breath of childhood with sensitivity and humor. . . . Like the early volumes of Phyllis Reynolds Naylor's Alice series, this sweet and sincere story will resonate with preteens who accept their future but certainly don't wish to hasten it."
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
True: Delly Pattison likes surpresents (presents that are a surprise). The day the Boyds come to town, Delly's sure a special surpresent is on its way. But lately, everything that she thinks will be good and fun turns into trouble. She's never needed a surpresent more than now.
True: Brud Kinney wants to play basketball like nothing anybody's ever seen. When the Boyds arrive, though, Brud meets someone who plays like nothing he's ever seen.
True: Ferris Boyd isn't like anyone Delly or Brud have ever met. Ferris is a real mysturiosity (an extremely curious mystery).
True: Katherine Hannigan's first novel since her acclaimed Ida B is a compelling look at the ways friendships and truths are discovered.
It's all true ( . . . sort of).
In the fourth middle-grade novel about the irrepressible Sophie Hartley, Sophie, 10, doesn't want to turn into a moody teenager like her older brother and sister, and she certainly doesn't want to see The Movie (about gross adolescent body changes) at school. On the other hand, she doesn't want to be considered immature by her classmates. A lively, funny story with a great title, touching on a perennially fascinating subject.
About the Author
Katherine Hannigan studied mathematics, painting, and studio art and has worked as the education coordinator for a Head Start program and, most recently, as an assistant professor of art and design. She is the author of True (. . . Sort Of), Emmaline and the Bunny, and the national bestseller Ida B . . . and Her Plans to Maximize Fun, Avoid Disaster, and (Possibly) Save the World. She lives in Iowa with a bunch of cats and the occasional bunny or bird visitor. Her backyard hosts an additional array of creatures, including deer, raccoons, possums, and sometimes a skunk. But no alligators . . . yet!