GENRE: Children’s (Middle Grade)
About the Book
Forty days without video games? Oh no!
Sixth-grader Sophie Washington and her friends are back with an interesting book about having fun with video games while keeping balance. It’s almost Easter, and Sophie and her family get ready to start fasts for Lent with their church, where they give up doing something for 40 days that may not be good for them. Her parents urge Sophie to stop tattling so much, and encourage her second-grade brother Cole to give up something he loves most, playing video games. The kids agree to the challenge, but how long can they keep it up? Soon after Lent begins, Cole starts sneaking to play his video games. Things start to get out of control when he loses a school electronic tablet he checked out without his parents’ permission, and comes to his sister for help. Should Sophie break her promise and tattle on him?
Read an Excerpt
Now that I am getting older and am in the sixth grade, I can understand more of what our pastor is saying in the sermons. Today, he was talking about how hard it can be to stay away from things we like that may be bad for us.
“Temptation is a daily struggle for all,” he preached.
“The struggle for me is staying awake for two hours,” complains Cole. “I wish I could have been with my friends in children’s church.”
Cole prefers going to the special service for kids, and was mad that Mom and Dad made us join them in the main church this morning.
“It’s getting closer to Easter, and I want you to get a better understanding of what the holiday is all about,” Dad explains. “In children’s church, all you pay attention to is the snacks.”
“Those donuts they bring in are good!” Cole exclaims.
“Maybe we can stop by the donut shop on the way home.” Mom squeezes his shoulder.
I roll my eyes. Since Cole is the youngest, he’s my mother’s pet.
“Have you kids given any thought as to what you want to give up for Lent?” Dad asks.
“What’s Lent?” questions Cole.
“Lent represents the 40 days Jesus was in the desert and the devil tried to tempt him, or get him to do things he shouldn’t do,” Mom explains. “During the 40 days before Easter, we celebrate Lent by giving up something we like to eat or do that keeps us from thinking of more meaningful things, just like Jesus did.”
This is the third Sophie Washington book I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing and, I think, it’s my favorite.
I’m very pleased that the author wove an element of faith into the story with letting it overwhelm the initial plot. Our young heroine struggles with keeping her promise to give up tattling for Lent (something not easy for a pre-teen girl) while also keeping her little brother on the right path.
Other issues within the story are very well done, including the newfound maturity of both Sophie and her closest friends, Sophie’s first crush, and the everyday struggles young adolescents often experience both in school and out.
The author handles each wrinkle in Sophie’s growing pains with a sensible and heartfelt compassion. And, as for Sophie’s little brother Cole, my fingers itch with the urge to pinch his pudgy little cheeks!
Highly recommended for your pre-teen reader. A solid 4 ½ review!
About the Author
Tonya Duncan Ellis was born and raised in Louisville, KY. She loves reading so much that as a child she took books with her everywhere. She knew she wanted to become a writer after an article she wrote was published in her hometown newspaper when she was a teen. Since then, Tonya has worked as a journalist and freelance magazine writer. She’s an award-winning author of the Sophie Washington children’s book series, geared towards readers ages 8 to 12. The books recount adventures of Houston, TX preteen Sophie Washington and her diverse group of friends. Each funny and heartwarming story teaches lessons about friendship, responsibility, truthfulness and perseverance. When she’s not writing, Tonya enjoys reading, biking, swimming, travel and spending time with her husband and three children. She lives in Houston, TX.
Tonya Duncan Ellis will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.
Follow the Tour
This is a four-week, review tour. You are welcome to visit all the stops to learn more about the book, the author, and for more chances to enter the drawing.
March 14: Stormy Nights Reviewing and Bloggin’
March 14: Andi’s Middle Grade and Chapter Books
March 21: Fabulous and Brunette
March 21: Notes From a Romantic’s Heart
March 28: The Reading Addict
March 28: Locks, Hooks and Books
April 4: Kit ‘N Kabookle
April 4: Bookaholic
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It’s been my pleasure to host Tonya once again.
Please come back again on Friday and all next week for more books, authors, and giveaways.