Today’s post and review represents a departure for Notes From a Romantic’s Heart. In addition to changing our focus from romance to children’s/middle-grade fiction, we will be welcoming a second, guest reviewer…my 10 year old granddaughter, Anya.
GENRE: Children’s (Middle Grade)
We Asked…The Author Answered
If you could become any one of your book’s characters, who would it be and why?
It’s a toss-up between Sophie and her best friend Chloe. Sophie is smart, sweet, and funny and everyone’s best friend, but she gets into trouble a lot trying to fit in with others. I’d want to be Sophie’s best friend Chloe because she is kind, beautiful, and strong-willed and has a killer wardrobe. The only problem I’d have being her is that I love to read all the time and Chloe has dyslexia.
What do you consider to be the central plot of your story?
Ten-year-old Texan Sophie Washington and her friends are being bullied by Lanie Mitchell, a new girl in school. Sophie is afraid to turn Lanie in because she doesn’t want to be labeled as a snitch by the other kids and ostracized. Another classmate gets seriously hurt by the bully and Sophie needs to make a decision. Should she risk being kicked out of the “in-crowd” and become a snitch?
When did you know you were destined to be a writer?
I knew I was destined to be a writer when a story I wrote on “Mr. Peanut” in the fifth grade won first place in a young author’s contest. Then in high school I wrote an article that was published in my hometown newspaper, which sealed the deal.
Speed Round – Just to Get to Know You Better!
- Coffee, Tea or other? Hot English black tea with cream and sugar.
- Favorite Music? Neosoul, Smooth Jazz and Pop
- Favorite Movie? My favorite kid’s movies are Up and all three Toy Story
- Dogs or Cats? Dog
- Favorite Author? Judy Blume
About the Book
There’s nothing worse than being a tattletale…
That’s what 10-year-old Sophie Washington thinks until she runs into Lanie Mitchell, a new girl at school. Lanie pushes Sophie and her friends around at their lockers, and even takes their lunch money. If they tell, they are scared the other kids in their class will call them snitches, and won’t be their friends. And when you’re in the fifth grade, nothing seems worse than that.
Excitement at home keeps Sophie’s mind off the trouble with Lanie. She takes a fishing trip to the Gulf of Mexico with her parents and little brother, Cole, and discovers a mysterious creature in the attic above her room. For a while, Sophie is able to keep her parents from knowing what is going on at school. But Lanie’s bullying goes too far, and a classmate gets seriously hurt. Sophie needs to make a decision. Should she stand up to the bully, or become a snitch?
Read an Excerpt
“Nice glasses,” smiles Mariama, one of my other good friends in our class. Mariama’s family moved to our neighborhood from Nigeria last year. Some people make fun of her because she dresses different sometimes and talks with an African accent, but she’s really nice.
“Thanks, this is my first time wearing them,” I say. “I was a little nervous this morning.”
“Well, you shouldn’t be because they look really good,” she assures me. A few of our other classmates come through the hall, and no one seems to pay too much attention to me wearing glasses. Seems like it’s not a big deal after all.
“Hey Soph,” calls Chloe, rushing over to join us at the lockers, “those are some cute specs. I may get some with red frames to match my uniform logo.”
“You’re supposed to wear glasses to see, Chloe,” Mariama and I laugh.
“Well, they can be used for fashion, too,” she informs us.
We compare notes on last night’s science homework and grumble about the many review packets Mr. Simpson assigns.
“He must really want us to become astronauts,” Chloe complains.
“Yeah, it took me over an hour to get mine done,” I say.
Suddenly, I hear Mariama whistle under her breath.
“What’s wrong?” I ask.
I see Lanie moving in our direction.
You mean she bothers Mariama, too? I think to myself.
“Hey, Miss Tarzan,” Lanie says, turning toward our friend. “I see you’re wearing that necklace from Africa that you promised me,” she says, pointing at the string of colorful wooden beads my friend is wearing.
Mariama, who is at least a foot shorter than Lanie and probably 15 pounds lighter, starts to shake.
“My mother gave me this necklace,” she says, “and it was a gift from her mother to her.”
“Well, it’s going to be my gift now,” Lanie snarls, reaching out to grab it.
“Why don’t you give it a rest?” says Chloe, moving to block her.
“And who’s going to make me?” Lanie smirks.
I feel my face getting hot under my new glasses. I am so tired of Lanie bothering everybody and spoiling all our fun. If I wasn’t so scared of people calling me a snitch, I would march right down to the principal’s office and tell on this bully.
“Leave her alone, Lanie,” I say through gritted teeth.
“And who’s going to stop me?” she asks.
Lanie laughs and shoves me against the locker.
“You couldn’t stop a flea.”
“Come on, Sophie, let’s just go,” Chloe urges.
But I’ve had enough.
I shove the bully back.
“I said, leave her alone.”
Lanie looks surprised for a second.
“Fine, if she won’t give me her necklace, then I’ll take yours.”
She yanks my precious silver friendship chain from my neck and knocks me to the floor so quickly that my new glasses fall off.
“Sophie!” Chloe and Mariama rush over to help me as the bully hurries off down the hall.
“I hate her!” I reach on the floor for my new glasses and see that the glass is cracked in one of the lenses.
What am I going to do now?
~ ~ ~
Lovely first-person accounting of what it’s like to be bullied. The book’s young heroine struggles with very real perceptions that most ten-year-olds would worry about. How to fit in. How to keep from being seen as a tattletale. No young person wants to be a snitch. Yet, when it comes down to helping a friend, Sophie stands up and does the right thing.
I would have like to have seen more of an explanation as to what problems led the bully to be the way she was and why there wasn’t more of a teacher presence in the school hallways given the current climate in today’s elementary schools.
The story and resolution however were a life-lesson very much worth learning and worthy of a 4-rating.
I enjoyed the the book because it deals with bullying, which is a huge problem. Some people who are bullied feel alone and they don’t tell anyone, which is why it is good that this book talks about it.
I also enjoyed the book because the author made up incredible characters and story lines. I liked it even more when there was a raccoon in the roof!
I think the author made a wonderful book and did a great job!
Rating: 3 ½ baby sloths!
About the Author
Tonya Ellis remembers hiding in the restroom from a few bullies during her elementary school days. She encourages kids to speak out if they are being mistreated. She knew she wanted to become a writer after an article she wrote was published in her hometown newspaper. Since then, Tonya has worked as a journalist, written for newspapers and magazines and won awards for her books. When she’s not busy writing, she enjoys reading, biking with her husband and two sons and daughter, and travelling to interesting places. Sophie Washington: The Snitch is the second book in a series about Sophie and her friends.
Tonya Duncan Ellis will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.
Follow the Tour
This is a four-week virtual book tour. You are welcome to visit as many of the sites as you’d like for even more chances to win.
January 22: Rogue’s Angels
January 23: This and That Book Blog
January 24: The Reading Addict
January 25: Books in the Hall
January 26: Lisa Haselton’s Reviews and Interviews
January 29: Fabulous and Brunette
January 30: T’s Stuff
January 31: Reviews by Crystal
February 1: Notes From a Romantic’s Heart – review
February 2: Archaeolibrarian – I Dig Good Books!
February 5: The Avid Reader
February 6: Two Crazy Ladies Love Romance
February 7: BooksChatter
February 8: Mixed Book Bag
February 9: Lampshade Reader
February 12: Up ‘Til Dawn Book Blog
February 13: Locks, Hooks and Books – review
February 14: Kit ‘N Kabookle
February 15: Hope. Dreams. Life… Love
February 16: Long and Short Reviews YA
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It’s been my pleasure hosting Tonya (and Sophie) for this leg on the tour. They will both be back over the next few weeks as we look at more books in the series.
Please come back next week for more authors, books and giveaways.