Sophie Hartley and the Facts of Life

Stephanie Greene. Clarion, $16.99 (144p) ISBN 978-0-547-97652-5
In Greene's fourth Sophie Hartley book, the author lightheartedly yet earnestly portrays the shifting dynamics of being on the cusp of middle school. Ten-year-old Sophie wants nothing to do with becoming a teenager if it means turning into her volatile and argumentative 14-year-old sister, while some of her fourth-grade classmates are tiptoeing curiously towards puberty—or "P-U-berty," as Sophie and her best friends decide to call it (while holding their noses). The slim plot hinges on Sophie's ability to make good on her promise to inform her friends about "girl business"—even though she herself is clueless on the subject—while coping with her family, all of whom, according to her mother, lack self-control in relentlessly slinging "inflammatory" remarks at each other. Greene skillfully and humorously renders family dynamics, including the challenges of marriage and parenting as seen through Sophie's eyes; her teenage brother's explanation of the "facts of life" is sensible, amusing, and surprisingly poignant. A reliably cute and comfortable read for the younger range of the targeted audience. Ages 9–12. Agent: Nancy Gallt, Nancy Gallt Literary Agency. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/14/2013
Release date: 11/19/2013
Genre: Children's
Open Ebook - 144 pages - 978-0-547-97818-5
Paperback - 144 pages - 978-0-544-43938-2
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