cover image Sophie Pitt-Turnbull Discovers America

Sophie Pitt-Turnbull Discovers America

Dyan Sheldon. Candlewick Press (MA), $15.99 (192pp) ISBN 978-0-7636-2740-9

\x93Never forget that you\x92re British,\x94 counsels the grandmother of Sheldon\x92s (Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen) incisively wry 16-year-old British narrator. Sophie is spending the summer in New York with her mother\x92s friend from art school and her two children, and she has no trouble heeding her grandmother\x92s advice as she forays onto Colonial turf with high expectations\x97and makes some shocking discoveries, with comic results. Though she had been looking forward to being \x93free of Mummy\x92s fretting and fussing,\x94 Sophie is ill prepared for her free-spirited, wild-haired American hostess, Jake, who appears at the airport in a bright orange jumpsuit, sporting Christmas tree earrings in July. And Sophie is further stunned when, instead of driving home to posh Manhattan digs, Jake parks her smoking old van in front of a small Brooklyn rental house with sagging front steps sag and a railing held together with duct tape. Jake hospitably tells Sophie to make herself at home, to which the girl replies silently, \x93I\x92d sooner have made myself at home in the doorway of Marks & Spencer.\x94 The narrative derives its ample humor from the juxtaposition of the girl\x92s polite verbal responses and her sardonic thoughts, a discrepancy that gradually fades as Sophie finds herself drawn into this wacky, warm family and their unconventional lifestyle. Readers on both sides of the Atlantic will be tickled to discover this humorous heroine. Ages 12-up. (May)