Sophie Washington: My BFF

Children - Grade 4th-6th
118 Pages
Reviewed on 02/09/2020
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Lesley Jones for Readers' Favorite

In Sophie Washington: My BFF by Tonya Duncan Ellis, Sophie and Chloe have been best friends since they started school and Sophie always imagined that would never change. Although they are very different and have different interests, Sophie is happy just to be friends with Chloe. But an innocent picture taken in front of the Killer Whale ride would question everything Sophie believed about her best friend. Sophie doesn't understand why she is no longer included in the fun and wants nothing more than to have her friend back. When Chloe asks Sophie to take the blame for cheating in a poetry assignment, Sophie agrees. Now Sophie has to deal with the consequences of her lies. Will she and Chloe ever become friends again, or will Sophie learn an important life lesson about friendship?

Sophie Washington: My BFF by Tonya Duncan Ellis is a very well written book with many powerful messages subtly threaded throughout. I loved Sophie's character; she seemed to be a very intelligent child who always tried to give her friends the benefit of the doubt. The characters are varied and authentic to the age group, each with strengths and weaknesses which helped support the main message of the book. The dialogue between the young siblings and school children is very authentic, realistic and really comical at times. The story covers some important moral subjects such as honesty, kindness, and self-confidence. I thought the story also tackled the subject of isolating others and the hugely important topic of social media bullying very well. There are so many areas of conversation that parents and teachers can have with children as they read this book together which would inspire children to be proud of their strengths. I think any child reading this book would gain the confidence to be themselves and not feel pressured to follow the crowd.

Jack Magnus

Sophie Washington: My BFF is a social issues/coming of age novel for children, grades 4-6, written by Tonya Duncan Ellis. The science-class day trip to Galveston Bay came with an extra special treat for Sophie and her classmates -- they got to spend the afternoon at Pleasure Pier, a shorefront amusement park. If Sophie could have chosen, she would have been indulging in carnival games instead of getting ready to ride the Killer Whale, a monster of a roller coaster ride that quite frankly terrified her. It was something Chloe had always really wanted to do, however: and, as they had been best friends since kindergarten, Sophie was determined to get on that ride and survive it. The rest of their friends were also excited about the Killer Whale and chatted enthusiastically about it while they were waiting on line. Then Toby brought up the poetry assignment they had received. He asked Sophie if she had finished it yet and if she could help him. Chloe frowned at that and wondered aloud why Nathan hadn’t asked her for help...

Tonya Duncan Ellis’s coming of age novel, Sophie Washington: My BFF, follows Sophie as her world seems to go topsy-turvy. Her BFF, Chloe, is angry at her and nothing she can do seems to fix the problem. Then there’s what seems to be a chance, but it leads to a very difficult decision for Sophie. How far should you go to help a friend? Ellis’s Sophie Washington series is a joy to read, no matter what age you happen to be. I especially appreciated My BFF as Sophie has to deal with real-life, adult-sized decisions and choices kids often have to make in school and in their relationships with their friends. Ellis’s plot keeps the reader involved as they follow Sophie’s issues, and her characters continue to get more definition as the series evolves and they grow up. Educators and parents with dyslexic kids will find the author’s presentation of Chloe to be authentic and relatable. This well-written and enjoyable middle school novel is most highly recommended.

Samantha Gregory

Sophie Washington: My BFF by Tonya Duncan Ellis is the story of Sophie, a young girl who is best friends with another girl called Chloe. They do everything together, even ride rollercoasters which Sophie doesn't like, but she doesn't want to let her best friend down. But Chloe is not always nice to Sophie, sometimes she does mean things to her. So when she asks Sophie to lie to a teacher, Sophie faces a huge dilemma. Lying is wrong, but her best friend needs her help. What should she do?

Tonya Duncan Ellis has written an interesting story with Sophie Washington: My BFF. I think it would really speak to young girls because many of them face similar situations with their friends. As they get older, girls tend to grow apart and test boundaries and I think this book is a good example of that. Just because someone is supposed to be your best friend doesn't mean they always have your best interests at heart. The main protagonist is well written and believable. The pictures are good. I think a slightly older age group would benefit from it, but this situation does happen to younger girls too. The overall message is good. I think this story would appeal to girls around the 11 - 13 age groups and that it will do well on the market. I would recommend it.