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|It all comes down to this|
Author: English, Karen
In the summer of 1965, Sophie's family becomes the first African Americans to move into their upper middle-class neighborhood in Los Angeles. When riots erupt in nearby Watts, she learns that life and her own place in it are a lot more complicated than they had seemed.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.70
Points: 11.0 Quiz: 189677
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 5.20
Points: 19.0 Quiz: 70048
Kirkus Reviews (+) (05/01/17)
School Library Journal (+) (06/01/17)
Booklist (+) (04/15/17)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/07/17)
The Hornbook (00/07/17)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 04/15/2017 *Starred Review* Bookish, quiet Sophie lives in a mostly white, middle-class neighborhood in L.A. with her class-conscious parents and older sister, Lily, who can pass for white. Life seems fairly easy, though she’s certainly no stranger to the cruelty of racism. But in the summer of 1965, as the Watts riots fill the news, several changes shake up Sophie’s world: she finds evidence of her father’s infidelity; her sister starts dating a darker-skinned man, whose experience of being black is much different from theirs; and she personally sees the unfairness of widespread racism when she auditions for a play at the community center. Amid classic middle-grade topics, English deftly weaves a vivid, nuanced story about the complexity of black identity and the broad implications of prejudice. The Watts riots appear mostly in the background, but English stirringly highlights how black anger isn’t localized solely among victims of police brutality. Rather, rage simmers everywhere. Even Sophie, whose most aggressive move is defiantly shouldering past a white girl in the library, thinks to herself, “Gosh, that was a wonderful feeling—being colored and liking to fight.” Through Sophie’s first-person narrative, readers will gain an insight into her struggle to puzzle out her identity, particularly when what she knows about herself is at odds with the expectations and assumptions of the various communities she inhabits. Thoughtful and well wrought, this novel is compassionate, pointed, and empowering. - Copyright 2017 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 06/01/2017 Gr 5–8—Sophie is a 12-year-old African American girl living in 1965 Los Angeles. She is intelligent and determined. With two professional parents and a sister on her way to a historically black college, Sophie is living a middle-class life in her mostly white neighborhood and struggling to find acceptance among her peers. Friendship formation and creative ambitions are thwarted by bigotry, but her inner strength leaves her undaunted. Sophie has a complex relationship with her busy, successful parents. Her sister, Lily, is a strong influence on Sophie. Because of Lily's relationship with the family's Jamaican housekeeper's son, she is exposed to social activism and catches a glimpse of the 1965 Watts Riots. Relatable characters populate this story of one significant summer in a girl's life. Readers will react strongly to the scorn with which Sophie is treated by neighborhood girls, and hopefully be prompted to take up the cause of social justice when they draw parallels between the events of Sophie's world and contemporary happenings. A few instances of offensive language and a subplot involving adultery make this a choice for middle schoolers or mature middle graders. VERDICT A satisfying combination of historical and realistic fiction featuring an interesting and diverse cast.—Deidre Winterhalter, Oak Park Public Library, IL - Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.