Last week I wrote about playing superhero as a child and pretending to have powers that could save the day. It wasn't always superheros that I pretended to be. Sometimes I just pretended to be me, but "awesome." Generally that just meant being extra cool, like James Bond without the spy mission. That is why I could totally relate to the main character when I read a the first book in a new series by Lara Bergen.
By Lara Bergen
For ages 7 - 10
Think "Judy Moody" or "Junie B. Jones" with proper grammar. This tale of an adolescent girl with an abundance of personality who discovers her real strength will be most enjoyed by elementary girls.
The Good: Authentic dialogue with situations and characters that are easy to relate to.
The Bad: Somewhat cliche storyline and character development.
Sophie is a lively third-grader that feels that her life is boring. She is in the middle of the pack when it comes to everything. She is neither tall nor small, she is the middle child, and she is only average at academics and sports. Don't feel too sorry for Sophie, she knows she is special. However, Sophie wants everyone else to know she's special too.
First things first, Sophie decides a name change is in order. Maybe she could be like the heroes in her books: “Nate the Great,” “Marvin the Magnificent,” “Ramona the Brave,” or “Harriet the Spy.” Thus Sophie the Awesome is born. Now she just has to prove to everyone that she is awesome. Living up to a name like that is not easy. As Sophie tries to earn her new name she finds that “awesome” may not be the perfect name for her, but she does find a good one that fits.
Bergen taps into the elementary schoolgirl's psyche with storytelling ease. The dialogue is authentic without being grammatically incorrect, as in the "Junie B. Jones" series. Fans of “Judy Moody” will also enjoy this series. Be sure to also read the second book in the series, “Sophie the Hero.”