Saturday, December 12, 2009

Sophie Loves Jimmy

Even though Sophie LaCroix is starting to grow up, she is still too young to be "in love." So when the popular Corn Pops spread rumors all over school and even Sophie's Corn Flake friends believe them, Sophie feels frustrated and betrayed. In Sophie Loves Jimmy, the tenth installment of Nancy Rue's popular Sophie FaithGirlz series, we learn why honesty is important, and we also learn a fair bit about Internet safety.

Jimmy Wythe and Sophie are two of the four students who serve on the Round Table committee, a teacher/student group charged with decreasing bullying at Great Marsh Middle School. In this book, they focus specifically on Internet bullying, and when Jimmy asks Sophie to help with an anti-bullying website, she starts spending more and more time with him. This cuts down on the time Sophie spends with the Corn Flakes, and Fiona, especially, is jealous. The Corn Pops are also jealous since Jimmy is one of the nicest, cutest boys in school. They begin texting all sorts of rumors and information about Sophie, including footage of her pulling up her shorts in the gym locker room (filmed with a camera phone) and a clip using spliced recordings to make it sound like Jimmy is saying Sophie is crazy.

Sophie doesn't help matters when she dramatically declares "I'm in love," in the hearing of the Corn Pops. Although she means to be silly, it backfires, and adds substance to the rumor mill. Eventually, Sophie decides she has to tell Jimmy she can't spend time with him, which hurts his feelings. Slowly but surely, she learns how to balance her friendship with Jimmy and time spent with the Corn Flakes. Dr. Peter and Sophie's dad help Sophie handle both the cyber-bullying, and her new friendship with Jimmy, and Sophie learns some powerful lessons about forgiveness along the way.

What I Like: I like seeing Sophie forgive a past enemy (Eddie Wormon) and realize God can change even the meanest heart. I also like the fact Sophie is twelve and believes she is too young for a boyfriend. She learns how to be a good friend to Jimmy, but keep her priorities straight.

This book will also be helpful for adults who may not be as tech-savvy as the teens in their lives. Even though I used to teach high school, I hadn't thought about many of the difficulties camera phones present in school, or the problem of cyber-bullying. Rue includes some practical tips on regulating computer use in your home, without being too preachy or parental.

What I Dislike: Two things--one is the incident when Sophie purposefully declares she is in love with Jimmy so the Corn Pops will overhear. She acts deceitfully, without thinking of the consequences. While twelve-year-olds do things without thinking occasionally, I wish Rue would have had Sophie own her role in the problem a bit more.

The other thing I don't like is Sophie's repeated reference to her gym teacher as "Coach Virile." Rue includes a glossary in the back of the book, and defines "virile" as "the definition of manly; muscular, strong, and really hunky. Think cute movie star meets not-so-icky body builder." This definition is not what I think of when I hear the word "virile." The third definition for "virile" listed in my 1984 Webster's dictionary is "able to perform sexually as a male." Either way, Sophie thinking of a teacher in this way is a little creepy. I also wouldn't want my daughter using the term in every day life.

Overall Rating: Good due to the use of the term "virile"--very good otherwise

Age Appeal: 8-12

Publisher Info: Zonderkidz, 2009; ISBN: 978-0-310-71025-7; Paperback, $6.99

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Special Info: The cover shown here is the 2009 edition, but some books may feature the 2006 cover.

You can view reviews of other works by Nancy Rue here.
Check out other FaithGirlz titles here.

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