Date of publication: April 27th, 2023
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopia
Purchase Links: Kindle
Oxford, England, September 2023. A world not quite our own…
Fifteen-year-old Tim Alto has one thing on his mind, and one thing only. Not to make a complete fool of himself in front of his crush at the end of summer party (which isn’t easy when your overly tight jeans are making you walk like a penguin). But, in a city where androids are part of everyday life, anything can happen. A stolen wallet ruins Tim’s evening, and things go from bad to worse when the perpetrator shows up at school the next day.
Tim suddenly finds himself thrust onto a path filled with assault, grief, tests of friendship and unexpected romance.
A path that will lead Tim to question what it really means to be human.
Tim had been spotted. A metallic head followed his movements across the room, the neck jerking unnaturally as it twisted around.S.O.P.H.I.E. by C.J. Noble
Tim was having a good day until his wallet got stolen by a pink-haired thief at a local hang-out spot. Imagine his surprise when the thief shows up as the new girl in school the next day. After following her home and seeing an assault that shakes him to his core, Tim strikes an unlikely friendship with the pink-haired girl, Sophie. But Sophie has a much bigger secret than what is happening to her at home. How will Tim react when he is told? Will her secret make any difference in their friendship? And what is Sophie’s secret?
When I first read the blurb for S.O.P.H.I.E., I wasn’t sure if I would like it. For one, I don’t generally review middle-grade books (or books classed as middle-grade). And secondly, the blurb didn’t grab my attention at first. When I reread the blurb, I realized that this was a dystopian book and that androids were a considerable part of the plotline (no spoilers, read the blurb). The author piqued my interest, and I decided to read it. I am glad I did because this was a charming coming-of-age book.
The main storyline in S.O.P.H.I.E. follows Tim, his character growth, his relationships with his friends and Sophie, and his personal life. I felt that Tim was your typical teenager. He was immature (his reaction to his best friend’s news was a dead giveaway), but he did care about his friends. When his grandfather died, he did push them away, but they understood (well, Rachel using her dog’s death to understand Tim’s grief was a little awkward). But Tim also showed astonishing maturity during the book. Tim was a good kid trying to do the right thing by the time the book’s climax came around, and he was wise enough to bring his mother into everything (and his mother was a mama bear once she found out). He was willing to help Sophie with her home life (even though Sophie wanted him to leave things be).
There are trigger warnings in S.O.P.H.I.E. They are:
- Grief: Tim is mourning the death of his grandfather, who was a father figure to him. Sophie and her guardian are mourning the death of someone close to them.
- Child Abuse: I will not give names because this is a spoiler. But someone is physically and verbally abused during the book.
- Accident: There is a nongraphic car accident detailed that takes away someone that Sophie and her guardian love.
- Coming out: I put this as a trigger because of how Tim reacted to it. Tim’s best friend comes out as gay and confesses his love to Tim. Tim reacts by running away.
If any of these trigger you, I suggest not reading the book.
I liked the characters in S.O.P.H.I.E. They were well-written, and I could relate to them (being a parent to someone in that age range). I felt the author captured the teenage attitude and sassiness (on Sophie’s end) well. I also loved that most teenagers in this book had open relationships with their parents. Tim could talk to his mother about anything; Jeff’s family was excellent (they accepted his sexual orientation without fuss).
There was a romance angle to the book that did make me smile in spots, mainly because of how the fifteen-year-old acted. They were portrayed in a normal way. The romance angles were:
- Tim and Rachel: I wasn’t surprised that this romance didn’t go anywhere, even though Tim liked her. But, he became involved with helping Sophie and then developed feelings for her, which killed his feelings for Rachel. I felt terrible for Rachel because she seemed like a nice kid.
- Tim and Jeff: Now, I was a little surprised by this. I noticed Jeff acted weird around Tim during some scenes with Rachel and Sophie. I wasn’t expecting his confession. I gave him major props for coming clean to Tim. But what Tim did after Jeff’s confession wasn’t cool. See my trigger warning above about it.
- Tim and Sophie: This was a couple that I couldn’t mentally put together. They were so different, but you know the old saying: Opposites attract. Also, there is Sophie’s secret.
Sophie’s secret was a huge factor in the main storylines. I was surprised when she revealed it, but looking back, I shouldn’t have been. There were clues sprinkled throughout the book. I will admit that Tim pulled an M.V.P. move when he got his mother involved. I also thought he did the right thing.
The end of S.O.P.H.I.E. was interesting and hearfelt. The author wrapped everything up in a way that satisfied me. I had no questions about what happened to the main characters or even some of the secondary characters. There are some very humorous footnotes that the author included at the end of the book, which cracked me up. If you read the book, you need to read those too. They were hilarious. I also cannot wait to read more books by this author!!
I recommend S.O.P.H.I.E. to anyone over 13. There are very mild kissing scenes, nongraphic violence, and no language. Also, see my triggers.
Many thanks to C.J. Noble for allowing me to read and review S.O.P.H.I.E. All opinions stated in this review are mine.
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