This is a book that combines a strong narrative voice, a compelling story line and a mystery all in one. Told in episodic diary form, backwards in chronological order, this book is hard to put down. The three Sophies of the title are believable young Yr 13 women whose friendship certainly takes a few hard knocks along the way.
The first person narrator, the writer of the diary, is Sophie MacKenzie, she is recognisable as a young person who is trying her best to navigate difficult times in her friendships and love life in a mature yet vulnerable way. The inclusion of James Bacon (the girls’ English teacher) is slightly creepy but extremely believable, especially for anyone who has had a crush on any teacher in their lives.
The book deals with mature themes including sex and domestic violence but because the story is told in diary form there is nothing cliched about the handling of the big issues. This literally is a book that I personally enjoyed reading and would be comfortable about recommending to Senior students, specifically girls. The writing was clever and sophisticated but still had a voice that would resonate with young women eg: ‘For the record, I am the smartest Sophie. Just saying.”
Title: A Trio of Sophies
Author: Eileen Merriman
Publisher: Penguin Books
Date of Publication: March 2020
Ages: 15 years+
Reviewer: Judith Hartstone, HOF English, James Cook High School, Auckland
How are you recommending this book? Highly recommended
Opening Sentence: “Today is the first of September, the first day of spring, and it’s been sixty-four days since I last saw Sophie Abercrombie.”
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