Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Sophie Washington: Mismatch

Game. Set. Match.

Sophie Washington is trying out for the tennis team, and she’s excited to get a chance to play with her good friends Chloe and Mariama. That is until wacky Coach Quackenbush matches her with school misfit, Mackenzie “Big Mac” Clark, and things quickly go downhill. Sophie has nothing in common with her partner, who does odd things like run off the court in the middle of practice, and she’s disappointed when Mackenzie shows no interest in the secret handshake she made up. After getting called out by the coach, being hit on the head with a tennis ball, and jokingly called the “most valuable player,” by mean older girls on the team, when she’s clearly not, Sophie’s ready to throw in the towel. Trying to fit in with the mean girls by making fun of Mackenzie behind her back makes things worse. Mackenzie starts skipping practice, and then gets sick at school, and Sophie realizes that there’s more to her doubles partner than meets the eye. What started out as a total mismatch could be the best partnership of all.

To get us ready for our upcoming match against our rival school, St. Regis, Coach Quackenbush has us play practice matches. Valentina’s grandma has to work late and is picking her up at four-thirty this afternoon, and Toby and Nathan’s track practice was cancelled because their coach is out of town, so they come to watch us.

“Do good for me guys!” says Valentina from the nearby mini bleachers. “Let’s go! Vamanos!”

 “All right, we’ve gone over the rules of tennis earlier today, so you know how to keep score,” says Coach Quackenbush. He’s wearing a whistle around his neck and carries his usual clipboard. “I want you to play each other, and the team that wins two out of three games will be declared the winner. Since we only have three singles players, I’ll work with Kennedy while Lindsey and Jackie go against each other. All right. Let’s see how we do, team!”

“All right!” we all parrot.

“Good luck in your matches, guys,” Chloe says to the eighth-grade girls.

“We don’t need luck unlike you little sixth graders,” says Kennedy. “We have talent.”

She and the older girls flounce off to their courts.

“Whatever,” says Chloe with a roll of her eyes.

“They think they are ‘all that’ just because they were on the team last year,” says Mariama. “I’d love to beat them in a game.”

“Forget them,” I say and pick up a can of new tennis balls Coach Quackenbush left on the court for us. “Come on, let’s get going.”

 “Okay, let’s get started,” says Chloe. Her frilly red tennis skirt swings around her hips as she smacks the ball to us for the first serve. It bounces high in the air toward me.

“I got it!” I race forward.

“Mine!” Mackenzie comes over to my side of the court from the other direction. Surprised at her quick movement, I stumble.


We run into each other. The ball bounces off my head, and I stagger to keep from falling.

My Review:
4.5 stars

This is the fourth book in this series that I’ve reviewed as this is one of my favorite series for middle grade readers because it tackles real-life issues in creative, realistic ways while teaching important life lessons.

This time around, the lessons are about taking the time to understand and accept others who are different than you as well as dealing with peer pressure. It also delves into health and wellness issues, which is all I’m going to say to avoid spoilers.

As someone who has gone through the struggle of trying to get a medical diagnosis while dealing with others who didn’t understand what I was going through, I related with Mackenzie 100%. It was refreshing to see how this was handled in a way that both makes sense for the target audience without hiding the struggles and not-so-fun parts.

The only odd part of this story to me was the hyper focus on sports. After reading three books in the series which focused more on academics, it was a little odd to see such a shift in the opposite direction with apparent balance of sports and academics. I also found some of the word choices a little odd. However, these were minor things I noticed in the story, which was overall a great teaching tale and another great addition to the Sophie Washington series.

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Don’t forget to visit the other stops on the tour.

Author Bio and Links:
Tonya Duncan Ellis is the author of the Amazon bestselling, Readers' Favorite "Five Star" rated, Sophie Washington children's books series, geared toward readers ages 8 to 12, and is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). She has received awards for literary excellence, worked as a journalist and freelance magazine writer, and is a graduate of Centre College of Kentucky and Washington University in St. Louis.

The Sophie Washington book series recounts the adventures of a precocious African American preteen from Houston, TX and her diverse group of friends. Each funny and heartwarming story teaches lessons about friendship, responsibility, truthfulness and perseverance. Books in the series include Queen of the Bee, The Snitch, Things You Didn't Know About Sophie, The Gamer, Hurricane, Mission: Costa Rica, Secret Santa, Code One and Mismatch.

Tonya loves to travel and has visited 49 American states and three continents, but some of her best journeys have been between the pages of a novel. As a girl she could always be found with a book in her hand, and reading is still one of her favorite hobbies. When she's not reading or writing, the author likes to ride her bike, swim, and spend time with her husband and three children. She lives in Missouri City, TX.

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  1. Thanks so much for both the book description and giveaway as well. I enjoy hearing about another good book.

    1. I appreciate you stopping by my tour James! Thanks for taking the time to learn about my book.

  2. This looks like a fun read. Best of luck on your book tour.

    1. Thanks Bernie! It's great to see you and best wishes in the giveaway!

  3. Really great review, thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  4. Thanks for checking out my book Victoria. Good luck in the gift card drawing!

  5. It's great to be back on your blog Emily! Thanks so much for featuring my book and taking time to read and review it!

  6. Congrats on the release. Are you happy to see the book finished?

    1. Yes, I'm really proud of this book. Thanks for stopping by my tour!

  7. Thanks for stopping by my tour Victoria!