review by MARISA
Sophie Sophia is my favourite kind of protagonist – a quirky girl obsessed with mixtapes and eighties music, and who sews pockets into all her clothes. She’s starting out at a new school, having recently moved to Havencrest, Illinois with her mom. She hasn’t seen her dad in years – he’s an eccentric physicist who disappears from time to time, and sees things other people can’t. Now Sophie is starting to see things, too – things like panda marching bands and lunch ladies singing The Ramones – and she thinks that maybe finding her dad could help her figure out how to stop the “episodes”. Together with Walt, a talking panda, and Finny, an actual person and probably her first real friend, Sophie travels to New York to learn more about her dad and his research on M-theory.
I liked the whimsy of this story, although it does get a little too cutesy for me at some points, and there were a few things I found problematic about it. But. I love Sophie Sophia’s how-to lists and her mix tapes, I love her music taste and her clothes, and I really love her best friend. Even though I said that Sophie’s my favourite kind of protagonist, Finny is easily my favourite character in the book, and I think even though I loved the physics and Sophie’s discovery about her dad’s research, what I loved best about this book would be the friendship between the two. Best friends are the awesomest, and this book celebrates that. Sophie Sophia does get a romantic interest – a crush on a guy obsessed with Kerouac, and while their romance is sweet and all, I really appreciated the fact that it ends as a mutual crush that might be something more in the future, rather than following the “true love” trope that seems to plague most of the YA books I’ve read.