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Sophia's War: A Tale of the Revolution Paperback – September 24, 2013

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Editorial Reviews


* “The book’s riveting opening scene, in which Sophie watches as Nathan Hale is hanged as a spy, foreshadows the danger she knowingly accepts by engaging in espionage. Few historical novels are as closely shaped by actual events as this one during the last 100 pages. Working within the bounds of credibility, Avi manages to keep the fictional narrator on the scene for a good deal of the action and uses real moments to bring the imagined story to its dramatic heights. A glossary of eighteenth-century terms and an author’s note are appended. Pair this intriguing historical novel with Sheinkin’s The Notorious Benedict Arnold (2010).”

Booklist, August 1, 2012, *STAR

* “Newbery Medalist Avi (Crispin: The Cross of Lead) channels the mood, language, and danger of the Revolutionary War in this seamless blend of history and fiction, set in British-occupied New York City…. The book is chockful of fascinating historical details, including the conditions for those stranded in New York and the failed meetings between Arnold and John André, his (real-life) British contact. Avi doesn’t sugarcoat the brutal realities of war…in this rich, nail-biting thriller.”

Publishers Weekly, August 13, 2012, *STAR

* “Sophia’s War is outstanding historical fiction, bringing to dramatic life the human story behind extraordinary events. The climax is a seamless incorporation of hard fact with thrilling espionage as Avi juxtaposes scenes of André and Arnold’s attempt to meet against Sophia’s efforts to stop them. Rich in period detail, the atmospheric prose vividly re-creates old New York and allows readers to experience Sophia’s conflicting emotions. A glossary clarifies 18th-century terms; in an author’s note, Avi reflects on historical fiction.” (School Library Journal, October 2012, *STAR)

"Avi's setting is impeccable (especially the descriptions of the prisons where rebel soldiers were kept); the intrigue on the home front, real; and the tension of living in enemy territory, intense." (Horn Book Magazine, November/December 2012)

"Newbery Honor-winning author Avi offers a gripping view of the Revolutionary War through the eyes of a 12-year-old spy.... With language drawn from the period (and appended in a glossary) and historical events forming the tight framework of the tense, imagined drama, Avi offers an action-filled novel with wide classroom appeal." (Book Links, January 2013)

About the Author

Avi is the author of more than fifty books for children and young adults, including the 2003 Newbery medal winner Crispin: The Cross of Lead. He has won two Newbery Honors and many other awards for his fiction. He lives with his family in Denver, Colorado. Visit him at

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Beach Lane Books; Reprint edition (September 24, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1442414421
  • ISBN-13: 978-1442414426
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #53,683 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

More info at and
Avi is part of a family of writers extending back into the 19th century. Born in 1937 and raised in New York City, Avi was educated in local schools, before going to the Midwest and then back to NYC to complete his education. Starting out as a playwright--while working for many years as a librarian--he began writing books for young people when the first of his kids came along.

His first book was Things That Sometimes Happen, published in 1970, and recently reissued. Since then he has published seventy books. Winner of many awards, including the 2003 Newbery award for Crispin: the Cross of Lead (Hyperion), two Newbery Honors, two Horn Book awards, and an O'Dell award, as well as many children's choice awards, he frequently travels to schools around the country to talk to his readers.

Among his most popular books are Crispin: The Cross of Lead, The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, Nothing but the Truth, the Poppy books, Midnight Magic, and The Fighting Ground.

In 2008 he published The Seer of Shadows (HarperCollins), A Beginning a Muddle and an End (Harcourt), Hard Gold (Hyperion) and Not Seeing is Believing, a one-act play in the collection, Acting Out (Simon and Schuster). Crispin: the End of Time, the third in the Newbery Award-winning series, was published in 2010. City of Orphans was released in 2011, receiving a number of starred reviews. Learn more at Follow Avi on Facebook,, where he shares an inside look at his writing process.

Avi lives in Denver, Colorado, with his wife and family.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Inhabiting Books on October 16, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Doesn't that gorgeous cover by Edel Rodriguez make you long to read this? It's the perfect cover for this story. (I have a "thing" for silhouettes on book covers. I don't know why, but I feel compelled to buy a book with silhouettes on the cover.)

If you have never read one of Avi's books, you really need to. He writes intelligent historical fiction for young people. He never dumbs down his books, and obviously works hard to be historically accurate.

In this complex, smart story Avi again tackles an aspect of the American Revolution. He did it once before in "The Fighting Ground", where the reader is swept along in thirteen-year-old Jonathon's passion to be part of the fighting, and then his rude awakening to the realities of being a soldier. But this story isn't just a feminine version of "The Fighting Ground". It's a completely different aspect of the war, written in a different kind of narrative.

The story is broken up into two different time frames. Roughly the first half takes place in 1776 when Sophia Calderwood is twelve years old. Sophia and her parents fled their home in New York City when the British invaded. Sophia's adored older brother William joined the American troops fighting to keep the British out of the city. As the book opens in September of 1776, Sophia and her mother are returning on foot to New York to try to reclaim what they can of their lives. (For safety, Mr. Calderwood must return in secret later.) In an apple orchard on the outskirts of New York, they witness a young man of "dignified bearing" being led by British soldiers to a rope hanging from an apple tree, and Sophia watches in horror as the ladder is kicked away and the young man (who she later learns was Nathan Hale) is hanged.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Lauren M. Cormier on November 28, 2012
Format: Hardcover
As a teacher of American History to 8th grade students I found this book to be very well done in terms of the historical nature of the narrative. It is often hard to find books about wars where the main character is a female and the touch of romance provided balance to the dryness of the factual narrative.
I did however only give the book 4 stars based on the information that is given about the reading level. Qualifying this book as being readable for an 8 year old and above is way off base. I currently have two 8th grade students who read as accessed by national testing on grade level and they are finding the book to be challenging both in vocabulary and comprehension of the plot, which is what prompted me to read the book for myself. Having done so, it is an excellent book but... I would not recommend it for any child younger than 12 - 13 years of age and then only if they have had exposure to more than surface background knowledge about John Andre and Benedict Arnold.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Melissa A. Palmer VINE VOICE on October 8, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Book #63 Read in 2012
Sophia's War by Avi (YA)

This book is excellent young adult historical fiction. It tells the story of Sophia Calderwood, a young lady who ends up being a patriot spy during the Revolutionary War. Sophia ends up working in a British household and ends up discovering important information about Benedict Arnold and where his loyalty really is. . .

Avi is a hit or miss author for me but this book I really liked; I read it in a day. Sophia is a great character--courageous yet human, intelligent yet self-doubting. There are interesting secondary characters as well. The chapters are short which would help a reluctant reader, especially with this genre where readers seem to either love the books or hate the books. This book was a quick read full of action. I recommend it.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By M. Tanenbaum VINE VOICE on January 13, 2013
Format: Hardcover
The versatile Avi, who won a Newbery years back for his historical novel Crispin: The Cross of Lead, pens a real historical thriller in his latest novel, Sophia's War, set during the American Revolution. This is definitely my favorite Avi novel since The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle. Like that celebrated adventure/historical nove, Sophia's War features an indomitable young heroine, who thrusts herself in the center of political and military intrigue during one of the most famous betrayals in American history.

The novel opens in 1776 in loyalist-occupied New York City, the same setting for Laurie Halse Anderson's Seeds of America novels Chains, and Forge. Twelve-year old Sophia Calderwood adores her older brother, William, who has enlisted in the revolutionary army. Although she's a well-educated young woman who is well-versed in all the revolutionary rhetoric of the time, Sophia can't help herself when she becomes infatuated with the handsome and charming British officer, John Andre, who is billeted with her family. But when her brother becomes a prisoner in the horrible prison ships off the coast of New York and Andre refuses to help, Sophia's feelings change, and soon she is eager to avenge her brother's fate.

When Sophia is approached by an acquaintance to spy for the revolutionaries by working as a maid at the British general's grand house, she discovers a nefarious plot--one which involves not only the handsome John Andre, but her hero, the acclaimed American officer Benedict Arnold. Can she pass on what she knows to the revolutionary command, and will anyone believe her?

This is a tremendously exciting novel, one which I devoured in one sitting. Told in the first person by Sophia, the novel is fast-paced, and action-packed.
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