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It All Comes Down to This Hardcover – July 11, 2017
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★ "Thoughtful and well-wrought, this novel is compassionate, pointed, and empowering." —Booklist, starred review
★ "Most of all, this is an impressive coming-of-age story whose fully realized protagonist is surrounded by a rich supporting cast. Cultural details artfully evoke the tenor and tone of the times." —Kirkus, starred review
★ "Expressing subtle and blatant bigotries alike, English (the Carver Chronicles series) movingly reveals how an impressionable and intelligent child learns from the injustices that touch her, her family, and her friends." —PW, starred review
"Ms. English has a light touch, and she captures human idiosyncrasy in an honest, witty way that makes her characters relatable, whatever their color or pallor. Unfairness and race-consciousness run through the story—so do surprises. Bigotry wears many guises. Kindness does too." —Wall Street Journal
". . . a true coming-of-age story. The perspective of an upper-middle-class African American family is an unusual and welcome one; and Sophie’s interactions with her white best friend make for a particularly honest dialogue. Fans of Rita Williams-Garcia will enjoy this moving, frank novel." —Horn Book
". . . [It All Comes Down to This] will capture readers at every point, bringing a nuanced understanding to the history of American civil rights that is sometimes flattened in the classroom curriculum." —Bulletin
About the Author
Karen English is a Coretta Scott King Honor Award-winner and the author of It All Comes Down to This as well as the Nikki and Deja and The Carver Chronicles series. Her novels have been praised for their accessible writing, authentic characters, and satisfying storylines. She is a former elementary school teacher and lives in Los Angeles, California.
Top customer reviews
Sophie is twelve and just beginning to understand how racism and segregation affect her. Set in 1965, these are turbulent times in the Civil Rights era with part of this novel taking place during the Watts race riots.
English does an amazing job of recreating the mood toward black people during 1965. Issues like skin tone - light skinned vs. dark skinned are explained as Sophie and her sister are both light skinned and their maid is not. The difference in class between their maid and Sophie's family is another issue as Sophie's sister, Lily, wants to date the maid's son.
Sophie is the only black girl in an all-white neighborhood. Finding friends is hard, but she will also be dealing with her older sister moving away to attend college in the fall. In addition to that, her parents aren't getting along very well with each other.
English includes so much in this story. I absolutely loved taking a trip back in time to 1965 and seeing what life was like for Sophie's family as they tried to fit in to both the white world they had gained entry to, and decide how much of the African American world they came from they wanted to retain.
Set in the 1960s, this is the story of Sophie, a precocious 12-year old girl whose upper-middle class African-American family has moved into an all-white neighborhood in Los Angeles. What this book does well is communicate how even without a dramatic racial crisis (though the LA riots to show up late in the story), racial tension infuses Sophie's life, from small microaggressions to larger confrontations. But this is also a solidly coming-of-age novel, complete with first periods, Sophie's shifting view of her family, friendship, and high school hovering on the horizon.
The last third of the book is the best, as the meandering story gets tenser and tighter, on both a personal and larger scale, but kids might struggle to get that far. A good parent-child read.
The flow is a bit sluggish, perhaps reflecting that summer feeling of ease and long days. It was a bit too scattered for me in some spots. I loved the skin tone discussions and the interracial relations issues. The whole plot had a realism to it I don't often see in YA or children's fiction. This was categorized as "children's" by Amazon but for me this reads a lot closer to middle and high school aged readers. It works well for younger readers but they might miss the subtle humor and sarcasm. Very satisfying and enjoyable read.
Most recent customer reviews
This was a bit slow moving at first. Glad we kept at it. Both myself and my daughter read this book.Read more
Sophie is a twelve-year-old African-American girl growing up in the...Read more