Review: Sophie & Carter by Chelsea Fine
While other high school seniors are dreaming about their futures, Sophie and Carter are just trying to make it through each day. Carter is overwhelmed by troubles at home as he struggles to support his mother. Meanwhile, next door neighbor Sophie is left to care for her three younger siblings in place of their absent and troubled mother. All that holds these two friends together is each other, and knowing that each night they’ll sit together on Sophie’s front porch swing and escape from their troubles, if just for awhile. But as their relationship reaches a turning point and high school graduation nears, what lies ahead for Sophie and Carter?
Sophie and Carter is a very simple, short story. It is about a boy and girl who both come from troubled family backgrounds. They’ve suffered abuse in the past, whether it’s emotional or physical, and each day is still a struggle for them. Both of them are best friends and they both look forward to each night when they would sit on the porch swing and share each other’s company.
I liked the way the chapters alternates between Sophie and Carter’s point of views. Both of them have their own fonts, so it’s easy to remember and distinguish whose point of view you’re reading. Also, it’s quite obvious which is a male and which is a female point of view. For example:
Sophie: I’ve got five hours until everyone’s in bed… until I have a minute to think… until I can connect with the only person who really knows me. Carter. (p. 18)
Carter: I stretch my neck and start walking to the living room. Just a few more hours until I can relax. (p. 24)
Of course, you can easily guess which point of view belongs to who because only a girl would count the hours! Guys aren’t as detailed as girls are, after all. Sometimes, their narrations would overlap for certain events. Other times, it wouldn’t. The overlapping narrations were good because we can understand where both of them are coming from.
There are just a couple of things that nagged at the bookworm inside of me. The story lacked depth. There were many issues that weren’t explored in a deeper level. In fact, few issues were explored at a deeper level, besides the ones connected with their individual pasts. Another thing is the repetition of certain actions or phrases. Sophie used the “I love his/her guts!” way too many times. If I were to read the book aloud, that phrase would sound pretty awkward and unnecessary. Carter stretches his neck way too many times. I don’t know if that’s a bad habit he has or what, but it was too repetitive in the story.
Nevertheless, despite the slight oddities mentioned, the story is captivating. It can be read in under an hour and the story isn’t really complicated despite the darker themes, but its simplicity is the drawing point. It doesn’t go too much into technicalities. There’s always something going on in the story. Whether it’s family problems, bad past, jealousy, plans for the future, or other issues.
But there’s something else, too. Love. Not the kind you see in the movies or hear about on the radio. The real kind. The kind that gets beaten down and bloody, yet preserves. The kind that hopes even when hope seems foolish. The kind that forgives. The kind that believes in healing. The kind that can sit in silence and feel renewed. The real kind of love.
After I finished reading the book, I promptly reread it. Nowadays, it’s harder to find secular Young Adult books that are clean. I was happy that this book is a clean read. It’s definitely one of its plus points. Another plus point would be the issues touch upon in this book. Sophie and Carter are teenagers with adult problems. They are forced to grow up and take more responsibility than they should be having at their age. Despite all their problems and no matter how bleak their future seem to be, they find hope in each other. They encourage each other in their own little ways. Their friendship and relationship is just so sweet! There is a touch of innocence in it with could be incongruous (but isn’t) due to what they’ve went through.
Conclusion: I was surprised to read that Sophie & Carter is the author’s debut book. While there could be improvements, the storyline is good and the writing, for the most part, varied and interesting.
Chelsea Fine’s passion for writing began when she took a creative writing course during her studies at Arizona State University and found herself not only enjoying the class, but energized by it. She has been dabbling in fiction ever since. She lives in Phoenix, Arizona with her husband and two children who graciously tolerate her obsession with superheroes and complete lack of skill in the kitchen. Visit her website at www.chelseafinebooks.com.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author through the Review the Book book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”