It All Comes Down to This
It’s 1965, Los Angeles. All twelve-year-old Sophie wants to do is write her book, star in the community play, and hang out with her friend Jennifer. But she’s the new black kid in a nearly all-white neighborhood; her beloved sister, Lily, is going away to college soon; and her parents’ marriage is rocky. There’s also her family’s new, disapproving housekeeper to deal with. When riots erupt in nearby Watts and a friend is unfairly arrested, Sophie learns that life—and her own place in it—is even more complicated than she’d once thought.       Leavened with gentle humor, this story is perfect for fans of Rita Williams-Garcia.

It All Comes Down to This Details

TitleIt All Comes Down to This
Author
FormatHardcover
ReleaseJul 11th, 2017
PublisherClarion Books
ISBN0544839579
ISBN-139780544839571
Number of pages368 pages
Rating
GenreChildrens, Middle Grade, Historical, Young Adult, Fiction, Cultural, African American

It All Comes Down to This Review

  • Laura
    January 27, 2017
    I was intrigued by this book because Sophie is growing up in L.A. about the same time that I was growing up in L.A. There are two differences though, she is living in a different part of L.A. and she is black, or as she would say "colored". She lives in an all white neighborhood, but is sort of OK with that. I lived in a mostly white neighborhood, though we had one black neighbor. Our school was a mix of Chinese, White and Hispanic kids. She has a best friend who is white, and they get along jus I was intrigued by this book because Sophie is growing up in L.A. about the same time that I was growing up in L.A. There are two differences though, she is living in a different part of L.A. and she is black, or as she would say "colored". She lives in an all white neighborhood, but is sort of OK with that. I lived in a mostly white neighborhood, though we had one black neighbor. Our school was a mix of Chinese, White and Hispanic kids. She has a best friend who is white, and they get along just fine. It is the rest of the neighborhood that treats her poorly.It is an interesting read. I can picture the places she goes to, and feel as though I experienced the same things, with piano lessons, and playing tennis, but I couldn't be in her shoes of being followed around by a clerk because she is black. I could not be the only one in the room accused of stealing, though there are others around. I could not know what it is like to visit the Watts Riots while they are going on, and fear that the police will come after you. But Sophie is there to tell her story so that you can.Very good narrative, good descrptions of life in the 1960s. This would be a good book to read to get inside the head of a young black girl, to see how she feels and thinks. And you know what? She feels and thinks just as much, with as much pain, as other young girls of different skin colors and backgrounds. She suffers just as much.Thanks to Netgalley for making this book available for an honest review.
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  • Alisha Marie
    July 10, 2017
    It All Comes Down to This is a really great read. Despite the fact that there's not much plot action happening, I've always enjoyed coming-of-age stories and this one is really well done.The Good: I absolutely adored the relationship between Sophie and Lily. I'm a sucker for a good sister relationship and this one hit all the spots. You could clearly see the affection that Lily and Sophie have for one another. I also found that a lot of parts in the story gave me food for thought. Like how Sophi It All Comes Down to This is a really great read. Despite the fact that there's not much plot action happening, I've always enjoyed coming-of-age stories and this one is really well done.The Good: I absolutely adored the relationship between Sophie and Lily. I'm a sucker for a good sister relationship and this one hit all the spots. You could clearly see the affection that Lily and Sophie have for one another. I also found that a lot of parts in the story gave me food for thought. Like how Sophie's mother differentiated herself from other blacks because she was lighter skinned and therefore viewed herself as being better than darker blacks. Or how she didn't like her children to use the word "black" to describe themselves. Even the minor part of a minor character describing herself as Spanish and not Mexican and using that as an excuse to not play with Sophie was eye-opening. The Eh: Seeing as how It All Comes Down to This doesn't really have a tight plot, some of it might seem to not flow so well. It does meander a bit and readers who don't like that might not be to into this book. Again, as someone who does like coming of age stories, I didn't mind this too much, but it was still noticeable.In the end, I highly recommend It All Comes Down to This. It was a really great, quick read and I loved being inside of Sophie's head. Again, it gave me much food for thought. Definitely one for everyone to pick up. (Oh and if you don't like Middle Grade novels, but do like YA, I would still pick this up because this kind of felt like YA-lite to me.)
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  • Brittany
    July 20, 2017
    This is a classic coming-of-age story as 12-almost-13-year-old Sophie navigates finding and losing friends, the eventual loss of her sister to college and the tumultuous relationship of her parents. Set in the 1960s in a primarily white, upper-middle-class neighborhood, Sophie and her family are one of the only black families to live in this part of town. Sophie is continually experiencing many degrees of prejudice in varying forms and from adults and kids alike. It's heartbreaking to read and e This is a classic coming-of-age story as 12-almost-13-year-old Sophie navigates finding and losing friends, the eventual loss of her sister to college and the tumultuous relationship of her parents. Set in the 1960s in a primarily white, upper-middle-class neighborhood, Sophie and her family are one of the only black families to live in this part of town. Sophie is continually experiencing many degrees of prejudice in varying forms and from adults and kids alike. It's heartbreaking to read and eye-opening that racism is a learned behavior and the harsh reality of the implications of that. The "Nevertheless She Persisted" mantra is perfect for Sophie as she learns she can stick up for herself and she will survive and keep persisting. A great recommendation for middle grades seeking books about empathy and insight into growing up in a different time.
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  • Sumaya Musse
    May 15, 2017
    Books like It All Comes Down to This are reminders that while it isn’t as bad as before, we need to do better. For a full review, follow the link: https://suereadingcorner.wordpress.co...
  • Divena
    February 15, 2017
    I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.This book was a great read. Though I did not grow up in the time period Sophie did many of the issues dealt with in this novel resonate today. I identified with her feelings of being an outsider growing up in a mostly white neighborhood. As someone who went to mostly white schools for 12 years I often felt the way she did. There were a couple of times her experiences moved me to tears. I enjoyed reading about Sophie and her sister I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.This book was a great read. Though I did not grow up in the time period Sophie did many of the issues dealt with in this novel resonate today. I identified with her feelings of being an outsider growing up in a mostly white neighborhood. As someone who went to mostly white schools for 12 years I often felt the way she did. There were a couple of times her experiences moved me to tears. I enjoyed reading about Sophie and her sister Lily's experiences with the other girls in the neighborhood and well as the news of the riots. Since it does deal with complex issues like status, race, and affairs I'd recommend it to girls 13 and up.
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  • Melissa
    February 26, 2017
    I received an ARC from NetGalley called 'It All Comes Down to This' by Karen English, and here is my unbiased review.I'm not sure if the author intended this story to pull on the heartstrings, but I couldn't help but have a little cry at the end of it. Possibly it is a cry for having to leave Sophie to continue her life and not know what happens to her next , or maybe its a cry for Sophie, knowing I leave her to continue her struggles with the prejudice she receives. Who knows, but I'm crying ju I received an ARC from NetGalley called 'It All Comes Down to This' by Karen English, and here is my unbiased review.I'm not sure if the author intended this story to pull on the heartstrings, but I couldn't help but have a little cry at the end of it. Possibly it is a cry for having to leave Sophie to continue her life and not know what happens to her next , or maybe its a cry for Sophie, knowing I leave her to continue her struggles with the prejudice she receives. Who knows, but I'm crying just the same, which is wonderful! I love a book that makes me cry..I really warmed to Sophie as a character.The author writes in first person, so we understand everything that Sophie is feeling and thinking. Set in 1965, I briefly studied this period of the black civil rights movement in America, so I can understand this period of prejudice history. Sophie takes lots of hits and scrapes, and it made me so sad that she 'accepts' this as normal and is constantly up against it, living in a mostly white neighbourhood. I find myself keep thinking, 'Why!' every time some new slight against her is raised, 'But she is such a good girl!'. Echoed in Mrs Baylor's observation, which also made me blub!Sophie tries so hard in everything she does -writing, school, friendship. She puts a lot into her relationships especially with her sister Lily, and her only friend Jennifer. She has a thick shell and takes all the knocks along the way, which sometimes boil over into a little release of a cry, before she gets back up and goes on again. There is romance but seen through Sophie's eyes, her troubled sisters relationship with her boyfriend. Sophie lives her life somewhat vicariously through her sister, especially in that of relationships, where she herself, rarely speaks to any boys.I really enjoyed this book, it fired up so much emotion in me. It made me cross at peoples off handed remarks to Sophie, and made me want to give this girl a big hug. This is a 'coming of age' story, which young adults will love. An excellent novel for parents to share with their children, as there is lots to talk about with them here. I was literally hooked from the first page and I knew I would like this book. The author has a way of inserting you into Sophie's life straight away and sweeping you away immersed until the end. The characters are fantastic, and you really feel you know each one. I would like to know what happens next to Sophie, but I feel this book works very well as a single book. One which could be read many times..
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  • Cheriee Weichel
    June 17, 2017
    I read this book through Netgalley. It will be published on July 11, 2017. Preorder your copy now. I am fascinated by historical fiction that takes place in my lifetime. On the one hand, it takes me back to my youth where I can re experience the events I lived through. On the other, novels like this show me this time through the eyes of someone who inhabited a vastly different reality. Because of this, they expand my perceptions so that I experience and understand my own history anew. Sophie, he I read this book through Netgalley. It will be published on July 11, 2017. Preorder your copy now. I am fascinated by historical fiction that takes place in my lifetime. On the one hand, it takes me back to my youth where I can re experience the events I lived through. On the other, novels like this show me this time through the eyes of someone who inhabited a vastly different reality. Because of this, they expand my perceptions so that I experience and understand my own history anew. Sophie, her older sister, Lily, and their parents live in Los Angeles in 1965. They are a well to do black family who have just moved into a primarily white neighbourhood. Their parent's relationship is tenuous. Both are well educated professionals. Their absent, philandering father is a defence attorney, and their controlling mother runs an art gallery. Sophie has a lot to deal with as she anticipates Lily leaving at the end of the summer to go away to college. The story begins with the family hiring a new housekeeper, Mrs Baylor. Sophie and Mrs Baylor don't hit it off. Sophie misses their previous housekeeper while Mrs Baylor assumes that Sophie thinks she is better than her because her skin is lighter. Skin color, and shades of color play a significant role in this novel. Lily passes as white and manages to get a job in a salon that is reputed to not hire colored people. When Lily begins a relationship with Nathan, Mrs Baylor's son, their mother does not approve. She claims that it is because they are too different, but the reality is that Nathan, who is a student at Berkeley, has darker skin. The two continue a clandestine relationship that Sophie keeps secret. Nathan introduces the girls, both advertently and inadvertently, to new ways of looking at themselves in relation to the white world around them. The backdrop of the Watts Riots show them that no matter how well off they are, and where they live, they are not immune to the racism that surrounds them.Sophie's best friend, Jennifer, is a white girl who lives across the street. She sticks up for Sophie when a group of other white girls reveal their racism. When Jennifer befriends one of these girls, Sophie begins to understand that Jennifer really doesn't understand what life is like for her.Karen English has created a brilliant cast of complex characters. They are fully realized, nuanced people, flaws and all. She manages to highlight their humanity, no matter what happens. I appreciate that Jennifer and her family try hard to not see skin color as an issue, but that we also understand how impossible this is. It's only in the past few years that I have come to see my own ignorance in claiming to not see this difference. This is an important coming of age novel. Sophie has a lot to come to terms with: who she is and wants to be, her changing family circumstances, her sister leaving home, and what it means to her be a person of colour. At the same time, it's sure to educate and open the eyes of readers as well.The best books are those that transform the way you see the world. This is one of those. It begs to be paired with The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas.
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  • Lynn
    July 24, 2017
    I rad another book by Karen English that was for younger kids; about late 1st, 2nd grade and wrote a a negative review because it was so sparse and to me uninteresting. It was a beginning reader's book about skateboarding and pretty thin. Now I feel guilty, the novel, It All Comes Down To This is for 5-7 graders and is so well written and a beautiful story. It takes place in 1965 and is about a well off African-American family who dares to move into a white neighborhood and suffers the consequen I rad another book by Karen English that was for younger kids; about late 1st, 2nd grade and wrote a a negative review because it was so sparse and to me uninteresting. It was a beginning reader's book about skateboarding and pretty thin. Now I feel guilty, the novel, It All Comes Down To This is for 5-7 graders and is so well written and a beautiful story. It takes place in 1965 and is about a well off African-American family who dares to move into a white neighborhood and suffers the consequences of racism in a quiet passive way. The parents are professionals who seem to be able to see their old friends and are willing to meet new people. But the daughters have limited friends in school because they are "colored" and don't always get chosen for extra-curricular activities even though they play instruments and participate in drama. The eldest daughter Lily is expected to attend a Negro College, Spellman in the Fall although it is not her first choice because her mother is intent that she attend. Lily is also very light skinned and is mistaken for a white girl often which causes trouble for her and those around her. Their housekeeper has a son, Nathan, who is also a star student and is attending UC Berkley when he leaves in September. Lily and Nathan fall in love just when Mother moves out because father is dating another woman and has been rather open about his escapes in the town. The two daughters are left to fend for themselves mostly and expected to make good choices. The 14 year old goes through her first period alone without a parent to talk to. What I admired in this novel is how Karen French made the setting believable, I have seen numerous TV shows, movies and novels lately try to set themselves in the 60s and 70s by dropping names, places and famous happenings which sounds awkward and bothersome. The setting is well integrated into the story as the story is well integrated in setting. The characters are well developed and the events seem realistic too. There aren't many YA novels like this anymore. Many seem to be written according to a pattern that occurs over and over again and uses stilted language to give a lower lexile score. This novel feels natural like the author wasn't told to write for a lower reading score or use certain phrases or name drop to sound cool. It really good.
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  • Suzanne
    July 10, 2017
    Sophie is 12 yrs old, loves to read and a bit of a loner. Her family has just moved into an upper middle class Los Angeles neighborhood and they are the only black family around. They were the only black family in their last neighborhood also, so Sophie has grown up aware of her differences. The arrival of a new live-in housekeeper, who swiftly explains that Sophie's light brown skin color would cause Africans to kill her on sight, coupled with her older sister's impending departure for college, Sophie is 12 yrs old, loves to read and a bit of a loner. Her family has just moved into an upper middle class Los Angeles neighborhood and they are the only black family around. They were the only black family in their last neighborhood also, so Sophie has grown up aware of her differences. The arrival of a new live-in housekeeper, who swiftly explains that Sophie's light brown skin color would cause Africans to kill her on sight, coupled with her older sister's impending departure for college, place new pressures on Sophie. Then her parents' marriage erupts and her sister falls in love with the housekeeper's son despite her mother's best intentions. When will Sophie ever get time to read a good book without interruption? Will she ever make a friend all her own? This is such a wonderful book! Set in 1965, the story is as apt today as the time period in which it is written. Readers can learn much about Sophie's exploration of family, self and time while comparing it to current events. The book is perfect for middle grade readers, especially those with an interest in history and current events. I received my copy from the publisher through NetGalley.
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  • Renee
    February 13, 2017
    It’s the summer before her freshmen year in high school in 1965. Sophie is planning on writing, hanging out with friends and just having a good time, but life and the rest of the world starts to get in the way her plans. First, the reality of racism really starts to set in for Sophie as she continually encounters prejudice in her almost all-white community; from being uninvited to pool parties to being accused of stealing. Her parents aren’t much help because they’re busy with their own lives an It’s the summer before her freshmen year in high school in 1965. Sophie is planning on writing, hanging out with friends and just having a good time, but life and the rest of the world starts to get in the way her plans. First, the reality of racism really starts to set in for Sophie as she continually encounters prejudice in her almost all-white community; from being uninvited to pool parties to being accused of stealing. Her parents aren’t much help because they’re busy with their own lives and trying to salvage their marriage. Luckily, her older sister is always has her back, but that will change at the end of the summer when her sister leaves for college. Suddenly life isn’t as clear cut as she thought it was and once a close friend is arrested for no reason Sophie finds herself questioning things event more. An excellent piece of historical fiction that rings very true in today’s world.
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  • Maha Haggouch
    July 23, 2017
    i recieved a digital review copy from the publisher through netgalley in exchange of an honest review.IT ALL COMES DOWN TO THIS, by karen english is one of the cutest yet most important reads i've ever read. aside from the fact that the writing felt repetitive at times, i found myself really enjoying it (even though it took me ten days to read it but let's not talk about that).this novel is about racism, and all that goes with it, but it's also about, growing up, becoming a teenager, and all the i recieved a digital review copy from the publisher through netgalley in exchange of an honest review.IT ALL COMES DOWN TO THIS, by karen english is one of the cutest yet most important reads i've ever read. aside from the fact that the writing felt repetitive at times, i found myself really enjoying it (even though it took me ten days to read it but let's not talk about that).this novel is about racism, and all that goes with it, but it's also about, growing up, becoming a teenager, and all the change girls experience in that special period. and i found myself relating to sophie, the main character, on the last part. it's really relevant for pre-teens to know more about this, if not from their parents, from novels, or media in general.i can't judge the representation in this book, but the story was very enjoyable and i'm glad i read this book.
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  • Carli
    July 5, 2017
    This is a great choice for libraries looking to add diverse titles to their YA collections. Sophie is twelve and adjusting to being the new black kid in her almost entirely white neighborhood. Mix in her parents' rocky marriage, her older sister learning who she wants to be as she prepares to leave for college, and riots erupting in the city, and you get a summer of self discovery. It is very well done, and a must read for older middle school students. Thanks to Clarion and HMH for the ARC!
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  • Mary Lee
    June 21, 2017
    This book was a 4 or 5 star for the window (for me, a white reader) into the life of an upper-middle class black family in LA in the summer of 1965 when the Watts riots took place. However, the story was slow because of some plot lines that seemed unnecessary.Fifty-some years and not much has changed. Or perhaps change is happening, but just too snail's pace slowly.
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  • Pam
    July 25, 2017
    Set in LA in 1965 just prior and during the Watts riot.Historical fiction describing life for a black family living in a white neighborhood. Captures the tensions of the time in subtle ways.Shows family dynamics of a typical family.
  • Ms. Yingling
    April 5, 2017
    E ARC from NetgalleySophie has just moved to a mainly white neighborhood of Los Angeles. Luckily, she has a friend nearby, Jennifer, who is happy to stick up for Sophie when neighbor girls won't include Sophie. It's still a difficult summer, however. Sophie loves to write, and is working on a book about her father's half sister. No one talks about her, but she was an "outside child". This makes Sophie even more upset when she sees her lawyer father with another woman. Her sister Lily is off to S E ARC from NetgalleySophie has just moved to a mainly white neighborhood of Los Angeles. Luckily, she has a friend nearby, Jennifer, who is happy to stick up for Sophie when neighbor girls won't include Sophie. It's still a difficult summer, however. Sophie loves to write, and is working on a book about her father's half sister. No one talks about her, but she was an "outside child". This makes Sophie even more upset when she sees her lawyer father with another woman. Her sister Lily is off to Spelman college in the fall, and is working at a boutique where she is passing for white. There is a new housekeeper, Mrs. Baylor, with whom Sophie doesn't get along-- Mrs. Baylor has told her that in Africa, Sophie's light skin might get her killed! Mrs. Baylor's son Nathan is painting the house, and Lily is attracted to him. Lily's mother, who managed to become a successful professional despite being raised in an impoverished sharecropping family, forbids this. Lily and Jennifer both want to try out for a local play, and Sophie thinks she has a good chance. When the Watts riots occur, Sophie's family is more impacted by this than she could imagine, and Sophie learns some tough life lessons about race and prejudice during this point in US history. Strengths: This is a book that was definitely needed! How have there never been any middle grade books about the Watts Riots? The setting of this is brilliant, and I suspect that there might be an autobiographical component to this. Sophie is a wonderful character, and her friendship with Jennifer rings very true; Jennifer's family tries very hard to be "color blind", but that is a difficult task to accomplish even under the best of times. The issue of light skinned versus dark skinned black people is addressed in a very effective way, as is the feeling of some blacks at the time that their education and work ethic should be enough to make them successful, and that they shouldn't have to worry about issues of race. Hard to explain, but the book covers a lot of difficult, nuanced issues in a very effective way. Not only that, but it's just an interesting story about a tween girl. Weaknesses: This on the longer side and has so many issues that it covers. I wish that some things, like the father's infidelity and half sister, had been left out so that the book could have focused more on Sophie's struggles with her own identity. What I really think: Definitely purchasing and am SO glad to have this for our 1960s unit! English's Niki and Deja books are ones that many of my readers have picked up in elementary school, so it's fantastic to see an older middle grade title from her!
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  • Laurie
    January 29, 2017
    I really enjoyed this relatable historical novel. Sophie's perspective is interesting because she has been sheltered in some ways from discrimination; it's both powerful and heartbreaking to watch her come to realize that there are opportunities and privileges that people will not give her, simply because of her race. I also love the way English explores Sophie's older sister Lily's romance with a much less sheltered black college boy from Sophie's point of view. This is an engaging story that b I really enjoyed this relatable historical novel. Sophie's perspective is interesting because she has been sheltered in some ways from discrimination; it's both powerful and heartbreaking to watch her come to realize that there are opportunities and privileges that people will not give her, simply because of her race. I also love the way English explores Sophie's older sister Lily's romance with a much less sheltered black college boy from Sophie's point of view. This is an engaging story that brings the time of the Watts riots to life for young readers.
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