Marshmallow reviews Soof by Sarah Weeks

A few months ago Marshmallow reviewed Save Me A Seat, a 2016 novel by Sarah Weeks and Gita Varadarajan. Today she wanted to talk about Soof, a 2018 book by Sarah Weeks that she has read recently. As this was an exceptionally busy week for Marshmallow, Sprinkles is taking notes and asking questions.

Marshmallow reviews Soof by Sarah Weeks.
Marshmallow reviews Soof by Sarah Weeks.

Sprinkles: So Marshmallow, tell me a bit about this book.

Marshmallow: Soof is about a girl named Aurora. Aurora has grown up hearing about this girl named Heidi, who brought Aurora’s family a lot of good luck. Heidi was apparently the main character of another book Sarah Weeks wrote, and in Soof, Heidi is now a grownup and is pregnant. She’s going to come to visit Aurora’s parents, and so Aurora is feeling a bit weird about it all. She is excited to meet this Heidi. but she is also a bit jealous of how much her mom likes her. I think this is totally understandable, because her mom and her dad keep telling her about Heidi and how she seemed to bring good luck to the people around her. And Aurora, she doesn’t feel lucky at all. Especially when her house burns down and she loses her dog.

S: Hmm, that is quite a setup for a story. I did not know this book was a sequel. Did you read that other book?

M: No. But it does not seem necessary to have read that first book. (I think its name is So B. It.) I thought the story stood on its own.

S: Hmm, sometimes authors like a character in a story and then bring them back to life in different ways in other books. Maybe that was what happened here too. A girl who brings good luck would be a good plot device I’d say.

M: Well, I don’t want to say she brings good luck, and I don’t think it is magic or anything. It’s just that she is extremely lucky. But anyways, the story is mainly about Aurora and her life.

S: And Aurora is not very lucky and she is curious to meet Heidi but also slightly jealous. Okay, I think I get it. So now you have to tell me, what is the meaning of the word in the title?

M: Soof apparently means love. One of the main plot lines is for Aurora to learn what soof really means.

Marshmallow is reading Soof by Sarah Weeks.
Marshmallow is reading Soof by Sarah Weeks.

S: Looking it up online there seems to be some explanation of that in the first book too, so maybe it was good you had not read that one.

M: Yes, I actually found it interesting to meet Heidi from Aurora’s perspective. I’m intrigued by the other story too. Apparently they made a movie about it. Shall we put in the trailer here?

S: Sure.

Trailer for the 2017 movie So B. It, from YouTube.

M: I think we should tell our readers that there is a movie named Soof too but it is not the same Soof.

S: Yes, I think that is a good idea. Okay, let us get back to the book. Did you like the book?

M: Yes. I liked the characters, I thought they were very realistic. I too would be kind of jealous if my mom kept talking about this other person Heidi who was so awesome.

S: Okay, I will keep that in mind. So was the book also funny?

M: Not really. I think it was more emotional than funny. But I did like it.

S: You have read and reviewed Save Me A Seat, which the author of Soof cowrote with someone else. Do you see any similarities between the two books?

M: I think they are quite different. I think the author was able to create a totally different story with totally different characters.

S: That is a good thing! They are both aimed towards middle grade readers. but other than that, the author is versatile enough to create totally independent stories. That is neat.

M: Yes. I think she actually has several other books besides these two. Her website is an interesting place to visit.

S: What would you like to ask her if you could?

M: I’d ask her where she got the ideas for all of Aurora’s quirks. She likes tapping her nose and things like that. I think it is interesting.

S: That’s a good question Marshmallow. And it is clear you enjoyed reading this book. I’m assuming you’d recommend it to other readers?

M: Certainly. I rate it 95%, only because Aurora feels so different from me, so I have some difficulty completely understanding her.

S: Well that’s fair. After all you are a little bunny and she is …

M: Yes. That must be it.

S: Okay, so let us wrap up this review then. What would you like to tell our readers?

M: Stay tuned for more amazing reviews from the book bunnies!

Marshmallow loved reading Soof by Sarah Weeks and rated it 95%.
Marshmallow loved reading Soof by Sarah Weeks and rated it 95%.

Marshmallow reviews Save Me A Seat by Sarah Weeks and Gita Varadarajan

Today Marshmallow chose to review Save Me A Seat, a 2016 novel by Sarah Weeks and Gita Varadarajan.

Marshmallow reviews Save Me A Seat by Sarah Weeks and Gita Varadarajan.
Marshmallow reviews Save Me A Seat by Sarah Weeks and Gita Varadarajan.

Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you like books about school and friendship, then this might be the book for you. 

Marshmallow’s Summary (with Spoilers): Joey’s friends move away at the same time that a new kid moves into town. The new kid Ravi has just moved to America from India. Joey hopes that the school bully Dillon (who calls Joey Puddy Tat and whom Joey suspects to be a kleptomaniac) will pick on the new kid. However, Dillon is also of Indian heritage, so Ravi wants to be friends with him.

Ravi does not know that Dillon is a bully. After Ravi answers a math problem on the board, Dillon trips Ravi, but pegs it on Joey. Also, when Ravi’s school materials fall to the ground, Joey and Ravi hit their heads when trying to pick them up. Joey considers befriending Ravi, but Ravi thinks that Joey has it in for him, and believes that Dillon is his friend. 

Ravi has an accent so his teacher, Mrs. Beam, thinks that he should go visit a special education teacher named Miss Frost. Joey has also been seeing Miss Frost, as he has Auditory Processing Disorder (APD). Ravi is angry that he is being sent to Miss Frost. He was top of his class in his previous school, and he has an IQ of 135, according to him. He believes that he is “not like” Joey. 

However, Ravi soon learns that Dillon is a bully when Dillon tricks him into trying meat, even though Ravi is a vegetarian. Dillon starts calling Ravi “Curryhead”. When this starts happening, Ravi realizes that at his school in India, he was like Dillon. He had bullied a student who had issues with reading. Ravi realizes that he is getting a taste of his own medicine.

Marshmallow is reading Save Me A Seat by Sarah Weeks and Gita Varadarajan.
Marshmallow is reading Save Me A Seat by Sarah Weeks and Gita Varadarajan.

Marshmallow’s Review: I think that an interesting feature of Save Me A Seat is that it is written in the perspective of two people. The chapters alternate between Ravi’s perspective and Joey’s. I believe that Sarah Weeks wrote the chapters for Joey, and Gita Varadarajan wrote the chapters for Ravi. This is similar to another book that I read, To Night Owl From Dogfish, where one author wrote the emails for one character, and the other author wrote the emails for the other. 

I think that the author for Ravi made an interesting choice. In Ravi’s chapter, the author tends to write lists like: 

“I want to say:
1. My English is fine.
2. I don’t need Miss Frost.
3. I was top of my class at Vidya Mandir.
But here is what I do instead:
1. Push up my glasses.
2. Rub my nose.
3. Sit down and fold my hands.”

(Vidya Mandir was his school in India.) It is interesting to see the events from the perspectives of both characters. For example, when Dillon trips Ravi, both Joey and Ravi retell the event differently.

Another interesting feature of the book is that all events take place in the course of one school week. The authors split the book into sections, one for every school day in the first week of school. The section titles tell the reader the day of the week and the school lunch that day (like Wednesday, Chili and Friday, Pizza). It gets you in the mood for school!

Marshmallow’s Rating: 95%.

Marshmallow rates Save Me A Seat by Sarah Weeks and Gita Varadarajan 95%.
Marshmallow rates Save Me A Seat by Sarah Weeks and Gita Varadarajan 95%.