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Sophie Steps Up

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Overview

Sophie La Croix is a creative soul with a desire to become a great film director someday, and she definitely has a flair for drama! Her overactive imagination frequently lands her in trouble, but her faith and friends always save the day. This bindup includes two-books-in-one, Sophie Under Pressure and Sophie Steps Up.

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Sophie Steps Up

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Overview

Sophie La Croix is a creative soul with a desire to become a great film director someday, and she definitely has a flair for drama! Her overactive imagination frequently lands her in trouble, but her faith and friends always save the day. This bindup includes two-books-in-one, Sophie Under Pressure and Sophie Steps Up.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780310738510
  • Publisher: Zonderkidz
  • Publication date: 4/23/2013
  • Series: Faithgirlz! Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 1,214,958
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Nancy Rue has written over 100 books for girls, is the editor of the Faithgirlz Bible, and is a popular speaker and radio guest with her expertise in tween and teen issues. She and husband, Jim, have raised a daughter of their own and now live in Tennessee.

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Read an Excerpt

Sophie Steps Up

Faithgirlz!
By Nancy Rue

ZONDERKIDZ

Copyright © 2013 Nancy Rue
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-310-73851-0


Chapter One

Sunlight hit Sophie LaCroix smack in the eyes as she and her dad stepped from the NASA building.

Solar rays, Sophie corrected herself. If she was going to make a movie about outer space, she was going to have to start thinking more scientifically.

Her dad grabbed her elbow—just before she stepped off the curb into the employees' parking lot.

"Let me at least get you to the car before you go off into La-La Land," Daddy said.

Sophie gave him her wispy smile. Not because he was right about La-La Land. Her daydreams were much more sophisticated than that. She grinned because he was grinning, instead of scolding her for not paying attention to her surroundings, the way he used to do.

"Sorry," Sophie said. "Did I almost get run over?"

"Not this time," Daddy said. He imitated her high-pitched voice, but that was okay too. His eyes were doing the good kind of teasing.

Sophie hoisted her pretty-skinny, short self up into Daddy's black Chevrolet pickup that he called the Space Mobile and whipped the light brown strands of her down-to-the-shoulders hair off her face.

I'm going to have to wear it in a braid if I'm going to play an astronaut in the movie, she thought. You can't have a bunch of hair flying around in your space helmet.

Did they call them helmets? Would hair actually fly around with that no-gravity thing they were talking about?

Sophie sighed as she adjusted her glasses. There was so much she was going to have to find out.

"All right, dish, Soph," Daddy said. "Your mind's going about nine hundred miles an hour."

"No, the speed of light—which is faster than anything."

Daddy arched a dark eye brow over his sunglasses as he passed through the NASA gate. "Somebody was paying attention."

"Okay, so what does NASA stand for again?" Sophie said.

"National Aeronautics and Space Administration."

"Oh." Sophie spun that out in her head. "Then it should be NAASA."

Daddy shook his head. "That would sound like a sheep. Naaa."

"What's 'aeronautics'?" She knew she could ask her best friend, Fiona, who knew what every word in life meant, but there was no time to waste. There was a film to be made.

"It's anything that has to do with making and flying aircraft," Daddy said.

Sophie decided she and the Corn Flakes would probably stick to the space part, which had real possibilities.

"Anything else you need to know for your report?" Daddy said.

"My what?"

"Your report. You know—Kids Go to Work with Dads Day. Don't you have to write up something for school?"

"Oh," Sophie said. "Yeah."

Daddy gave her a sideways glance. "Don't think I don't know what's going on in there," he said. He tapped her lightly on the forehead. "You can make your movie. Matter of fact, I WANT you to so you won't leave the planet when you're supposed to be doing your schoolwork."

Sophie nodded. The only reason he had given her the video camera was so she would spin out her dreams on film instead of letting them draw her right out the window when she was in class.

"Can I trust you to do your report as soon as you get home, without my having to check it?"

"No," Sophie said. "You better check it."

Dad chortled. That was the way Fiona always described it when Sophie's dad laughed.

Yeah, Fiona was definitely good with words. Sophie wanted to get her started writing the script right away. And Maggie would need plenty of time to work on costumes. And Kitty had to get the graphics going—

"Earth to Sophie." Daddy landed the truck in the driveway, and Sophie reentered the atmosphere.

"The report. By nineteen hundred hours."

Sophie did a quick calculation in her head. "Seven o'clock," she said.

"Roger," Daddy said.

"Over and out."

Sophie tried to keep a very scientific face as she ran into the house, headed for the stairs. If she didn't stay completely focused, nineteen hundred hours was going to come and go—and so would the video camera. "Hi, Mama, how are you?" Sophie's mom said sarcastically from the kitchen doorway. "Let me tell you about my day."

Sophie turned around, hand tight on the banister. Mama's brown-like-Sophie's eyes were shining at her, right out of the halo of her curly frosted hair. She looked impish—the way people often said Sophie herself did.

"Hi, Mama," Sophie said. She edged up another step. "I'll tell you all about it later. I have to get my report done."

"Sorry, Mama," Daddy said from behind Sophie's mom. "She has her orders."

Sophie's hand got even tighter on the banister as she watched the happy elf go back inside her mother, to be replaced by a stiff face.

"I see," she said. "You go on then, Dream Girl."

And then Mama turned back to the kitchen without even looking at Daddy.

Sophie hurried up the steps so she wouldn't have to hear the silence that was going to freeze up the whole kitchen. Every time Mama and Daddy were in the same room lately they turned into popsicles. It had been way back before Thanksgiving that she'd last heard them laugh together, and this was January. Sophie closed her bedroom door and headed for her bed—the best place for thinking in the whole entire galaxy. As soon as Daddy looked over her paper, she would have the all-clear to dream the dreams that had to come before Corn Flakes Productions—Sophie, Fiona, Kitty, and Maggie—could start on the film.

She sighed happily to herself as she pulled out her notebook, selected the blue-green gel pen—a very aeronautical color, she thought—and went to work.

At least it was Mr. Denton, the language arts teacher, she was writing for. He liked it when she wrote about things just the way she saw them. In blue-green words, she took him all the way through the huge telescope where you could see the craters of the moon like they were right next door—and the robotic arm they were building to capture satellites from space shuttles and work on them—and the plants that had actually been grown in space.

She polished it off with the best part: the simulated space station. She'd learned that "simulated" meant it was a fake but it was just like the real thing. She'd been allowed to go into that and see how it orbited all the time and what kind of experiments they did in there in microgravity. She hadn't even heard of microgravity before, and now she could imagine herself in it—and that was when what she was supposed to do next hit her.

I know now, Sophie wrote in her final paragraph, that I am called to make a major film about a brave girl astronaut named—

Sophie paused, gel pen poised over paper. She didn't quite have the name yet. Daddy would still let it pass without that one detail.

It is my responsibility to put what I have learned on film, she wrote on, so that others may have their eyes opened—THAT was brilliant—to the wonderful world of outer space.

She signed her name with a flourish and sank back into the pillows to survey her work. There were probably some words spelled wrong, she knew that. She wasn't that good of a student yet—even though she had come a way-long way since she'd started at Great Marsh Elementary back in September. Back then she had been failing, but that was before she started seeing Dr. Peter. He was her therapist, and he was a Christian like her, and he could help her with ANY problem.

Sophies at up and cocked an ear toward her door. On the other side of it she could hear her older sister, Lacie, clamoring up the stairs with her basketball and her gym bag and her backpack full of honors classes books. In the way-far background, her five-year-old brother, Zeke, was watching SpongeBob and yelling out "SquarePants" every couple of minutes.

But other than that, the house was too quiet.

I wonder if Dr. Peter could tell me why Mama and Daddy don't seem to like each other that much anymore, Sophie thought.

But it was a cold thought she couldn't hold without feeling shivers.

Tossing her glasses aside and closing her eyes, Sophie went back to NASA in her mind, back to the space station where the girl astronaut had come into her imagination straight out of the stratosphere—the absolute highest part of the earth's atmosphere—

Stratosphere! Sophie thought. That's her—my—last name. No, too long. How about Stratos for short?

Perfect. After that the first name came easy. Stellar. Like the stars. No, make that Stella.

Stella Stratos. Astronaut Stella Stratos.

Astronaut Stella Stratos looked up from the complicated calculations on her computer screen to see one of her assistants standing in the doorway of the simulator.

"Can't you see I'm working?" Stella said to the clueless young woman.

"No, I can see you're going loopy again."

Sophie blinked. It was Lacie, combing out her wet, curly dark hair and giving Sophie her usual you-are-such-anairhead look from narrowed blue eyes.

"Who are ya today?" Lacie said. Then without waiting for an answer, she said, "Come on; Mama's got dinner ready."

I wonder what they eat when they're traveling in outer space, Sophie thought as she followed Lacie downstairs. There was so much to learn.

Which was why she was ready to get the Corn Flakes right on it the next morning when they met, as always, at the swings before school when there was good weather—a way-rare thing in Virginia in January. It was perfect for thoughts of filming.

Before they were all even settled into their swings, Sophie was spilling out everything that had happened at NASA. She skimmed the soles of her boots over the slushy puddle that had formed under her swing.

"What's going on?" she said. "Y'all are looking at me weird."

"It isn't weirdness," Fiona said. "It's envy."

She cocked her head at Sophie so that one panel of golden-brown hair fell over a gray eye. Her usually creamy-coffee skin was chappy-red with the cold.

"Envy?" Sophie said. That was a stretch, seeing how Fiona was way rich and had more stuff even than the Corn Pops did. Those were the popular girls who practically wore their clothes inside out so everybody could see their labels.

Fiona tightened the hood on her North Face jacket. "I had the most boring day in life yesterday. I couldn't go to work with my dad, so I went with my mom."

"But your mom's a doctor," Kitty said. Her blue eyes were wider than they were most of the time. Everything surprised Kitty. She really was like a cat.

Fiona twitched her eyebrows. "That means she sees patients all day long—and that means I had to sit in the office with her receptionist and see her like once every twenty minutes. At lunchtime, I called my Boppa to come pick me up."

"Yeah," Maggie said. "That's boring." She spoke in her thud-voice, so that every word came out like the final say on just about anything. Sophie sometimes wondered if that was because Maggie was Cuban, and English wasn't her native language. Fiona always said it was just because Maggie was bossy.

"Mine was even boringer than yours," Kitty said. She was starting to whine, and she flipped her ponytail. She did both of those things a lot. "I didn't get to spend that much time with my dad either, since he's a pilot."

"You didn't get to go up in a plane?" Sophie said.

"She couldn't," Maggie said. "It's the Air Force. They don't let civilians fly in their planes."

"How do YOU know, Maggie?" Fiona said.

It's only 8:15 in the morning, Sophie thought, and they're already getting on each other's nerves.

"What about you, Maggie?" Sophie said.

Maggie shrugged. "Since I don't have a dad I went to work with my mom, but that was no big deal because I go to work with her every Saturday."

"But she does such cool stuff!" Sophie said. Maggie's mother was a tailor, and she made all the costumes for their films. Sophie thought Senora LaQuita was the most talented Cuban woman she'd ever met. Actually, she was the only Cuban woman she'd ever met.

"So you see why we have father-envy, Soph," Fiona was saying. "You had the best day of any of us."

"I bet I know what you're going to say, Sophie," Maggie said.

"No, you don't, Maggie," Fiona said. "Nobody knows what somebody else is thinking."

"She's going to say she wants to make a movie about astronauts," Maggie said.

Sophie looked at Fiona. "That WAS what I was going to say."

The bell rang, telling them they only had five minutes to get to first period. "You don't get to say anything now," Maggie said. "We have to go."

"She KNOWS that," Fiona said.

But she didn't get to say anything else, because as Sophie gave one more swing before she got out, the earth seemed to give way under her.

Actually, it was the seat of the swing, and before Sophie could even imagine herself falling through space, she was sitting—hard—in the ice-slushy puddle.

Chapter Two

Sophie was scrambling to her feet even before Kitty and Fiona could stick their hands down and haul her up. She could feel the cold muckiness on the seat of her brand-new jeans. It wasn't hard to picture the embroidered flowers on the pockets with mud caked between their petals.

"Oh, man!" she wailed. "This feels disgusting!"

"Are you okay?" Kitty said. She was whining louder than Sophie.

"I just feel gross!"

"It isn't that bad," Fiona said—without even looking at the back of Sophie's jeans.

Maggie did. She looked soberly at Sophie and said, "Yes, it is. You've got mud all the way down to your ankles. It even got on your coat."

"Enough already!" Fiona said. She glared at Maggie as she peeled off her own jacket. "Tie this around your waist and nobody will even notice 'til we get to the office."

"Yes, they will," Maggie said. "She's dripping on the ground."

"That's gonna leave a trail," Kitty put in.

"Would you two cease and desist?" Fiona said. Sophie knew she meant "Shut up!"

"Just walk tall and stare straight ahead," Fiona whispered to Sophie as she guided her through the doors into the school.

"This is so embarrassing," Sophie whispered back.

"Not if nobody sees you."

Fat chance. Of course the first people they saw were Anne-Stuart, Willoughby, B.J., and Queen Bee Julia—the Corn Pops. They were popular—which was why the Corn Flakes called them Pops—and as far as the CFs were concerned, they were pretty corny as well. When the Corn Pops had once referred to Sophie and her friends as "flakes," they adopted the name proudly. At least it made them different from THOSE girls.

THOSE girls were currently staring with their hands over their lip-glossy mouths. They didn't say anything, because they'd gotten in enough trouble for bullying the Corn Flakes before Christmas to keep them watching their backs until they went to college. Even Ms. Quelling, the social studies teacher who thought they were perfect, now kept her eye on them.

As Sophie squished toward the office, Willoughby Wiley, as usual, giggled out of control in a voice so shrill it set Sophie's nose hairs on end. Julia Cummings, who stood a head taller than all of them like an imperious monarch (Fiona's words), had her eyes slit downward in scorn for her subjects.

At her side was her handmaiden, B.J. Freeman, whose eternally red cheeks appeared to be on fire with the sheer triumph of seeing Sophie humiliated.

The only one even pretending to show sympathy was Anne-Stuart Riggins. But that was the way with Anne-Stuart, Sophie reminded herself as she sloshed past. She snorted in Sophie's direction, her powder-blue eyes watering with what was either held-back laughter or some pretty hideous allergies. Sophie wished she would sneeze her brains out right now.

"Why did THEY have to be here?" Sophie muttered to Fiona as they passed.

"They're always where you don't want them to be," Fiona muttered back. "Ignore them. They're so not worth it."

But it was almost impossible to ignore a knot of sixth-grade boys who stood just beyond the office door like they were holding up the wall. They were all wearing baggy jeans big enough for Sophie's entire family, as well as baggy T-shirts and high-tech tennis shoes, and they had short haircuts that outlined the shapes of their heads—the only thing that was different among them.

Eddie Wornom, Sophie knew, was the one with the big ol' square head over his bruiser of a body. He was clapping like an ape. Sophie expected a swearword to slip out of his mouth any minute, which always happened when he was excited.

The one with the long head was Colton Messik. His ears stuck out like open car doors, and he was always pretending he was shooting a basketball. Right now he was too hysterical for that.

And then there was the third kid, Tod Ravelli. He was like a male version of Julia, except he was short and had a head that came to a point in the front like he was from Whoville. Sophie always thought he could have been a model for one of Dr. Seuss's books.

But there was nothing funny about him in Sophie's world. He was looking at her now like she had dared crawl across his path in her state of degradation (Fiona again). "Who dragged you in?" he said.

"I did," Fiona said. "You got a problem with that?"

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Sophie Steps Up by Nancy Rue Copyright © 2013 by Nancy Rue. Excerpted by permission of ZONDERKIDZ. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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