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English teacher interested in language and culture, and also in fiction using magic, myth, folklore and the supernatural. Now teaching part-time in a Leicester Upper School (ages 14-19) and also writing for children, teens and teachers.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Family Friday: Review of Rebecca Emin's New Beginnings

This sweet story launches on Monday.

Author: Rebecca Emin
Title: New Beginnings
Genre: Children's Contemporary
Series: no
Publisher: Grimoire books
Published: 23 Jan 2012
Source: kindly received from the author

Find it at Goodreads

The blurb says:

Sam Hendry is not looking forward to starting at her new school. Things go from bad to worse as the day of truth arrives and all of her fears come true... and then some.

When Sam meets a different group of people who immediately accept her as a friend, she begins to feel more positive.

With her new friends and interests, will Sam finally feel able to face the bully who taunts her, and to summon up the courage to perform on stage?

My verdict: a lovely story conveying a clear message about bullying. Girls of around 8 and up will lap this up, absorbing its comfort and advice.
The story told here is charming and engaging. Sam is realistically drawn in her feelings and reactions and it is easy to empathise with her. The bullying is also conveyed realistically, both in terms of the way it builds and the way others react to it. Sam's interaction with the Bullying UK website to get advice is well integrated and clearly demonstrates to any readers in need of their support (or with friends who could use it) that they can be helpful. The novel avoids being overly didactic on what Sam 'should' do about her situation.

Sam's talent and love for singing and drama is a nice touch, which allows for some lighter episodes as well as opportunities for her to develop her confidence. It is important in children's books that the child protagonist solves their own problems and this is particularly difficult in bullying stories, where the best real world advice is to seek adult help and not to fight back. Sam's talent and the increasingly positive feedback she gets for it help her to gain confidence and feel able to begin to take control.

Overall, this sweet story will engage its intended age group, whether or not they have experience of being bullied, but it will be particularly valuable to any girl who is currently being bullied.

Edited to add: Pop back on Monday when Rebecca is celebrating her launch with a blog splash and some exciting competitions!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for taking the time to read my book, and also for the lovely review.


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