Friday, 2 December 2011

Book Review - New Beginnings

Title: New Beginnings
Author: Rebecca Emin
Publisher: Grimoire Books
Release Date: 23 Jan 2012
ISBN-13: 978-1908375063

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 Review
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Sam doesn't want to change schools, but when her parents decide it's time she started private school she has to make the move. She's terrified she won't fit in and soon her worst fears are coming true. She gets picked out as a target by a bully and she starts to hate her time there, but then she meets a group that accepts her. Can she turn it round and be happy and can she achieve her dream of performing on stage.
This book is really short and sweet at only 150 pages I read it in just over 2 hours. Although I will admit I struggled to get into it. I wasn't sure how old Sam was meant to be at first and the conversations seemed very stilted. Everything sort of seemed summed up. It got the story across but I wanted more depth. 
This did get better as the story got on and it started to flow more, sort of as the character grew, so did the level of writing. 
The topic of Bullying is a very serious one and it is dealt with very well here. The book has lots of advice on how to get help and how to cope with it. I was slightly shocked that when Sam gets quite badly hurt her mum doesn't seem to question it too much. She jsut accepts Sam's blunt reply and doesn't even try to push it. I know when I fell over at school my mum would ask for every detail whether it was a result of bullying or not (lucky for me it wasn't but I have known some people that have)
There are lots of references to things that feature in modern day culture - tv shows etc and it made me smile as I read about the characters enjoying them, thinking 'I watch that!' as i did. I was surprised that though it was set in today's  culture, Sam hadn't used a computer much and her family didn't own one she could use, most kids today at least have access to one on a regular basic and are proficient at using them, especially at eleven, she would have been using them at school for years.
Overall this is a nice easy read, very short and simple with a good message and a deep understanding of what it can be like to be bullied. (I was never physically bullied at school but I did go through a phase where I was called names and it does hurt. I could feel Sam's emotions as she tried to deal with it and it offers a good message.)
I would have liked a bit more detail, longer conversations, maybe a bit more about Anna - her other friend, she didn't feature much and she felt like a bit of a spare part. But i did like Chloe - she made me laugh. And Nathan added a great other side to the story, I wanted to see more of him.
A good read for a lazy day inside hiding from the cold.

My Rating
I would give this book 7/10, short and sweet but maybe missing something.

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