Book Review & Giveaway: Newfangled by Kristin Spencer


Hi, everyone! This week I’m reviewing Newfangled by Kristin Spencer, a Christian contemporary novel for teen and preteen girls. Plus, I’m giving away a copy! You can find details about the giveaway at the end of the post. 🙂

TitleNewfangledPic: Newfangled

Kristin Spencer

Genre: Contemporary

*Note: I received a copy of Newfangled free from the author in exchange for an honest review*

Olive isn’t happy when her Christian school closes down and she has to start seventh grade…at a public school. She tries to be optimistic, but things soon go downhill when Jacey, one of the “mean girls” makes it her personal mission to humiliate Olive in every way possible. Throw in a first crush, an upcoming church play involving aliens, a tense situation  with one of her best friends, and a mystery at her dad’s job, and Olive realizes seventh grade is going to be…interesting.

Personally, I found Olive to be a character I could relate to. I’ve moved quite a bit, so I understand how frustrating it can be to start a new school (or youth group, in my case, being homeschooled). I’ve also had to deal with the mean girls.  I guess I’ve always been a little like Olive, preferring t-shirts sporting logos for my favorite movies over “trendy” clothes (although for the record, Star Wars, not Doctor Who, is my fandom of choice).

Newfangled includes some great themes, like forgiving your enemies, trusting God in all situations, obeying your enemies, being comfortable with who you are, and standing up for your faith even in the face of opposition. I appreciated that the Christian messages were crucial to the story line, and not skimmed over.

A common aspect of young adult and middle grade books is that the protagonist’s parents are usually absent from the story. With Newfangled, however, I love how Olive’s parents are very active in her life. When Olive is going through difficulties, she goes to her mom and dad for advice (although not always at first).

There were times where I felt like the reader was simply told about important conversations/events, rather than shown. There would be a brief summary that felt like “Oh, by the way, last week…” I wish I had actually gotten to see some of those events. And sometimes the characters would react to a situation in ways that didn’t seem realistic or natural. It wasn’t often, but every now and then I would stop and think, I don’t think most people would have that response to what so-and-so said/did like that. The occasional typo/inconsistency distracted me a bit.

Overall, despite a few complaints, I thought Newfangled was a cute read about a girl trying to navigate the difficulties of starting a new school. While many of the threads were resolved by the end of the book, a couple loose ends hint at an upcoming sequel. I do think Newfangled is intended for more of a pre-teen audience, but I still enjoyed it as an older teenager.

Now, for the giveaway contest! I’m going to be giving away a free paperback copy of Newfangled.  Whoever signs up for the e-mail newsletter between now and August 4th will be entered into a drawing. I’ll notify the winner privately via e-mail after the contest closes. 

Subscribing for the newsletter is super easy; you just have to enter your e-mail address in the form at the top of the right-hand sidebar. You’ll receive a confirmation e-mail. (Don’t worry–if you signed up last week, you’ll still be entered into the drawing!) 

Whether you’re in school or at work, have you ever dealt with bullying?

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  1. A GIVE AWAY?!
    EEKS!!! ???
    Okay, how do I sign up for the newsletter??
    And I was teased as a kid, but not necessarily bullied, so…

    1. Don’t worry; you’re already signed up (it’s just the thing where you enter your e-mail address to receive notifications whenever I do a new post). 🙂

  2. I was bullied in school and it can make life seem lonely. Luckily, I had a good group of friends I could lean on when things got tough. If you are a kid or adult who is being bullied find someone you can talk to for advice. Don’t try to go through it alone.

      1. I wonder why teens rarely tell due to not wanting to tattle. I mean, think about it! When someone gets robbed, what do they do? They tell? When someone gets murdered, what do we do? We tell! We tattle more as adults than we do as teens! ?

        1. Yeah, I think oftentimes no one wants to tell because they’re afraid that the bullying will only get worse.

  3. I think that everyone can relate to someone they know that was a bully in their lives.And I remember all their names and the circumstances—-so it must have made an impression. There are all degrees and means of doing the bully efforts—-but I think it is a little better than it use to be!

    1. I think social media has made bullying easier than it used to be, but I also think there’s been more awareness about it in recent years. People are definitely talking about it more and trying to find solutions to the problem. And it is sad how (I think this is true for everyone) one person’s unkind words can affect us so much! It’s crazy to think that we often dwell more on that mean thing someone said years ago than on what the Bible says about us. God loves us and He created us with a purpose.

      1. I know, right?
        The thing I can’t help but wonder is why? Why do the mean words hurt so much we often forget what God says about us? I think part of it is that we can’t see God, but we can see who’s bullying us.

  4. I don’t think I was bullied persay, but there were certainly girls who would make mean comments about things like my thrift store clothes. It made me a bit of a loner during those years, but it also helped me realize that sometimes God is the only one there for you. Even when others focus on your outward appearance, God is looking at the condition of your heart. And He’s the only one we should worry about pleasing, even though it’s hard to remember that when faced with people who say unkind things. Newfangled sounds like a book many people would be able to relate to.

    1. Indeed it is. I’ll have to remember this as I get into the manga industry…
      I think a lot of people will, even if they haven’t gone to a public school yet.
      Eesh, I’m glad I didn’t go. ?

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