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. 🙂
*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!)
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