About the book:
Title: New Beginnings
Author: Rebecca Emin
Genre & Age Group: Contemporary, realistic fiction, middle grade
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?
Source: Thanks so much to Gingersnap Books for providing me with an e-ARC of this book via Netgalley!
How I Found Out About It: Netgalley
I have to admit, sometimes middle grade fiction has better morals and is much more thought-provoking than young adult fiction.
Having read and reviewed Rebecca Emin’s other book, When Dreams Come True, upon finding this book on Netgalley, I figured it would be a good idea to read it as well. And it was! I honestly had such a good time reading this book, and I know others will, too.
New Beginnings revolves around 11-year old Sam, who is starting a new school for seventh grade. She is really scared, as she hadn’t switched schools before, and feared rejection. Rejection was what she got… for a while. She then meets new friends Chloe and Anna at school, and Hannah and Nathan on a vacation, turning her frown upside down. As well as a student, Sam is also a passionate singer and actress, and takes lessons weekly. When an amazing opportunity strikes her, will she be able to pull down her Molly, her bully, and begin to feel more confident as a performer?
I absolutely adored EVERY SINGLE CHARACTER of this book (well, maybe except for Molly). All were very in-depth, super sweet and caring, and soooo adorable!😄
Sam, our protagonist, went through quite a lot of development throughout the story. She started off as an unsure, scared new student, but over time, she developed into a super confident girl with tons of amazing friends. As well, she seemed to have a humongous heart and really cared about others. I don’t think Sam would ever even hurt a fly, that’s how kind and caring she was!
Sam also had quite the group of friends to turn to, including Chloe and Anna from school (both super nice girls), and Nathan and Hannah (also both awesome) from her vacation to the beach, whom she continued to keep in touch with after the fact. I felt like all of them were seriously the truest of true friends, and that Sam will have them to count on for the rest of her life. All they did was bring her up and make her feel good about herself, which is what good friends do! THEY are the definition of friends, not some person you hang out with only because they make you look cool.
The best thing about this story for me was probably the oodles of messages it has to share. This book was a great example of pure, coming-of-age middle grade fiction, and I believe that anyone who reads it would find it quite hard to deny. It shows the effects of bullying and how you should stand up for yourself before it’s too late, how patience is a virtue, how confidence is the key to success, and much, much more.
Overall, this was a great story, and I really enjoyed my time reading it. I’d recommend it to any tween or teen looking for a story with great morals and amazingly-crafted characters, because anyone who lives for stories like that is bound to fall in love with this book, as well. And even if you don’t normally read those books… try this one, and discover yourself a New Beginning!😊
Rating: 4.25/5 Stars