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New Beginnings Paperback – 23 Nov 2011
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About the Author
Rebecca Emin is the mother of three small children. One of her flash stories has been published in the fundraising anthology 50 Stories for Pakistan, and two have been published in the anthology Shambelurkling and Other Stories. She also has several stories available via the Ether App for iPhone and iPod Touch. Rebecca Emin had stories published in four anthologies during 2011.
Top customer reviews
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Sam Hendry, comes across as a lovely normal polite, down to earth girl. Sam is 11 years old and with a passion for singing and acting, Sam has just left primary school and is not settled or happy at her posh new school. Sam is being bullied by Molly and her crew. As things get worse for Sam she decides to write everything down in a note book so she has a timeline when the time is right to confide in someone about Molly. I think this book has been handled sensitively and it was nice to see Sam making close friends with other people including hot Nathan. This wasnt totally focused on the bullying aspect which was nice as we saw Sam attending out of school clubs and going on a holiday with her family. Sam also used the internet to read up on bullying sites, which was an added useful tool as this could help somebody reading with simular problems to Sam. I felt this was being told from a younger persons point of view, which is so rightly should be as we are reading the story of an 11 year old. Great work from Rebecca Emin, looking forward to reading the next book.
Sam and her friends are very likeable characters, and it is very easy to identify with Sam's early adolescent problems. The lively story is very realistic and believable, and the reader gets caught up in wishing that things go well for Sam.
The book is probably best for children aged about 9-13, but as an adult, I thoroughly enjoyed it and had to keep on reading. It would be a wonderful book for girls and their mothers to read and discuss the problems of growing up. I found it absolutely charming.
In drawing on references that children and young people will recognise (High School Musical for example) New Beginnings is a snapshot of a specific time, which in time might perhaps date it. But, importantly, it gives the young reader something with which to identify. Like Sam, many young people will yearn for a laptop and internet connection. Like Sam, many will be fearful about making friends. And it is the issue of friendship which is this novel's strong point: we go on a journey with Sam through her uncertainties and anxieties. She makes friends in her form at school, and in other forms. She meets new friends on holiday. This will give children the courage to believe in themselves and make those connections that are so important in growing up. Also, vitally, Sam acts with integrity, which only makes us like her all the more.
My 12 year old daughter couldn't put this down and whizzed through it in a couple of days. I wanted to see for myself what she was enjoying so much. This is good old fashioned storytelling, with likeable, recognisable characters and a satisfying ending. What's not to like? Recommended for all children in the 7 to 12 year age group - it will probably appeal more to girls, although boys would also get much out of reading it. Oh, and the parents of kids in that age group too!
Sam Hendry is a good girl - polite, kind and passionate about singing and acting. She is also unhappy. Isolated at the posh new school her parents have struggled to send her to, she is picked on by a group of girls led by manipulative, damaged Molly. Her confidence undermined, Sam struggles to make friends and share her painful secret. But then she meets the mysterious and handsome Nathan, and a life-changing opportunity comes her way...
At first glance bullying might seem a rather depressing theme for a YA book, but as the title suggests Emin shows us that it need not be that way. Without ever ramming it down her reader's throat Emin successfully blends important information about bullying and how to tackle it with an engaging story with enough twists to keep young readers interested. Emin handles her protagonist's burgeoning sexual desire for Nathan well and I found the puppy love sections touching and believable, as were the sections set in theatre.
New Beginnings is a poignant and ultimately uplifting story. The subject is as important as ever given that it encroaches upon so many lives, and I'm sure this novel will resonate with many young readers. Do go and buy it.
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