Top positive review
Touching, uplifting tale about an important subject
17 November 2011
New Beginnings is Rebecca Emin's debut novel, and what a good debut it is. It transported me right back to my own school days and the horrid bunch of girls I was afraid of.
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.