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?
This book opens with a scenario I’m sure many readers, both young and older, will be very familiar with – the first day at secondary school. Sam is filled with nerves, she’s the only one from her old school going to this school – it’s a private school that her parents have saved to be able to afford, whereas all of her friends are going to the local school. Within the first few pages (and hours at school) Sam has fallen victim to the class bully and her friends. The book then goes on to chronicle how Sam deals with being bullied, both making good friends and building her confidence to follow her dream of being on the stage.
Sam is a very sweet, somewhat sheltered girl. She’s very family orientated and has clear interests that may not match those of all of her peers, but she doesn’t let this bother her. It was quite refreshing to see a very unstreetwise character like Sam. Her two friends, Chloe and Anna also seemed sweet though Anna didn’t get to play much of a part. I liked the supportive role Georgina and Joseph played for Sam, though I felt their advice to her probably didn’t go as far as it perhaps should of. Chloe’s older brother Nick was a character I found really interesting, I would have liked to find out more about him, but I can see that there was no space really for that within the book.
I quite enjoyed reading this book, but I did find sometimes that the dialogue felt a little stilted. Sam also came across as quite old-headed at times, but then some children are. I enjoyed the performing arts plot line that ran through the book, as someone who has been involved with performing arts for years I could identify with a lot of Sam’s experiences.
I’m sure this book will be enjoyed by its target age group, and that the message it carries will help children who are being bullied.
New Beginnings is published in paperback and eBook by Grimoire in the UK from 23rd January 2012. Whilst I was provided with a review copy of the book all of the opinions expressed are my own.