Shades of Truth (Faithgirlz!) by Naomi Kinsman Reviewed by: Lori Twichell Genre: Young Adult Publisher: Zonderkidz Publication Date: November 7, 2011
Sadie Douglas isn’t quite ready for all of the changes that are happening in her young life. Her father just got a new job and that means moving away from everything and everyone she knows in California and going to the small town of Owl Creek, Michigan. Throw into the mix a sick mom that isn’t really around much anymore and you’ve got what could be a good recipe for disaster.
When Sadie arrives at her new home, she quickly realizes that it may be part of the United States, but it may as well be a whole new universe. Her plans to blend in and conquer ‘new kid syndrome’ go awry when she accidentally crosses the path of the local bully. That’s when she discovers that her dad’s job is not going to be nearly as easy as she’d first imagined. It seems that Sadie’s dad, as a mediator between hunters and government wildlife organizations, had walked into a highly volatile situation. This pretty much took away any advantage Sadie might have had when joining a brand new school dynamic. Her father was already a hated man around town and she ended up being in the middle just by being his daughter!
Kinsman’s writing in this series is open, honest and entertaining. My daughters (10 and 13) both enjoyed reading these books and as a parent, there was little I found to cause me any alarm. Sadie doesn’t have all of the answers and I think that’s a good thing to share with young people. It seems to be a trend in media these days that teenagers or young people drive the story and they know more or better than the adults around them. It’s refreshing for a teenager to see someone else who isn’t sure about the answers, and works to figure it all out.
I enjoyed these books as well. When I started reading (after hearing from my daughters that there were bears and bullies in the books) I wasn’t sure what I’d be getting into, but I was pleasantly surprised to see good characters, an interesting plot and fun dialogue.
The only thing that I thought some parents might have issues with is that it’s a non-traditional view of the Bible and God. I didn’t have issue with it, but I know that some might. The prayers, the leaders, and some of the situations in the book were definitely not traditional. God might be a good feeling that comes over you or a warm spot of sunlight that appears out of nowhere. This was not a problem for me as my girls are both grounded in a solid church and youth group and we discussed the books at length when they were done with them. I didn’t see it as a big issue, but I do know that some might have problems with this and wanted to make folks aware.
This book was the beginning of a fabulous journey for my daughters and I. We all enjoyed following Sadie’s journey and appreciated learning how she made friends and took things in stride. I think this would be a fabulous book for any tween or young teen looking for an entertaining read.
Rated G: Some of the scenes were intense and could be a little overwhelming for really young readers – but it’s perfectly appropriate for the recommended age of 9 and up.