New Girl by Joan B. Flood

New Girl by Joan B. Flood
Publisher: Musa Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (160 pgs)
Age Recommendation: 14+
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Peppermint

When Carly vowed things would be different, she had no idea how right she was.

Carly’s used to being the new girl in school. She knows how it always goes, but this time, she’s got a plan. Everything’s going to be different here.

But she doesn’t count on falling for Jane. Nor on the fact that Jane hates jocks like Carly. In fact, Jane hates almost everything that interests Carly, especially the quiet, mysterious Tommy Mack.

To make matters worse, she has to figure out where she stands on drugs, alcohol, and a new and different kind of loneliness. She’s spent most of her life passing through, now she has to learn what it takes to belong.

Being the new girl in school sucks, especially when you move around so frequently that you always seem to be the new girl. Carly has tried to make the best out of life, even if what she truly longs for is a stationary home where she can develop real friendships. As she enters Astoria High School she hopes that this will finally be the place she can call home for a while.

Carly may be a bit naive but she has a good heart and head on her shoulders. She has managed to stay grounded even if her father’s job forces them to continuously relocate. Add onto the fact that her father usually contributes or causes mass layoffs and you have a socially awkward life for a young teen girl to deal with. My heart really went out to Carly and her need to fit in. Every teenager wants to fit in and develop solid friendships, sometimes more than they want to breathe. Carly is at an age where relationships play a large role in not only her present life, but also in her future so I kept my
fingers cross that she could find a place where she truly belonged.

The romantic plot in this story is very G rated, as long as you are not squeamish about a gay relationship. I appreciated the fact that the author wrote Carly and Jane’s self discovery so tastefully. I got to experience the confusion a young girl can face when figuring out what she wants in a partner, and that the same issues arise in any relationship whether it be bisexual, straight, gay or anything in between.

While the relationship does play a role in the story it is not the main plotline. This story is really just about a girl trying to fit in and discovering who she is. I found it inspirational for young girls and boys who just want to know that they are not alone during this confusion time in life. As an adult it helped to remind me about what life was like at that age, and think about what my own children or either experiencing or may experience in the future, and think of ways it can help make it easier on them.

I found some of the relationships and connecions within this story a bit frail and confusing at times. While I do understand that Carly herself was also confused due to her lack of experience and age, I would like to have seen a bit more conviction in the development. For example, some of her friendships even in the end of the story were a bit undefined for me. Just a bit more understanding on where everyone stood would have been appreciated.

This story would not be appropriate for younger children because it does involve drugs. While they are not being used by any of the characters, it does discuss the usage and distribution of illegal drug use. Again, the author does this in a very tasteful manner and actually teaches a lesson about not only the use and selling of drugs but even about associating with
individuals who are involved in drugs. This would be a great story to open up a communication between parents and teens about drugs as well as peer-pressure. With so many life lessons this would be a great story for teens and parents to read together or separately.

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