Rebecca Emin’s New Beginnings is, in part, about the bullying a young girl receives at her new school. As such, it would be easy to exaggerate the bullying, to pit the nasty bully against the perfect victim.
Emin has not taken the easy way out. She describes the action realistically, believably, with a sure hand in the timing of the escalation of the bullying. Subtle at first, the bullying increases inexorably. Furthermore, Sam’s reluctance to tell a parent or teacher as well as how she eventually finds help ring true for any of us who have children of that age.
None of the characters is perfect, neither the parents nor the children. There is light and shadow in each character. Sam is not without friends, triumphs, or foibles. While the story shows her growth, she is a complex character at the beginning as well as at the end. Emin details very well the range of emotions that flood through the young teenager, giving reality to both the pleasant and unpleasant new feelings.
I very much enjoyed this book. I was distressed by Sam’s hurts and cheered by her victories. I would recommend New Beginnings to young people of both sexes, because Sam’s experience is in no way tied to her gender, but is universal. I would also recommend that parents read this book with their children, in order to begin a discussion that might not otherwise happen.
New Beginnings is available on Amazon through this link: http://tinyurl.com/3mrhygl