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About the Book:
The first book in an exciting new series about a girl with dreams to become an investigative journalist, each book promises to touch on a crime straight from the headlines, while also tackling tough issues faced by middle-schoolers everywhere.
A new addition to the Faithgirlz! trusted brand of books introduces readers to Sam Sanderson, an independent, resourceful, tech-savvy cheerleader and aspiring journalist, and Sam’s best friend Makayla. They’re ordinary 7th graders who enjoy shopping, texting, and going to the mall-along with sniffing out the next big mysteries to report in the school paper.
In this first book of the series, Sam gets the lead on a developing and controversial story when an explosive device is discovered in a local movie theater-controversial because this movie theater has recently come under attack by a renowned, outspoken atheist, for allowing a local church to show Christian movies at the theater. Sam’s family has always been strong in their walk with the Lord, and Sam knows what she believes, but for the first time her faith is really put to the test, especially when she compromises her ethics as a journalist when she reports on the case her father is overseeing for the police.
I’m going to admit it’s hard for me to read and write a review on a book that is geared toward the pre-teen age however I requested this book as I knew my daughters would probably like it and since it’s hard to find Christian fiction books at the libraries we frequent I thought it would be good to request this one. I really thought Sam was a bit annoying (even my 12 year old thought the same thing) constantly eavesdropping in the name of ‘good reporting’ and not respecting other peoples privacy and then when she’d get called on it try to excuse her behavior. I kept waiting for her teacher, her dad and even the Principal to give her some consequence besides removing her article from the school’s newspaper blog – but ultimately it seemed most of the adults looked the other way – and mom is a journalist who seems to be traveling more than being a mom. So that said, the pace of the book was great and the suspense in trying to find who planted the explosive device and why was a great plot line and one that even this adult enjoyed.
The book is typical of what middle school is like in a regular school with talks of crushes and who is cute as well as the constant “she doesn’t like me” and “she doesn’t like her” laments – I get it, I remember my high school and middle school days but it did grow sort of old. There is one mention of homeschooling and how it turns Makayla’s mom into some sort of homework police because a mom who homeschools and has a child in Makayla’s martial arts class made a comment about how public school students score lower on tests. Really? It didn’t add anything to the book and it almost seemed like a dig at homeschoolers – maybe the mom could have been concerned about homework because she wanted her daughter to end middle school on a good note – why blame a homeschool mom?
Even with my two concerns about the book, I didn’t have a problem letting my 12 year old read as well, she is well grounded in what we do and don’t allow and is also secure in the fact she is homeschooled so that being said we both are or did enjoy the book. The plot was great and kept the book going and towards the end I was cheering for Sam’s dad who did tell the Principal that Sam needed removed from the story and the reporting of it, although fellow students lauded her on the blog after the case was solved, here is hoping that Sam learns her lesson about what is ‘good reporting’ and eavesdropping isn’t the way to get a good story in the next book in the series. One really positive thing though is that Sam makes no apologies about her love of Jesus and going to church and she longs to share Him with her classmate who tells her that she isn’t a Christian, so I really appreciated that aspect of the book – the faith theme runs through out the entire book – which is what made it most enjoyable for me.
(c) 2014, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws