Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Kerfuffle by Kristin N. Spencer Giveaway

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About the Book

Book title: Kerfuffle  
Author: Kristin N. Spencer  
Release date: June 1, 2017  
Genre: Young Adult

Olive’s best friend needs her now more than ever, but can she piece together everything in time to help him? When an anonymous email circulates through Normandie High, everything Olive knows about her family, church, and friends will change. In the midst of controversy, Olive finds she has been entrusted to protect her best friend and his secrets, though revealing them would make her life much easier. Meanwhile, she struggles to figure out what the Bible teaches about homosexuality while the members of Revive church lobby accusations back and forth, threatening to cause a church split. In a twist that even Olive couldn’t anticipate, family relationships waiver as Olive tries to decode her mother’s mysterious behavior. When the past stirs up new accusations against Olive’s family, she learns that some secrets are more painful to reveal than others. Though a helpful guy in Spanish class has her attention, Olive realizes that boy problems are the least of her worries. Can she balance drama, schoolwork, and still be the supportive friend and daughter God wants her to be?

My Review:

This book got off to a slow start for me but then, wow! This book packs a wallop. I thought it was going to be a book for teen girls and the typical trials of high school, makeup, clothing and boys. But about a quarter of the way into the book, serious issues invaded the plot.

Teens today are confronted with issues I never dreamed of when that age. Sexual abuse at a young age is one. Another is same sex attraction. Another is disagreement in a church and the real possibility of a church split. Spencer did a good job of addressing these issues in the context of a teen novel. We experience the anxiety of a teen being confronted with such issues through the eyes of Olivia, a high school freshman.

I really appreciate how the issue of SSA is explored, particularly the response of Christians and the church as a community. There is much meat for readers to chew on that topic. I also liked the teaching on the desirability of remaining single. To paraphrase one of the characters, “Being single isn't popular in the church today but that doesn't change what the Bible says.” (1 Cor. 7:8 and Matt. 19:9-12) I also appreciated the insight Spencer offers about Christians lashing out at others. Fear and lack of understanding often makes Christians very uncomfortable, hence the reaction.

This is a good book for teens. There is enough about boys and clothes and makeup to keep teens interested. There are also some serious issues explored in the book. I recommend this book to teens and suggest that parents read it too. There is much to discuss in it.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

About the Author

Kristin N. Spencer is an American expat living in a 68 square meter flat with her husband and three kids near the Aegean Sea. When she isn’t wifing, mothering, counseling, discipling, or writing, she enjoys sewing cosplay costumes for her family, baking, and hanging out with other geeks. She writes whatever she wants, including Non-Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Sci-Fi, and Fantasy. Her favorite person is Jesus and her favorite X-men character is Jean Grey. Kristin studied Comparative World Literature at California State University, Long Beach and received a Bachelors, which she fondly calls a degree in reading.

Guest Post from Kristin N. Spencer

Retrospective thoughts are so powerful, aren’t they? Now that I’m an adult I often look back on my adolescence and think, “Why didn’t anyone tell me?” As a YA author, I read a lot of books in my own genre, and I’ve noticed a pattern. Though many of the secular YA authors are brave enough to talk about the tough stuff, not many Christian authors go after the real world difficulties that face our young people. The passage of time constantly rips through generations creating new problems and situations. The world that my children are growing up in is very different from what I experienced, and the challenges that they face as Christians are also different. The Desires & Decisions series was born out of the need for me to able to address these controversial topics with my own children. Olive, a teenage girl growing up in Southern California, serves as the lens of perspective as we see almost everything from her point of view. Her world provides a safe, fictional place for Christians to flesh out these thoughts and think through what the Bible teaches about topics like racism, bullying, loving one’s neighbor, what real love is, and addiction.
Kerfuffle specifically explores the complex emotions associated with the Church and the temptation of same sex attraction. We get to experience the conflict Olive feels and also witness the varied reactions from different generations through Olive’s parents and other members of Revive Church. This issue isn’t going away, and as a Church we must be able to talk about it without alienating ourselves from those that struggle with this temptation. There is hope for every person through the blood of Jesus Christ, whether you struggle to love those who experience same sex attraction or you struggle with that temptation yourself. I hope Kerfuffle encourages you as you seek to walk closer to Christ.

Blog Stops

August 15: Bukwurmzzz
August 18: Blogging With Carol
August 20: Carpe Diem
August 21: A Reader’s Brain
August 22: Remembrancy
August 25: Baker Kella
August 27: The Power of Words (Spotlight)


To celebrate her tour, Kristin is giving away a grand prize of all three of her books: Newfangled, Flummoxed, and Kerfuffle and a T-shirt of your choice from the WritersLife Artist Shop (!! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

I received a complimentary digital copy of this book through Celebrate Lit. My comments are an independent and honest review. The rest of the copy of this post was provided by Celebrate Lit.

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