Wednesday, October 1, 2014
**Young Adult Review ~ Spin ~ Darcie J. Gudger**
Spin by Darcie J. Gudger
Release Date: September 20, 2014
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Source: I received a complimentary copy from Mountainview Books in exchange for an honest review
Rating: 4.5 Bookworms
Sophomore Kisrie Kelley longs to fit in. Instead, she's always been a misfit, a fact her nemesis Wendy won't let her forget. At least she's got color guard and photography, right? She almost feels normal when she's out on the field performing or behind a lens. Truth be told, they're the only reasons she even shows up at school, though her professor mom thinks they're both a waste of Kisrie's time. Add a serious affinity to Reese's Peanut Butter Cups that has her battling the bulge and a pestering "prodigy" little sister who thinks she's a bush baby, and Kisrie's contemplating moving to a different planet.
The stakes are raised even higher when she overhears Wendy plotting against Kisrie's English-teacher uncle all over a stupid grade! Should Kisrie snitch and risk Wendy's wrath? Ever since elementary school the young beauty queen has bullied Kisrie as if it were an Olympic sport. Who's going to believe Wendy's story anyway?
Everything spins out of control as vicious rumors fly and lives are on the line. Only the truth can set them all free, but will it be too late?
Spin is an impressive debut in the YA genre. Ms. Gudger has a strong voice and I liked that she touched on so many different teen topics.
Kisrie Kelley is a talented young woman who doesn't fit into the typical teen girl mold - at least the mold her mom would like her to fit into. If only her mom could see where her talents lie. Thank goodness she has some good friends and a dad who're very involved with her well-being. This is so important because Kisrie deals with quite a bit of bullying - especially from one girl who Kisrie refers to as "the Queen of Mean." Aside from worrying over grades and body image, Kisrie also struggles with whether to do the right thing when it means certain physical harm.
Wendy Wetz is the perfect antagonist. She seems to have it all, just the kind of girl we love to hate. She's pretty, smart, popular, cunning, and seemingly wealthy. But things aren't always as they appear. However, Wendy does purport some heinous actions on Kisrie and others. And it's when she sets a certain plan into motion that Spin really begins to spin.
Spin touches on many relevant teen topics such as bullying, body image issues, making smart choices, as well as timely topics like cyber-bullying and suicide. And it did so in such an honest way and by wrapping a compelling story around these issues. I liked that all these topics are discussed. It made the story complex and, at times, dark. But what I liked even more was seeing how these topics affected the characters and the character growth brought on by dealing with them. Kisrie does begin to make some mature decisions towards the end of the book, as does Wendy and even Jacque, Tammie, and Gwyn, Kisrie's mom. The potential in all the characters is something I love and will draw me back for the next installments.
Overall, I found Ms. Gudger's debut fantastic! The story was engaging, well written and suspenseful. And she gave an honest picture of the teen landscape - the things they face every day. I'm eager for the next in the series. I can't wait to see where our heroine and villainess go from here.