Shades of Truth
Sadie thought she’d have a perfect fresh start when she moved to Owl Creek, Michigan, but finding her place in her new school proves harder than she expected. In this divided town, Sadie’s father’s job mediating between bear hunters and researchers doesn’t help her social life. Sadie’s art instructor encourages her to explore her beliefs and express herself through her sketchbook, and things improve after Sadie befriends a kind girl from school and a researcher’s son—but she can’t stop worrying about the bears. As everything swirls around her, Sadie must learn what it means to have faith when you don’t have all the answers.
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Kinsman (Spilled Ink) opens the From Sadie’s Sketchbook series with 12-year-old Sadie Douglas’s recent move from California to Owl Creek, Mich., where her father will mediate between bear researchers and the state’s Department of Natural Resources and the local hunters who want to remove the threat posed by bears. The move is also designed to help Sadie’s mom, who suffers from chronic fatigue syndrome. Sadie misses her best friends, and the local kids, most of them children of hunters, don’t welcome the new bear-hugging family. Sadie’s classmate Frankie seems especially to have it in for the new girl. It isn’t clear how much Sadie can trust her new friend Ruth, but her art classes open a door to observation of the world and the expressions and motives of people—and bears—coexisting in that world. Kinsman offers a realistic and nuanced rendering that works for readers who want to know about the role of Christian faith in a young person’s development, as well as those who like a fresh story about the journey of growing up. Flickering Hope, the next book in the series, is available simultaneously. Ages 9–up. (Dec.)Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
Sadie is a character that wraps herself around your heart and squeezes. Bright and sensitive, creative and active, she is a character a reader would love to spend a lot of time with.Tori Funkhouser
Ms. Kinsman handles her characters with a deft hand—Sadie and her classmates reveal the teenager’s angst, the inner conflicts, the brash reasoning. You know how these young people feel at all times—They breathe throughout the book—involving the reader in their dilemmas.Joyce Roby