Sunday, July 12, 2015

BOOK REVIEW: "Kendra's Diaries (Growing Pains Series #1)" by Kenyan Smith

Meet Kendra Foster. She’s right in the middle of the roller coaster ride of growing up. Her family seems to be in a permanent state of disarray. High school is right around the corner and there is only one school she wants to attend but it is going to take a miracle for her to go. She finally made the cheerleading team which is the best thing that has happened since forever. But much to her dismay this wreaks havoc in a completely unexpected way. Then she has one year left to capture Jamie’s attention yet she hasn’t been able to do that since the fourth grade. And with the new girl everyone is going crazy over she doesn’t have much of a chance does she? Life is coming at her from all sides and she is determined to keep it all together. Kendra’s Diaries is the first installment in the Growing Pains series. During all the twists, turns, ups and downs Kendra will develop courage, faith and perseverance. She will learn no matter what happens in life always remain positive and never give up. Life has a way of working itself out.

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

There aren't a lot of teen books out there for kids entering high school that doesn't involve an apocalypse and teens making out while death looms. We have Krysten Lindsay's True Colors series, but those books also target a certain type of teen audience. While excellently written, I could not relate to the character were I still a teen.
Kendra's Diaries is a very cute and funny tale for ethnic or "different" teens, told from the POV of the teen. Kendra has very typical pre-high school woes, and some that not everyone goes through (again, the ethnic issues; even though I am Caucasian, I went through similar things, too, so I was able to relate).
The book is set in New Orleans, and I wish there had been more about the differences of growing up there as opposed to Omaha or somewhere else innocuous. NOLA is a very interesting place, and it would've been nice to see Kendra's interpretations of the eccentricity.
It is also set in the 1980's, which takes a second to realize. I think the blurb should have mentioned that. Kids might not get some of the references made, which is a shame.
Aside from those two things, my only other issue is that there is nothing happening aside from the everyday things a teen girl goes through. I think there should have been a sense of urgency, urging teen readers to get to the next page and see what happens. In the age of action and fantasy, it's hard to capture a teen girl's attention with something that is so realistic.
Was this a good book for teens? Definitely. I think a lot of kids will relate to Kendra, and Ms. Smith has a wonderful way with words.

3.5--sweet and simple.

Purchase Kendra's Diaries via Amazon!

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