The page turned before I realized that I’d done the turning. Another. Another. On those pages, I saw a girl I used to know—one passionate for the Lord and His people. I recognized her indignation at injustice and her inconsistencies.
Another page turned. And another girl—I recognized myself in her as well. That self-righteous indignation over the supposed acceptance of sin. The incongruity of the two girls mashed into one glaring in its intensity.
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What happens when you find your younger self in the pages of a book?
You turn the page and keep reading!
And I did.
When I requested a copy of Kristin Spencer’s Kerfuffle, I had no idea of what I was getting into. YA can be a fabulous genre or an eye-roller. I couldn’t imagine my eyes being in too much danger with Kristin,, so I tried it.
Look, if you’re looking for a book that focuses on the injustice of parents who won’t buy their kids two hundred dollar shoes or campaigns to take away the homecoming crown, you can just keep going. But if you want to see the real struggles of today’s youth in a Christian setting, Kerfuffle is a great choice.
I often do a five-step review process that tells you what I loved, hated, made me laugh, made me cry, and if I recommend it. Well, I’m going to do a modified version of that. I’m going to review this as if I were a teen. It’s been a LONG time for me, but I’m gonna try. After all, I’ve had eight and get another one next month.
What teens’ll love:
Well, how about a relevant topic? Instead of yet another book that is a thinly-veiled sermon against yielding to peer pressure or schools undermining faith, Kerfuffle tackles same-sex attraction. Not only that, but this book also tackles the church’s too-often unbiblical response to those who struggle with SSA.
They’ll also love the natural banter between friends and the adults in the book who treat them with a bit of respect as intelligent, rational (well, most of the time) creatures. 😉
Some teens will love the level of detail in descriptions (particularly near the beginning of the book), while others might not. I’ve got a household split on that score.
If they are properly devoted Whovians, they’ll love the subtle references, but I won’t tell more than that. Spoilers, sweetie…
What teens won’t like:
I have to say it. Kerfuffle gets preachy at times. The problem is, those sections are REALLY good stuff. But as much as I liked what I was reading, I found myself skimming at times. I had to go back and reread because I didn’t want to miss the solid material in there. Even my most dedicated, hardcore, can’t-put-a-book-down-for-anything readers would have gotten tired of it in a couple of places.
My recommendation? Mark those places with a sticky note. Seriously, when you get to where you feel like you might skim, just mark it. Finish the story. But come back and read it. Because while it can be a bit much in the middle of the story, it is great stuff and you really do want to read it.
What’ll make teens laugh:
I honestly don’t know. I didn’t find myself laughing through this book, but I can say that while I prefer humor in my books, I didn’t find Kerfuffle lacking because I didn’t laugh. I suspect there are funny parts I just missed, but even if not, this book is just fine as it is in that respect. I did find the Gilbert and Carrots references quite adorable. Just had to put that in there.
What’ll make teens cry:
How about a broken, struggling boy of just fourteen being the center of church controversy? Not enough? What about the pressure by school counselors for that boy to join groups he doesn’t want to identify with? What about losing your best friend as you know him? What about the story of someone so wounded by the church that it drove that person from Christ?
Do I recommend Kerfuffle? For teens? For Adults?
I wholeheartedly recommend this book for everyone over the age of sixteen and a bit younger if they are spending much time in the public school system. This is reality, folks. And Kristin Spencer does a fabulous job of reminding us of just how hard it can be. If not for a few places of rather heavy description that bogged down the story for me (particularly in the beginning), and the places that this book got preachy, I’d give it a full five stars without thinking twice. I REALLY liked it. But I just can’t quite say I loved it.
That said, I’ll be reading the first two in the series now. Oh, and this one can stand alone if it needs to. I suspect it would have been richer had I read the others, but she gives just enough background without info-dumping. And that is brilliant. Few people do it so well.
he biggest part of your early high school experience.