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.
Note: links in post may be affiliate links that provide me with a small commission at no extra expense to you. This book was provided free upon my request and I chose to review it as part of the Celebrate Lit program.
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.
Kerfuffle is on tour with Celebrate Lit:
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?
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
The Desires & Decisions series was born out of the need for me to able to address these controversial topics with my own children.
Bukwurmzzz: August 15
Book Reviews From an Avid Reader: August 16
Ashley’s Bookshelf: August 17
Blogging With Carol: August 18
Just the Write Escape: August 19
Carpe Diem: August 20
A Reader’s Brain: August 21
Remembrancy: August 22
Margaret Kazmierczak: August 23
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations: August 24
Baker Kella: August 25
Avid Reader Book Reviews: August 26
The Power of Words (Spotlight): August 27
JosephineAnneWrites: August 28
To celebrate her tour, Kristin is giving away a grand prize of all three of her books: Newfangled(free right now!), Flummoxed, and Kerfuffle and a T-shirt of your choice from the WritersLife Artist Shop ( https://writerslife.threadless.com)!! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/bb66
I’m giving away a copy of Kerfuffle. If you’d like to check it out, just leave a comment below and let me know what major controversial issue was the biggest part of your early high school experience.