GENRE: Contemporary YA
Knitting nerd Sarah Redmond is always the new
girl, never the popular one.
Moving all over the country with her flighty mom seemed to be her lot in life, but her junior year at Sierra Vista High School feels like it could be different.
She's finally on the verge of a social breakthrough.
But when she gets publicly punked at her first party, she and her new friends find a creative way to use their shared obsession with knitting to exact sweet revenge.
And when their efforts lead to a lucrative business, Sarah knows she's set.
But when her deadbeat dad comes back around she starts to wonder if she should try for a different life, instead of following the paths her parents have chosen.
She'd always half thought her small-time knitting channel could grow into a big-time knitting channel, but maybe college as a backup plan isn't such a ridiculous idea, after all.
But is that something a girl like her can really make happen?
To cope, I did what any reasonable person would have done—I holed up in my room after work and started a new series of knitted weapons. First I made a dagger because it seemed simplest, but it still took me a while. I stabilized it with cardboard from a cereal box.
Naturally, I recorded how to make it. I even demonstrated what I’d like to do with the dagger. Stabbity stab stab.
Screw everybody at school. My thousands of subscribers thought I was cool. There were more of them than students at the school.
Of course, the comments exploded with trolls from school, with things about my contortionist face. Which, again, was so stupid. Some of my regular followers were flip‐ ping out and fighting back. One of them said, “Do you know who you’re making fun of?” like I was a big-time celebrity. Someone else said, “I’d like to see *you* make a giant celeriac!” That cracked me up. Still, I had to turn comments off on my whole channel because of all the trolls, which sucked.
A couple days later I was called into the principal’s office. Mr. Peterson—a middle-aged balding man—gave me this stern look when I got there. I had to wait for my mom in this tacky and squeaky wooden chair with frayed blue fabric arms. My stomach was roiling while I waited, because I had no idea what was going on, and I’d never been in trouble before.
We went into his office, where they had matching wooden chairs.
“Sarah and Ms. Redmond, we take threats of violence very seriously here.”
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Kelly Vincent wrangles data weekdays and spends the rest of her time playing with words. She grew up in Oklahoma but has moved around quite a bit, with Glasgow, Scotland being her favorite stop. She now lives near Seattle with three cats who help her write her stories by strategically walking across the keyboard, with her first novel, Finding Frances, a fine example of this technique. She has a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Oklahoma City University’s Red Earth program.
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4.25 out of 5 stars
always the new girl by Kelly Vincent follows teen Sarah Redmond as she struggles to fit into her life as her mother flits from one new guy to another all over the country. High school is tough enough without being the new girl, but add in bullying, finding a niche, and dealing with less-than-stellar-parents, and the stresses threaten to overwhelm. Sarah’s not a quitter, but her trust issues will have to be conquered if she’s ever going to grow into the person she’s meant to be.
This young adult story is both heartwrenching and heartwarming, but definitely makes one think about actions, consequences, and responsibility. It’s told in a slightly episodic fashion, so I suspect it was originally published in sections, as there’s a quick review at the beginning of each part. I was immediately drawn into Sarah’s world (and jealous that she’s so adept at knitting, which continues to confound me, lol) and sympathetic to her because of her insecure lifestyle due to her mother’s poor life choices. The cruelty of her peers was dismaying, but I cheered at the response crafted by Sarah and her newfound friends.
Sarah’s adventures were easy to follow, and the challenges she faced, even when they were of her own making, were realistic and compelling. As in life, there isn’t a fairytale ending, but rather one that will continue to evolve, hopefully in another book. This story underscores the need for kids to have a strong loving support system and someone they can trust wholeheartedly to provide them with a bedrock they can grow from as they navigate through their early years. I love that this message is conveyed in an entertaining story that is relevant and intriguing and will appeal to adults as well as teens. This is the first story I have read by this author, but I’ll definitely be on the lookout for others.
A copy of this title was provided for review