Author: Stephanie Coleman
Series: Riverbend Friends #1
Publisher: Focus on the Family
Release Date: April 6, 2021
A great teen book about family, relationships, and the struggles young girls can face growing up and why it is important to have a close relationship with God.
Tessa’s life has always been pretty easy; she goes to swim practice, gets good grades and has two loving parents. All of that changes as she comes home one afternoon to find out her parents are getting a divorce and her best friend is moving away. To top things off, she is put in drama, the worst class ever. As Tessa tries to cope with her new family life, her mom gets more and more depressed, her best friend is posting about how great her new life is, and Tessa feels like everyone has a great life except her. Her goal is to convince herself and others that she is fine and nothing is wrong, but it only takes a little bit for her new friends to realize she is anything but fine and they help her discover that it is ok for things to not be perfect.
This was such a great fast read; I loved how real it was (no pun intended). It’s true though, being real and not perfect in this day and age of social media is so hard to do. Everyone tries to put their very best little snap shots up to post for all to see when that isn’t real life. Life is hard and messy and if we realize that and let others see the real life we are living, it will take away the stress and weight of trying to be perfect all the time. Tessa is going through what a lot of kids end up going through these days and to see her angry, hurt and letting her emotions get the best of her at times is what really made this book connect with me. This is the first book in the series about four friends that have different lives but find a way to connect with each other through their struggles and come closer because of it. While Tessa was the main character, readers get to see a small glimpse into the lives of the others that will shine in their own upcoming stories. The fact that Tessa didn’t get the perfect fairy tale ending was something I give props to the author for, very rarely does life give us that fairy tale ending and to see things play out there the way they did is going to be bringing me back for more. I am thankful that teens will have a realistic view of life when picking this one up. I recommend this to young teen girls that are looking for characters they can relate to and want to feel connected to a storyline that is more than just an escape.
I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.