Searching for Normal

Author: C.J. Darlington

Series: Riverbend Friends #2

Publisher: Focus on the Family

Release Date: April 6, 2021

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The second book in the Riverbend Friends series picks up where the first left off, but now readers get to focus on Shay and see her story. A great YA/Coming of age story that is perfect for young adult readers.

The second book in the Riverbend Friends series focuses on the life of Shay Mitchell. Her life changed forever six months ago when she came to live with her aunt and started a new school that brought about her being bullied. Living with her Aunt Laura above a bookstore is nice, but none of her new friends know the real reason she came to live with her aunt and what happened in her past that is causing her to be bullied. While living with her aunt, Shay learns the truth about her biological father and rushes at the chance to meet him. All she wants is a normal family life and to be happy without all the bad stuff hanging over her. But what she wishes for and how she thinks it will happen might be the farthest thing from a happy normal life.

With this second book in the Riverbend Friends series, I am falling in love with these four friends and the way these books are written to young adults, especially young girl readers. For me, this is the perfect series because it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, it shows these girls going through hard things and the way they lean on each other and find a deeper relationship with God through the problems they are facing. They go through hard things, but they realize that even through bad, good things come out of it, like the new friendships they find with each other. I think that is one of the most important things, especially now, finding a few good friends you can trust and rely on through the hard times makes getting through those hard times a little bit easier.

Shay and her story picked up where the first book left off but also gives readers some good back story as to what happened to her and makes the first book even better because I was able to reflect on why she reacted the way she did to some of what happened in that book. I liked this character and how she handled what happened to her, her aunt was one of my favorite characters with her taking Shay in and dealing with how she was treated by both family and school issues. I would recommend reading the first in the series with this one, it could be read after but in my opinion to get the most out of the series go in order. Young girls will be the target audience for this one and parents can enjoy the fact that it is a good story that is clean and no questionable content. I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

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